Sitting at a poolside table this summer at Santa Monica Swim Center, Dave Kelsheimer marveled about two of his most talented athletes.
He rattled off their swimming accomplishments, praised their work ethic and expounded on their goals in the sport.
Of course, Kelsheimer has plenty to do with their success. The head Team Santa Monica coach has spent countless hours guiding them, supporting them and pushing them.
And his impact is expanding. USA Swimming announced that Kelsheimer is slated to join the U.S. Olympic team staff as an assistant coach under Catherine Vogt for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I am both humbled and honored to be granted the privilege of joining the U.S. Olympic team staff as an assistant coach to work with some of the world’s finest elite athletes,” Kelsheimer said in a Sept. 30 press release. “This is a remarkable opportunity to learn from great coaches, to share in the dreams of talented and dedicated athletes and to represent my country by coaching the sport I love.”
Kelsheimer’s nomination requires approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee, but it’s not as if he is new to coaching at the international level.
He served as the U.S. men’s open-water coach for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Australia and was also an assistant at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Russia.
Kelsheimer has built customized workouts for Malibu High grad Jordan Wilimovsky, a Team Santa Monica swimmer who holds national and world titles in the 10-kilometer open-water event. And Wilimovsky is just one of several swimmers that Kelsheimer has helped attain national team status.
Kelsheimer said he agreed to coach Team Santa Monica in August 2010 after a conversation with active club parent Marty Caverly about elevating the nonprofit club’s competitive ranks.
Wilimovsky, Brendan Casey and Eugene Tee, among others, have all honed their skills under Kelsheimer’s tutelage.
Wilimovsky, who is taking a year off from Northwestern University to prepare for the Olympics in Brazil, has said it was an easy decision to train under Kelsheimer in Santa Monica.
“I’ll get more individual attention on what I need to do,” he said.
Casey, a Santa Monica High School alumnus who is taking a year off from the University of Virginia to pursue his swimming dreams, has said Kelsheimer helps him to see his potential.
“At first you don’t believe him,” Casey said, “but it comes together.”
Tee, an Australia native, followed Kelsheimer to the states and attended St. Monica Catholic High School. He is currently on the swimming roster at the University of North Carolina.
“I owe Dave a lot,” Tee told the Daily Press in 2011. “He’s really changed my life. I never thought I’d be at this level before meeting him.”
Before joining Team Santa Monica, Kelsheimer held coaching and management posts with club teams in Australia and the Cayman Islands.
In Melbourne, he helped his Surrey Park Swim Club athletes earn 30 medals at the junior national and national levels and break numerous records. In the Cayman Islands, he served as the country’s national swimming coach from 1995 to 2005 and developed four Olympic athletes.