As Georgia swimming and diving returns to the pool to prepare for the upcoming season, head coach Jack Bauerle returns for his 40th year as head coach. This makes Bauerle the longest tenured head coach in Georgia history.
While speaking to the media Friday, Bauerle paused to talk to members of the swim team, including making an observation of the contrast in the age between himself and his swimmers.
“Hair's growing back and mine's going the other way,” Bauerle said to a member of the team.
Bauerle said 40 plus years at Georgia makes him feel old. Prior to becoming head coach of the program, Bauerle swam for the Bulldogs during his time in college. Longevity is a word Bauerle mentioned multiple times as a trait he admired from his own mentors in Georgia athletics, such as Dan Magill and Vince Dooley.
“[Dooley] and I are quite close we just exchanged text messages yesterday,” Bauerle said.
This year is special to Bauerle because he has now reached the lengths of dedication that his role models and predecessors in Georgia sports have. Bauerle said it has been a lot of time spent, but he is thankful for the friendships and athletes he has impacted.
Jordan Stout is heading into her third year swimming under Bauerle and she values his tradition of turning out amazing swimmers and his individualization of the Georgia swim program.
“It's just crazy the stuff that he knows and how he's seen certain drills that work out or how to train different athletes over the years,” Stout said.
Swimmer Javier Acevedo said having a coach so accomplished allows the team to know they are only going to get the best from him. He said it is almost as if their team has an advantage over the rest.
Although Bauerle said being around for 40 seasons makes him feel old, he added the saying is true — kids, in this case, his athletes, keep him young.
Bauerle said every year is different and this season is no exception.
“I don't think we are star-ridden, but I think we are pretty good across the board,” Bauerle said. “I think we have some people that are really going to break out and be spectacular, but I also think we are getting a little more depth than we've had.”
Despite a different roster and talent, Bauerle said the goal is the same.
“We want to be the team we can be,” Bauerle said. “If you have your best year], then you're doing something for this team and school too.”
Stout said one day she was having a bad practice and Bauerle could tell she was down on herself. He looked at her in the pool and told her that hard work pays off. It is the advice she now says was some of the most meaningful to her.
Acevedo said he did not personally have the performance he wanted at NCAAs this past year, and Bauerle told him he was not alone. Every swimmer goes through it.
It's just another piece of advice the swimmers have taken from their veteran coach.
“I definitely think it brings a lot of joy to him to coach us,” Acevedo said.
Bauerle has 562 combined men’s and women’s victories, which ranks first among active NCAA coaches, first all-time in the SEC, and second on the all-time list. Heading into his 40th year, Bauerle will likely grow his list of accolades.
“You look back and you go 'Holy Christmas,'” Bauerle said.