John Leonard has been the Executive Director of the American Swimming Coaches Association in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since assuming that post in January of 1985. In 41 years of coaching, he has become one of the best known names in the world of swimming, worldwide.
In the process of growing the Association from 1600 members in 1985 to 7300 in 2011, Leonard has overseen a staff that has developed educational programs and services that include 26 different types of coaching schools, overseen the development of a Certification program that has certified over 12,100 coaches in 26 years, organized the model national learn to swim school in SwimAmerica which has taught over 2.4 million American youngsters to swim, and turned the American Swimming Coaches Association into an advocacy force that has been impactful and successful in national and world swimming and world sport.
Leonard began his coaching career in Syracuse NY, where he developed numerous national qualifiers, national Finalists and a 1976 Olympian, while building an 800 member swim team and managing a 35 pool city Aquatics program. In 1978, he moved to Lake Forest Swim Club and Lake Forest College in Illinois, where he again developed a nationally powerful club team and USA National Team members.
John was a founder of the World Swimming Coaches Association in 1988, and still serves on the Board of that Organization and is serving his second term as its Executive Director. He received the USA Athletes Appreciation Award in 1996, for his strong anti-doping actions in world sport. In 2004 and in 2010, he received the Paragon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame for Learn to Swim in 2004 and for Competitive Swimming in 2010. In 2005, he was honored with the Collegiate/Scholastic Trophy from NISCA for his contributions to swimming and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in all of Aquatics, by Aquatics International magazine.
John serves on multiple committees for USA Swimming, including the Olympic International Operations and International Relations Committees, and was a member of the FINA International Coaches Commission. In the last quad, John served FINA as a consultant on Coaching Education. John has served on 14 USA National Team Staffs and has worked for American Swimming at 6 Olympic Games. He has served as the Chairman of the United States Swimming Steering Committee for the USA Olympic Team in Swimming.
An accomplished writer and editor, Leonard has authored over 1000 articles on the sport of swimming, written four books on swimming and edited four others, in addition to making clinic presentation in 38 countries around the world. He regularly provides presentations from groups ranging from swimming parents and coaches to sports administrators.
In the 1980’s Leonard fought to introduce the first Code of Ethics for swimming coaches into the ASCA, which was put in place in 1989. In the 90’s and 00’s, Leonard has been known as one of the leading anti-doping crusaders in sport, and since 2000, he has served on various committees and commissions with international sports organizations, including on the Coaches Commission of FINA, the international governing body of the Olympic Sport of Swimming. Since 2000, Leonard has served a key role on the USA-Swimming International Relations Committee and since 2006, has been the Coordinator of the International Action Agenda of that Committee.
Outstanding Athletes Coached by John Leonard at Pine Island Pool and related team pools since 1990
Pedro Moros – Venezuelan Olympic Team – 2000
Evan Marcus – Guatemala National Champion, HS All-American, NCAA I swimmer. USA-Swimming national qualifier.
Greg King – HS All-American, USA-Swimming National Qualifier.
Nico Lilly – HS All-American, NCAA I Swimmer.
Leanne Darling – HS All-American, NCAA I Swimmer.
Eddie Lovell – HS All-American, NCAA 1 All American, Florida State HS Champion. USA Swimming National qualifier.
Matt Dolan – HS All-American.
Daniel Peterson – HS All-American.
Jackson Leonard – HS All-American. NCAA I Swimmer.
Helge Meevw – HS All-American, German Olympic Swimmer, 2004-2008.
Emily Kasmer - USA-Swimming All-time Top 100 age group swimmer, HS All-American.
Sharla Milne – HS All-American, NCAA 1 Swimmer, USA-Swimming national qualifier.
Raymond Darling - HS All-American, Florida state high school champion, NCAA 1 Swimmer.
Golda Marcus – HS All-American, Guatemala National Champion, 2004 Olympian.
Tyle Denman – HS All-American