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Rick Walker

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Rick Walker at Southern Illinois University

Rick Walker is a world-renowned open water swimming coach and the decorated coach at Southern Illinois University (SIU) as well as an International Technical Official or ITO appointed by UANA for open water swimming competitions.

Swimming Career Highlights[edit]

  • Walker has coached the USA Swimming national open water swim team at several world championship events.
  • Walker conducted numerous open water swimming clinics throughout the United States and around the world.
  • Walker organized the innovative Saluki Mile and the Saluki 5K Open Water Swim.
  • Walker coached both Mazen Aziz of Egypt and Csaba Gercsak of Hungary to the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
  • Walker coached Southern Illinois University swimming and diving program for 32 years. He joined the Salukis in 1987 and became the head coach of the men's team in 1992 and added women's head coaching responsibilities in 2005.
  • Walker coached 237 athletes to individual and relay conference titles and an additional 209 athletes to all-conference honors in his 26 seasons as head coach.
  • Walker coached 8 swimmers at the Summer Olympics including Chrysanthos Papachrysanthou (Cyprus 2000 & 2004) and Herman Louw of South Africa.
  • Walker was selected as the Conference Coach of the Year for 13 years.
  • Walker is a three-time Eastern Independent Championships Coach of the Year (1993 - 1995), a two-time National Independent Championship Coach of the Year (1996 and 1997), a four-time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year (1995, 1996, 1998, 2002), a two-time MVC Invitational Coach of the Year (2004 and 2005) and 2-time Mid-American Coach of the Year.
  • Walker won nine conference championships during his tenure. The men's team won five-straight MVC titles from 1994-1999 under his direction, the longest streak in the conference history. He won three more MVC titles in a six-year stretch from 1999-2004 with the men's team.
  • Under Walker's tutelage, SIU produced nine Academic All-Americans and the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America has selected the Salukis as a Scholar All-American Team every semester since the fall of 2011.
  • Walker was a seven-time All-American and set NJCAA records in the 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, 1650 freestyle and the 4x100 and 4x200 freestyle relays at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Florida.
  • Walker transferred to Texas A&M for his two remaining years of eligibility and set school records in the 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, 1650 freestyle and 400 IM that qualified him for the NCAA Championships.
  • Walker competed at the 1980 USA Olympic Trials.
  • Walker was a silver medalist at the 1979 Olympic Sports Festival, participated in the 1978 USA Olympic Training Camp and held a top 50 world ranking in the 1500m freestyle in 1981.
  • Walker led the USA National open water team to the 1998 FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia and fourth place finishes in 2001 and 2003.
  • Walker was named head coach of the Egyptian Olympic swimming team for the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Walker was a 14-time member of the USA Swimming Olympic Committee and a five-year chairman on the USA Swimming Open Water Committee.
  • Walker was honored as the 2009 America Continental Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
  • Walker was the head coach and director for USA Swimming's Open Water National Team for 12 years and the head coach for USA Swimming's development camp for 15 years.
  • Walker served a seven-year term on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee.
  • In 2010, Walker was honored with the Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation award at the annual United States Aquatic Sports convention for heroically saving the life of an Australian swimmer at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, Italy.
  • For their efforts at the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal, Canada, Walker and his coaching staff were awarded the Glen S. Hummer Award from USA Swimming. The award was given at the USA Swimming House of Delegates meeting in Greensboro, N.C. This was the second time Walker earned this award.
  • Walker was nominated for World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year in 2009.

Officiating Career[edit]

Rick Walker on Pack Swimming in the Open Water[edit]

UANA Open Water Swimming Committee[edit]

Walker is a member of the UANA Open Water Swimming Committee:

Chairman: Jorge Delgado, Ecuador
Vice Chairman: Denny Ryther, USA
Secretary: Michael Lockwood, Cayman Islands
Member: David de Vlieger, Canada
Member: Marco Flores, Guatemala
Member: Tomas Haces, Cuba
Member: Andrew Kirby, Barbados
Member: Nicole Normandin, Canada
Member: Ricardo Olmos, Chile
Member: Nelson Osorio, Colombia
Member: Rick Walker, USA
Athlete: to be named
Liaison: Algernon Cargill, Bahamas

External links[edit]