David Marsh, who has increased Charlotte’s Olympic profile considerably since he joined SwimMAC Carolina as its coach in 2007, has signed a contract extension through 2018.
“Charlotte is just the kind of town that the more you hear, the more you get excited about being here,” Marsh said Wednesday.
Wrote Richard Pockat, president of SwimMAC’s board of directors, in an email: “We view this as great news. … We believe that David Marsh has achieved, and is achieving, higher levels of success in his sport than any other coach in any sport in the Charlotte region.”
Marsh led Auburn to a dozen national championships before leaving that comfortable college job to come to Charlotte in 2007 as SwimMAC’s CEO and director of coaching. In Charlotte, he helped institute the Team Elite concept, which has brought several dozen high-level swimmers in their early 20s to the city to train during the past five years, with an eye toward the Olympics.
Marsh’s Charlotte swimmers produced multiple gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In 2012, Team Elite placed five swimmers on the U.S. Olympic team. He also has been involved in directing SwimMAC’s extremely successful 18-and-under junior program, which has churned out numerous collegiate scholarship swimmers and earned national recognition as one of the best clubs in the country. SwimMAC as a whole has about 24 full-time coaches and 800 year-round swimmers.
“I’m very excited about all of this,” Marsh said. “One of the challenges going forward is that in terms of swimming, Charlotte is well behind in terms of facilities. We need to build a new pool in Charlotte that can host major events, and I want to be part of that.”
As for the next incarnation of Team Elite, Marsh said he plans to have about 15 swimmers in Charlotte who will be vying to make the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“I’m getting calls about it every day,” he said, “and it’s gotten to the point where we have to turn a lot of people down.”
Most of the next Team Elite squad will be full-time and American, although there will be a sprinkling of international swimmers, and some standouts might also use Charlotte as one of their several training bases.
Ryan Lochte, the biggest name among active U.S. male swimmers, has reportedly told several people that training in Charlotte might be in his future on at least a part-time basis. Marsh declined comment on that.
Fowler: email@example.com; Twitter: @scott_fowler