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Are We Closing The Gender Wage Gap For Swim Coaches?

Written By: Jamie Bloom

We are all aware of the very well documented stories of professional female athletes and the gender pay gap (see the US Women’s National Soccer Team who recently scored a “victory.”). But, what about the female coaches? And in our case, the female swim coaches?

In the sport of swimming, and especially college swimming, women seem to be paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Mostly I am not talking about head coaches as there are not enough women who are head coaches to make a fair comparison. In this case my information is largely about assistant or associate head coach positions and overwhelmingly from public institutions as their salary information is, well, public! Data shows that the average assistant/associate head coach salaries from the Power 5 conferences is about 70K for men and 56K for women. This means that women are earning about 79% of what men are earning in similar positions. My hunch is that the gap may be even wider at the private schools but it will remain a hunch until I am able to do the research or the information becomes public and accessible.

What can be done to address this issue?

Here are a couple of starter ideas:

1. More women should apply for, be recruited to, and be hired into coaching positions. When interviewed be prepared to discuss the pay gap and then demand equal pay. Here is a great opportunity to practice some of the ideas I have written about in previous articles.

2. Find male allies who are willing to shift the power balance in coaching. This is a great time to find mentors, both female AND male, who can share wisdom, create “squads,” and help advocate for women to get (at least) the equal pay they deserve.

As we are in the midst of another college swimming hiring season this is a great time to tap into the talent pool of female coaches, hire them, and pay them equally to their male counterparts. In 2022 we should expect nothing less.

Women's Leadership Director at

Streamline Teams

Head Senior/National Team Coach YOTA Swim Team, Raleigh NC

Associate Head Coach, Director of Operations William Peace University,

Raleigh NC

2005-2015 Head Coach/Director of Aquatics, Westfield YMCA, Westfield MA

2000-2005 Assistant Women’s Swim Coach, University of Tennessee

1982-2000 Head Coach James Buchanan HS/Mercersburg Area Swim Club,

Mercersburg PA.

1980-1982 Head Coach Slippery Rock Eels Swim Team, Slippery Rock PA


Slippery Rock State College 1982, BS-HPERD, Specialty in Aquatics

Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) 1986 MS Athletic


Committees, Team, Camps:

Secretary-North Carolina Swimming Board of Directors

Member- YMCA Swimming Operations Council

USA Swimming Chair- Convention Education Committee

Head Coach- National Diversity Select Camp, rescheduled for May 2021

Head Manager- National Diversity Select Camp, May 2019

Head Manager- FINA World Jr. Championships, Indianapolis August 2017

Assistant Manager- FINA World Jr Championships, Singapore August 2015

Assistant Manager- Duel in the Pool, Scotland, December 2103

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