TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Former world record holder and NCAA Champion Jonty Skinner is returning to the University of Alabama to join head swimming and diving coach Dennis Pursley’s staff it was announced Tuesday.
“We could not have a more qualified coach than Jonty Skinner join the Alabama staff,” Pursley said. “As a former world record holder and coach of Olympic gold medalists and national championship teams, Jonty has done it all at the highest levels of national and international competition. He will be primarily responsible for our sprint program but all of the swimmers and coaches on the team will benefit from his broad range of experience and expertise. ”
Skinner, who held the world record in the 100-meter freestyle from 1976-81 and won the Crimson Tide’s first individual NCAA Championship in 1975, has coached at the highest levels for the past 30 years. After starting his coaching career at Alabama, Skinner went on coach the San Jose Aquatics Club, where he won a national championship team title and five junior national championship team titles. He also served as the inaugural coach of United States Swimming’s Resident National Team, where he coached some of the nation's top swimmers at the elite national and international level.
“I’m excited to be heading back to Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama and to have this amazing chance to work with Dennis again,” Skinner said. “He and I have worked together for a number of years at both USA and British Swimming and I think we’re both excited to take what we’ve learned about swimming and coaching at the international level and apply it at the collegiate level.”
Skinner has coached swimmers to 18 national titles and 20 Olympic medals – including 17 gold. He has also produced two Kipputh Award winners. During his swimming career, Skinner captured four national titles to go with his five years as the world record holder in the 100m freestyle. In 1986 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
After spending six years as the head of the USA Resident National Team, Skinner spent eight years as USA Swimming’s Director of Performance Science and Technology, coordinating all of the testing, tracking and assessment of U.S. National Team members. For the past three years, he has worked in a similar capacity with British Swimming.
In addition to his work with the USA and British National teams, Skinner founded Athletic Intelligence Consulting to further his work and research in neuroscience and how it relates to elite level training and competition.
“Jonty has proven to be a leader in cutting edge science and technology as it applies to competitive swimming,” Pursley said. “His experience in working with many of the world’s top swimmers and coaches will bring a wealth of knowledge to the Alabama program. He is a great motivator and proven winner who is passionately committed to helping his swimmers become the best that they can be.”
This will be Skinner’s third stint with the Crimson Tide. He previously served on legendary UA coach Don Gambril’s staff in the 1970s and then again in the late 1980s before becoming head coach in 1990, leading both the Tide men and women to top-10 national finishes in 1994, the same year he was named the SEC Women’s Coach of the Year.
“There’s no doubt that Alabama is a very special place and I can’t imagine doing this anywhere else,” Skinner said. “The opportunity to coach with Dennis and live and work in such a tradition-rich environment was something I just couldn’t pass up.”