It’s official: Amanda Beard is returning to Arizona as an assistant coach.
Arizona swimming and diving announced this week that Beard has been added to the staff, where she is expected to assist both the women’s and men’s programs.
The 41-year-old Beard is one of the most successful swimmers to come through the Arizona program. As a Wildcat, she won the NCAA National Championship in the 200 meter breaststroke and 10 All-America selections.
“This is incredibly exciting and significant for Arizona Swimming & Diving,” said Arizona head coach Augie Busch said. “Amanda’s legendary athletic career speaks for itself. She is one of the all-time great Wildcats and an all-time great in the sport. I believe she has equal potential in teaching and coaching at this level. We are blessed and thrilled to have her back in Tucson.”
Beard went on to earn seven Olympic medals (two gold, four silver, one bronze). Beard is best known for her success in the breaststroke.
The Newport Beach native has two decades of coaching experience, including two years as a volunteer coach at UCLA. She spent seven years as a technical stroke coach at Beard Swim Co., a swim school she founded in the Seattle area.
Beard joins an Arizona swimming and diving program that has undergone significant tumult in recent years. This April two assistants were let go, a move that didn’t go over well in the swimming community (check out the discussion on SwimSwam).
The staff shakeup came after Busch publicly labeled the last women's program a “soap opera” amid IARP and NCAA violations.
In the pool, Arizona has failed to keep up with the top teams in the Pac-12. Most concerning, the Wildcats women and men were blown out by rival ASU last year.
By hiring Beard, Busch is digging into the past (Beard swam collegiately for his father Frank Busch) in hopes of restoring success to the program.
For Beard, the job gives her a chance to gain Division I coaching experience at a school where she excelled as a student-athlete.
“It is an honor to be invited back into a program that was home to me and helped me during a very important part of my career,” Beard said. “I know the dedication and hard work it takes to achieve success in the pool and I am excited to share my knowledge with the swimmers at Arizona.”