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article imageMeet Jack Bauerle: Olympic swimming and university coach Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 14, 2019 in Sports
Olympic swimming and university coach Jack Bauerle chatted with Digital Journal. A 2019 Golden Goggle nominee, Bauerle coaches nine athletes on the 2019 to 2020 U.S. national team, which include Andrew Wilson, Olivia Smoliga, Nic Fink, and Chase Kalisz.
He is the longtime coach at the University of Georgia. He served as an assistant coach at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju and had six current and former athletes on the Team USA roster: Hali Flickinger, Olivia Smoliga, Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland, Melanie Margalis and Andrew Wilson. The Georgia Bulldog swimmers had major successes in South Korea, as they won a total of 10 medals.
On his 2019 nomination for "Coach of the Year," he said, "That felt good. It was my second consecutive nomination. That doesn't happen unless you have great athletes. It's one heck of an honor to be nominated. We have so many great coaches, and some of them are unsung, and people don't know some of the great ones."
Bauerle expressed his excitement about the 2020 Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. "We have a lot of dynamics in the pool at this point in time," he said. "I try to help my athletes be where they need to be one day at a time."
He served as the Women's Head Coach of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team in 2008. "That was great and just as great to be an Assistant Coach all of the other times," he said. "Each of the Olympic Games was a great experience and they were all very unique. Each Olympics is customized to the people and the country. They take on the spirit of the country."
On the impact of technology on the sport of swimming, he said, "Technology is a plus. You need to use it to your advantage. We have cameras and virtually, everything we do is on film now such as stroke counts, stroke distance and mechanisms that you can use. That's one reason people are getting faster. Information is good but how you use it is even better. We are really fortunate, we have so many high-end athletes and USA Swimming is vested in our program. We have people here that are constantly helping our athletes to get better."
He listed breaststroke as his personal favorite stroke, even though it's the most complicated. "I also like the butterfly," he said. "We are very fortunate to have some elite breaststrokers right here right now."
Bauerle got into the sport of swimming almost by accident. "My brothers swam and I had a lifeguard at my summer club that taught me how to do butterfly at the age of six," he said. "I had no idea I was going to be in a sport with so many amazing people. It's not an easy sport. To be good, it takes a lot of consistency and a lot of work."
For young and aspiring swimmers, he said, "No matter what you do, do your best. Listen to the coaches. The only reason I wound up swimming is that I had some great coaches. When I look back, they were just teachers. They are there for the love of the sport."
"Also, just because you are good in one thing, doesn't mean that's what you are going to be good at for the rest of your life," he said. "If you are a backstroker, concentrate on everything. I can't tell you how many athletes I've had here that were some of the best in country, and they wound up making Olympic teams in other sports," he added.
"Keep the horizons open, and work every stroke and work on your weaknesses. If you can make your weaknesses pretty strong, you can become one heck of a swimmer," he added.
He praised the USA Swimming Foundation for the work that they do to build champions and save lives. "USA Swimming is really involved in every level," he said.
Bauerle defined the word success as "enjoying what you do." "Give it 100 percent commitment and for me, success is family-oriented and athletic-oriented. Swimming success is seeing my athletes be as good as they can be, wherever that takes them," he said.
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