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John Leonard

WSCA Board of Directors

  • Executive Director, World Swimming Coaches Association (1988-1994, 2004-Present)
  • Executive Director, American Swimming Coaches Association (1985-Present)

Since assuming the role of Executive Director of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) in January of 1985, John Leonard has grown the association from 1,600 members in 1985 to 5,400 by the end of 2006. Leonard has also overseen:

  • Staff-developed educational programs and services that include 24 different types of coaching schools;
  • The development of ASCA's Certification program that has certified over 9,400 coaches in 22 years;
  • Organized a model national learn-to-swim school (SwimAmerica) which has taught over 1.5 million the USA's youth to swim; and
  • Turned ASCA into an advocacy force to be respected in national and world swimming, and world sport.

Prior to coming to ASCA, Leonard was a coach. He began his coaching career in Syracuse, New York, where he developed numerous national qualifiers, national scorers and a 1976 Olympian, while building an 800 member swim team and managing a 35-pool city aquatics program. In 1978, he moved to Lake Forest Swim Club and Lake Forest College in Illinois, where he developed a nationally powerful club team and USA National Team members.

Leonard helped found the World Swimming Coaches Association in 1988. He received USA Swimming Athletes Appreciation Award in 1996, for his strong anti-doping actions in world sport. In 2004, he received the Paragon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was honored with the Collegiate/Scholastic Trophy from NISCA for his contributions to swimming and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in Aquatics, by Aquatics International magazine. Currently, he serves on multiple committees for USA Swimming, including the Olympic International Operations (OIOC) and International Relations Committees (IRC), and is a member of FINA's Coaches Commission. John has served on 14 USA National Team Staffs, and has worked for American Swimming at 6 Olympic Games.

An accomplished writer and editor, Leonard has authored over 1000 articles on the sport of swimming, written 4 and edited 3 books on swimming, and made clinic presentation in 26 countries.

58 years old (in 2006), Leonard has three children (David-35, Mary-30, and Jackson Woolger Leonard-16). He currently lives and works in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His hobbies include reading, running, boating and coaching his own team (SwimFast)--working with the Senior group and the "Stroke School" introductory level for new swimmers.