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Men’s Swimming: Welsh leads swimmers for 25 years

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, December 2, 2009

After embarking on his 25th season at Notre Dame and being named the president of the American Swimming Coaches Association, men’s swimming and diving coach Timothy Welsh has established this season as one to remember.

“What draws me to swimming is the commitment swimmers make to be at their very best on a given day at a given time and then doing it,” Welsh said. “In our sport, the clock never has a bad day, so it is always clear and precisely measured when a person does his best.”

Welsh never swam in high school or college, but began coaching to make money as a student working toward becoming an English teacher. 

“I learned through observation and reading and attending clinics,” Welsh said.
After a few seasons of working his way up the coaching hierarchy from a YMCA coach to a division I collegiate swimming program, Welsh was offered a position at Notre Dame in 1985.

“Most of what I wanted to do when I got here was to help the team get faster and compete at a higher level,” Welsh said. “I had the advantage of arriving when the Rolfs Aquatic Center was built, so since we had a great facility, we wanted to build a team that was worthy of the facility and the university.”

When Welsh started at Notre Dame, he coached the men’s and women’s teams before they split into two programs, at which point he took over the men’s program. The team has grown from offering one scholarship per recruiting class to the NCAA’s maximum 9.9 scholarships.

In September, Welsh was elected president of the American Swimming Coaches Association by the board members of the organization for a two-year term.

“This position is more than I would have asked for myself,” Welsh said. “The ASCA is the first professional organization I joined many, many years ago, and over the years I have done a lot of work for ASCA, writing articles, speaking at conventions, serving on the Board of Directors, and overseeing the ASCA Fellows Program, a leadership program for young coaches which will select its 10th class in January.”

So far this season, the men’s swimming and diving team is 2-1 in dual meets with an important conference win over Pittsburgh.

“Our ambition is to become a nationally prominent NCAA team,” Welsh said. “We are getting closer each year, but there is still a lot to be done.”

Each season, the men’s swimming and diving team works towards winning the Big East conference meet at the end of the regular season, a goal that if achieved this season would be the program’s third in a row.

“The plan is simple; achieving it is where the challenge lies,” Welsh said. “One step at a time, and year by year, we are trying to get faster each time.”