Bruce Gemmell


  • Birthday:  November 12th
  • Hometown: Wilmington, DE
  • Currently Resides: Potomac, MD
  • What team are you currently coaching? Nation’s Capital Swimming (NCAP)
  • College/Education: University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, MI


  • US Olympic Trials Qualifier (1980 and 1984)
  • Nation’s Capital Swim Club Head Coach since 2012
  • Head Coach for the most decorated female Olympian, Katie Ledecky from 2012-16 (5 Olympic gold medals, 14 World Championship gold medals, world-record holder in the 400, 800 and 1500-meter freestyle)
  • Head Coach of the 2017 US FINA Jr World Championships Team
  • 2016 Assistant Coach for the Women’s Olympic Team
  • Three-time ASCA Coach of the Year (2013-15)
  • USA Swimming Golden Goggle Coach of the Year (2013-15)
  • 10-time US National Team Coach
  • 13-time National Junior Team Coach
  • US Junior World Open Water Team Head Coach Head Coach (2012)
  • Pan Pac Team Assistant Coach (2014)
  • World Championships Team Assistant Coach (2013 & 2015)
  • Junior Pan Pacs Assistant Coach (2010)
  • ASCA Level 5 Coach


Want to learn from one of the most renowned swim coaches in the US? Here’s your chance. Sign up for your next Fitter and Faster clinic with Bruce Gemmell! Trust us – it will be worth your while.

You may have heard of Coach Gemmell after his swimmer Katie Ledecky stormed the Olympic stage by surprise, earning a gold medal at the 2012 London Games in the 800m freestyle at the age of 15. Or you may have read about him in the papers after Ledecky became the most decorated female Olympian in history after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Despite his laundry list of coaching accolades and Olympic qualifiers, Coach Gemmell has always turned the spotlight on his athletes.

No matter your name or talent level, Gemmell knows how to call greatness out of his swimmers and push them to accomplish their dreams. You’ll most likely hear him repeat this motto:

“Dream BIG. Set BIG, scary, unrealistic goals and then make progress one tiny step at a time. Each of these tiny steps will accumulate into something great when you incorporate them into your everyday practice.”

Coach Gemmell also realizes that each swimmer has his or her own unique needs and gives individual, specific feedback. “There isn’t one way to do things or one path to success. Find ‘your way.’” This innovative approach to developing your own swimming style and path to success starts with being curious to experiment with technique and training.

“After 30-some years of coaching, I know how to identify and take advantage of each individual athlete’s strengths. I can quickly pick out fundamental errors in strokes and identify how to change them.”

Coach Gemmell wants participants to focus on a few key principles throughout the clinic to continue developing after they leave: balance, proper stroke timing and efficiency.

“Balance is key, and rhythm is extremely important. Each stroke is a little bit unique, and finding the proper rhythm will develop efficiency. Efficiency is the name of the game.”

Putting these three concepts into practice can be difficult for swimmers, because “lots of times they mentally check out and see certain important skills, like starts and turns, as a ‘break’ rather than an important skill. I give them one or two key skills to focus on, and that goes a long way.” The best swimmers are those who pay attention to subtle details of each stroke.

While Coach Gemmell will give plenty of practical, hands-on skills to work on and take back to your home teams, he will also give you motivation and perspective.

If swimmers remember nothing else from his clinic, he’d want them to remember this:

“Dream big and work hard. There are no shortcuts to success. You should expect obstacles and setbacks – they’re a natural part of swimming. There are no failures: Just great learning opportunities.”

He will challenge you to redefine your perception of success and failure. Each setback teaches you something about how you can improve, and that in itself is counted as success.

Bring your swimming to the next level today by signing up for his clinic!