Episode 1: Swimming History: Coach Don Regenbogen




Pocket Casts

The first thing that came to my mind before reaching out to Coach Don Regenbogen was, “How the heck do I pronounce his last name?” It made me think of Henry Rowengartner.

It is pronounced ‘Reagan’ — like Ronald Reagan. Reagan-Bogen. Regenbogen.

Coach Don Regenbogen (currently with OCCS) was lured down from Pittsburgh in the 1980’s by Doug Fonder (who founded QDD). There he met a young age group swimmer named Jeff Rouse. 

Coach Don and I got to talk about a lot of things including Sudley’s remarkable 94 meet summer league winning streak. How college swimming has helped sprinters but hurt distance swimmers in America. And, the plethora of QDD swimmers (7) that went on to represent the USA in the Olympics in several different sports.

But mainly we talked about Jeff Rouse.

We touch on…

…how Bill Ripol really taught him to train. Bill was the 1987 ACC Champion for UVA in the 400 IM.
…how he broke his wrist 8 weeks before his first World Champs Trails meet.
…how Coach Don rigged up a bucket to a 10 meter diving platform at the old Marines pool.
…how David Berkoff inadvertently lit a fire under his butt at the 1988 Olympic Trials.
…how Coach Don knew, after losing to Mark Tewksbury in 1992, that Jeff Rouse was prepared to go on a mental journey for the next 4 years.
…how Pablo Morales got him pumped up for the 400 Medley Relay in 1992, where he broke his own World Record leading off in 53.86. This record lasted for 7 years, 24 days. Nobody has held the 100 LCM Back World Record longer than Jeff Rouse. 
Ryan Murphy is 2 years, 1 month, and 6 days in…

1988 USA Olympic Trials Results

Jeff Rouse
100 Back, Prelims: 56.81, 5th place
100 Back, Finals: 57.12, 6th place
200 Back, Prelims: 2:06.10, 28th place


“I like to think Jeff helped make me the coach that I am versus me being the coach that helped make Jeff. He doesn’t agree with me, but, ya know, when you have talented swimmers especially like someone like that, if you’re not completely ignorant and just give them a certain level of work, they tend to keep getting better because you don’t have to motivate them, they’re motivated to want to do it.”

100 Back LCM World Record Progression

Not surprised that Rouse, Peirsol, and Murphy all established World Records on Relays.

54.95United States David BerkoffAugust 12, 1988Austin, Texas, USA
54.91United States David BerkoffAugust 12, 1988Austin, Texas, USA
54.51United States David BerkoffSeptember 24, 1988Seoul, South Korea
53.93United States Jeff RouseAugust 25, 1991Edmonton, Canada
53.86 (r)United States Jeff RouseJuly 31, 1992Barcelona, Spain
53.60United States Lenny KrayzelburgAugust 24, 1999Sydney, Australia
53.45 (r)United States Aaron PeirsolAugust 21, 2004Athens, Greece
53.17United States Aaron PeirsolApril 2, 2005Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
52.98United States Aaron PeirsolMarch 27, 2007Melbourne, Australia
52.89United States Aaron PeirsolJuly 1, 2008Omaha, Nebraska, USA
52.54United States Aaron PeirsolAugust 12, 2008Beijing, China
52.38Spain Aschwin WildeboerJuly 1, 2009Pescara, Italy
51.94United States Aaron PeirsolJuly 8, 2009Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
51.85 (r)United States Ryan MurphyAugust 13, 2016Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Update #1

After listening to the interview, Coach Ross Gerry, former Associate Head Coach along side Richard Quick at Stanford from 1991-2001, wrote in with a couple of memories to share…

Great Story!
I recall sitting with Skip Kenney in Menlo Park during broadcast of Jeff’s 100 Bk in Barcelona.
Skip was too nervous too watch the race, and left the room! Later that day I believe, he got a call from Jeff in Barcelona asking if it was ok to train with him for 4 more years!
I also recall seeing Jeff go 50m underwater from a push with zoomers on and go 21.8 at Air Force Academy the fall of “91.
Good Memories!
Ross Gerry





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