Dennis Pursley to be inducted in Fort Lauderdale as Honor Coach in October, as part of ISHOF’s Class of 2024


During Dennis Pursley’s coaching career he was a five-time Olympic coach, a recipient of the U.S. Olympic Committee Chair’s Coaching Award, an American Swimming Coaches Association “Coach of The Year” and “Hall of Fame inductee” and was recognized in 2003 as one of the “25 Most Influential People in the History of USA Swimming”.  He personally coached swimmers of both genders to world record performances as well as to the podium of the Olympic Games and/or to the long course World Championships in all four competitive strokes and both individual medley events.

Lakeside Swim Club

His coaching career began as a volunteer assistant coach under 1983 ISHOF Honor Coach, Don Gambril at the University of Alabama. In 1974, Dennis returned to his hometown as the head coach of Louisville’s Lakeside Swim Club, where he took a team of unranked status to a top 10 national championship finish.  From Lakeside Swim Club, he moved on to the head coach for the Cincinnati Marlins and led them to three national championship team titles. After placing six swimmers on the 1980 USA Olympic Team, he was appointed to the USA Olympic Team coaching staff.

Cincinnati Marlins

He was named the first head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) where he served as the head coach of the combined team for two years and of the men’s team until August 1984. At the 1984 Olympic Games, the AIS led a resurgence in Australian swimming with a second-place finish to the United States in the medal count.

Australian Sports Institute

In 1989, Pursley was appointed the first National Team Director of USA Swimming and was responsible for all aspects of the National Team program. During his 14-year tenure in this position the medal production of the USA in international competition increased substantially. The USA team finished first in the medal count in both men’s and women’s competitions in all three Olympiads, culminating with 33 medals (14 gold) in the 2000 Olympics which was described by “Sports Illustrated” magazine as the greatest team performance of all time. In recognition of his contributions, Pursley was presented the United States Olympic Committee Chairman’s Coaching Award for 2000.

In 2008 he was named head coach of British Swimming and served in that capacity through the 2012 London Olympics.  After the 2012 Olympics, Coach Pursley returned to the University of Alabama as the head coach to lead his alma mater back to a position of national prominence.  Pursley’s second year, the men’s team was named “Breakout Team of the Year” by the College Swimming Coaches Association and went on to achieve six consecutive top 15 finishes in the NCAA Championships in his seven-year tenure, including four top 10 finishes. His women’s team rewrote the school record books establishing new school records in 17 of the 19 events. 

University of Alabama

Come join Coach Dennis Pursley and hear the rest of his amazing story, along with this year’s spectacular class of 2024 in Fort Lauderdale.  If you cannot join us, please consider making a donation.

To make a donation, click here:

This year’s International Swimming Hall of Fame Honorees include:

Honor Swimmers:

Lars Frölander (SWE)

Daniel Gyurta (HUN)

Dana Vollmer (USA)

1976 Women’s 4×100 Freestyle Gold Medal Relay Team (USA)

(Includes Shirley Babashoff, Wendy Boglioli, Kim Peyton*, Jill Sterkel)

Honor Divers:

Alexandre Despatie (CAN)

Yulia Pakhalina (RUS)

Wu Minxia (CHN)

Honor Artistic Swimmer:

Virginie Dedieu (FRA)

Honor Water Polo Players:

Carmela “Lilli” Allucci (ITA)

Vladimir Akimov* (USSR)

Honor Coach:

Dennis Pursley (USA)

Honor Contributor:

Dale Neuburger (USA)

Additional Awards presented Saturday night:

Al Schoenfield Media Award:

Peter Diamond (USA)

ISHOF Gold Medallion Award:

Alex Blavatnik (USA)

ISHOF 59th Annual Honoree Induction weekend

 October 4-5, 2024 – Complete schedule will be forthcoming soon.


Host Hotel:  Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort & Spa

To make reservations click here:

321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 467-1111.

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $229 per night, 

Additional Hotel Option: 

Courtyard Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach

 Book your group rate for Honoree Ceremony

440 Seabreeze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 524-8733

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $169 – $199 per night


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