Coach Dick Hannula

Dick HannulaDick HannulaDick Hannula

2004 ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee

Head Coach of the Tacoma Swim Club

Dick Hannula has coached six U.S. Swimming teams on international trips. In 1984 Olympics, he was selected as the Assistant Manager. He was also selected for the Pan American Games in 1975 as an Assistant Coach and 1979 as a Head Manager. His swimmers have won 2 World Records, 2 Olympic Records, 13 American Records, 2 National High School Records and much more.
Hannula began swimming at Washington State University. In 1951, he went on to teach and coach at Tacoma’s Lincoln High. During his seven years at Lincoln High, Coach Hannula’s team won two state titles. While he was there, Coach Hannula started the Tacoma Swim Club and was the head coach of it for 40 years. In 1958, he moved across town to Wilson High School where they went undefeated in 323 consecutive meets and won 24 consecutive state championships. Hannula lived and looked the part, setting the standard of “Do as I do” and “Do as I say”, which in turn produced outstanding athletes and adults.

Through the Tacoma Swim Club, Hannula’s coaching became recognized on the national and world level. He coached Olympic swimmer Kaye Hall along three other U.S. Olympic team swimmers, which turned him into a globally recognized coach. At the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, Kaye Hall set the World Record in the 100 backstroke and won two gold medals and a bronze. Other world-class swimmers coached by Hannula included: Janet Buchan, Chuck Richards, Miriam Smith, and his sons Dick, David and Dan Hannula; Hannula’s daughter Debbie was a state placer. Five of Coach Hannula’s swimmers compete in the World University Games where they won three gold medals. Several of his swimmers were national champions and American Record holders at the time.

Coach Hannula retired in 1983. In 2007, Dick Hannula came out of retirement joined the University of Puget Sound as an assistant to Chris Myhre.

Dick Hannula has received numerous accolades. He was selected to led the U.S. National Team in international meets in 1973 (England and Bulgaria), 1975 (Pan American Games in Mexico City), 1976 (Egypt), 1978 (Taiwan) and 1985 (Pan Pacific Meet in Tokyo). He was also the manager of the U.S. National Team in international competition in 1979 for the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico; 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles; 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea; and 2001 at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia. He also was awarded the National High School American Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1980, the Collegiate Scholastic Trophy in 1981, and Washington State High School Men’s Coach of the Year (All Sports) in 1982.

Hall of Fame Inductions:

  • National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame (1982)
  • International Swimming Hall of Fame (1987)
  • State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame (1994)
  • Pacific Northwest Swimming Hall of Fame (2004)
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame (2005)
  • Washington State University Sports Hall of Fame
  • Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Hall of Fame
  • Aberdeen High (Weatherwax) Hall of Fame

Off the deck, Dick Hannula has been the President of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) (1976-1978, 1986) and was the Vice President of the World Swimming Coaches Association. Hannula has been awarded the Daland Leadership and Service Award by ASCA. He also served as the U.S. Swimming as Technical Instruction Committee Chairman. Hannula was the commissioner of swimming at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. He has also wrote extensively on swimming in articles, publications, and book such as Coaching Swimming Successfully and the co-editor of The Swim Coaching Bible. He has been a featured coach at clinic in more than 30 states and internationally (Australia, Hong Kong, and Thailand).

“My philosophy never changed and that’s to try to teach as many skills as possible in all strokes. And you also want to keep a kid out of stressful situations — stress from his parents, his teammates and especially from the Coach. They do the swimming.” – Coach Dick Hannula