Dirk Marshall (USA)

Dirk Marshall


Dirk Marshall brings an unusual and interesting backgrounds to this year’s WADC, where he will speak to both themes of the conference.

After 20 years away from competitive swimming, Dirk started a swim club in Houston Texas, the Bridge Bats, with 45 swimmers. In four years the club has grown to 450. One of the original 45 swimmers was a USA Junior National Champion and represented the USA internationally as a member of the USA National Junior Team.

Dirk grew up in Kansas where he participated in all sports, and began serious swimming late as a 14 year old. He studied economics, and swam, at the University of North Carolina, where injuries unfortunately forced his retirement from swimming.

Dirk studied law at Harvard University. While in law school, he began a cautious dabbling in swimming. Designing his own training program, with limited time in the water and rigorous training out of the water, he coached himself to a USA Swimming National Championship in the 100 butterfly. The methods he used on himself inform much of his coaching today.

Dirk coached for four years in Oregon after graduation from Harvard Law, and left coaching to found a business providing tumbling and gymnastics to pre-school children, a business he has operated for 25 years.

Dirk’s offers a different youth sports product than other USA Swimming clubs, one that has strong philosophies about the well-being of the children on the club.


His talks:


  1. What can learn-to-swim and early age group swimming do differently to help the swimming experience of club swimmers and emerging elite swimmers? Dirk will present his ideas on the training, stroke movements, belief systems, and values that swimmers bring to his club, and how these things impede enjoyable and productive experiences in their swimming. Dirk will bring his experience from 25 years of work with young children to this topic.


  1. Density and engagement in training as a solution to limited pool time and space, and to shrinking disposable time in the lives of 21st Century children and families. Dirk will discuss how he is reshaping the training and scheduling of his swimmers


  1. Athletes “Bill of Rights”, what children in our swimming program can expect in their overall environment, and why we do things the way we do in coaching, communications, and expectations. This includes the important discussions that our staff has with parents about the rights of their children.
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