Jim Gaughran, Swimmer Turned Coach Turned Swimmer


Standing in the midst of hundreds of masters swimmers, fitness swimmers, and competitive swimmers on Kaimana Beach at the start of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim on several occasions has been James ‘Jim’ Gaughran.

There is not much to distinguish Gaughran from his fellow ocean swimmers decked out in his Speedos, swim cap and goggles swinging his arms getting ready for the gun start…except his Olympic pedigree both as an athlete and coach.

His body of work in 3 aquatic disciplines is impressive. He was Stanford’s swim team captain, 2-time All-America swimmer (1953, 1954), member of the 1956 USA Olympic Water Polo team, 5-time U.S. Water Polo All-America, 5-time Outdoor All-America (1956-1960), 2-time AAU swimming champion for the San Francisco Olympic Club.

Additionally, as Stanford’s coach for 1960 to 1980, he trained 26 Olympic swimmers who won 8 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and 5 bronze medals. He also coached Stanford’s NCAA national championship water polo team and 4 Olympic water polo players who won silver and bronze medals. He coached 26 world record holders and 11 relay world record holders as well as 2 world champions. He coached 15 NCAA national champions and 4 relay national champions, and 1 AIAW national champion as well as Stanford’s 1963 NCAA national water polo championship team and Stanford’s 1967 NCAA swimming national championship team.

And what he shared with his athletes in terms of competitiveness, technique, and training, he also has retained himself as his multiple age-group victories in the annual Waikiki Roughwater Swim in Hawaii can attest.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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