Dick Hannula Insights


When you've been coaching for a considerable number of years, you accumulate a lot of reference materials. 

In my own case, I started coaching in 1951 as a head high school coach. 

I followed this up by organizing and starting the Tacoma Swim Club four years later. In both situations, I was not only the head coach, but had no assistants in those early years. I was further limited in that I only had two years of high school competitive swimming, and four years of college swimming. I entered some AAU summer meets, but I never had a club coach. In other words, I didn't have much experience to prepare me to coach swimming.

In the 1950s, there were no swim publications, organized clinics, or informative coaching books. 

We learned by doing, mistakes and all. I talked to coaches and swimmers to learn as much as I possibly could about coaching. As soon as clinics became available, I attended every clinic that I could. One of the skills that I soon found to be loaded with usable information, was to interview successful coaches and swimmers whenever possible.

I believe that you can't stop learning.

I still get a refresher course reading some of my former interviews and articles. Hopefully, you too can pick up a point or two that will be helpful in your coaching. May it also encourage you to seek out your fellow coaches and pick their brain when the opportunity arises.

  • Dick Hannula was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a United States Honoree on May 8, 1987. 

HKP Book

Working to complete the revision of the book, Coaching Swimming Successfully, has required much of my attention this past year. It is now awaiting my final approval before being published. Human Kinetics is again the publisher.

The revision released on March of 2003 had an additional chapter on the dolphin kick and featured major changes in the four competitive strokes. The pictures and illustrations have all been changed as well. The stroke and text illustrations simplify and clarify the major focus points of correct technique.

All of the chapters, except the final chapters on evaluations, have been changed greatly and updated as well.

The evaluation of the reviewer has been excellent. It is easy to read and understand. It would be an aide for any swimming coach and a help for every swimmer. Consider adding it to your personal library. 


Coach Hannula has coached and managed numerous international teams including the Olympics and Pan American Games, served as commissioner of the Goodwill Games, and was president of ASCA. He is the all-time winningest high school coach as he led Wilson High School (Tacoma, WA) to 24 consecutive Washington state high school championship and 323 dual meets without a loss. Dick authored Coaching Swimming Successfully and co-edited The Swim Coaching Bible Volume 1 and 2 with Nort Thornton. He has given ISCA permission to share more than 160 of his articles and interviews with our readers.

Loved this? Spread the word

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}