Illinois Swimming

Remembering Coach Rebecca

Thomas Gilbert

Dear FFSC families,


We are heartbroken to share the news that Rebecca Bishop passed away on Sunday evening after an extended battle with cancer.


Coach Rebecca and her family have been an integral part of our team since its founding in September 2012. That fall, Rebecca and John’s son Morgan became one of the first members of the gold group, and their daughters Tristan and Devan joined the silver and bronze groups. Rebecca began coaching with FFSC in the fall of 2015, working most often with the Bronze 3 group at first, but covering a variety of other bronze and silver groups on a frequent basis. After Morgan finished high school, he enrolled at IWU and joined his mom on the FFSC coaching staff. Tristan became the third Bishop on staff a few years later, and John has been the meet referee for every meet our club has hosted.


Throughout multiple rounds of chemotherapy during both of her bouts with breast cancer, one of Rebecca’s greatest motivations was her desire to return to the pool and coach. Whenever she felt well enough to be on deck, she was there, sharing her love of swimming with all of her kids. Though the effects of her treatment made it difficult for her to be on deck during the last two seasons, she continued to follow her swimmers’ careers. She was so proud to see kids she inspired as beginners blossom into age group, high school, and college swimmers who shared her passion.


Today is a sad day for all of us who were fortunate enough to know Rebecca. However, it is also a moment to reflect on how one person’s kindness and generosity can influence an entire community. More than 700 swimmers have swum for FFSC since its inception. Those swimmers now range in age from 6 to 28, and the vast majority have benefited from Rebecca’s presence, either directly (through her coaching roles at FFSC and Four Seasons) or indirectly (by swimming for Coach Morgan or Coach Tristan, or simply by being on a team that Rebecca did so much to grow). Every athlete remembers the first coach that taught them to love a sport, and Coach Rebecca was that for so many people.


To John, Morgan, Tristan, and Devan: We love you, we are thinking of you, and we hope you know how great an impact your wife and your mom had on so many people. 


And to everyone who had the privilege of swimming for her: Coach Rebecca was a selfless teacher, coach, and friend who dedicated her life to making others’ lives better. In her memory, carry on that legacy. Look for the teammate who has a hard time making friends, and be a friend to them. Look for the classmate who is struggling to understand a new concept, and patiently help them. Look for the friend who is having a tough day, and be there for them. Be kind, helpful, and caring, especially when it isn’t easy, and Coach Rebecca’s memory will live on.


Arrangements are pending, and we will pass along more information when it is available. 


Thanks for everything, Rebecca. We’ll miss you.


Teresa, Tommy, and the FFSC family