Longtime Air Force women's swimming coach Casey Converse has been selected for the Richard E Steadman Award by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America. The Richard E. Steadman award is conferred annually to a swimming or diving coach in high school, club, or university ranks who, in the opinion of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. the CSCAA Forum, and the CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s beloved sport of swimming and diving. Converse will be recognized at the CSCAA's 57th Annual Awards Banquet on May 8th at the Bahia Resort in San Diego.
Converse has held the titles Olympian, World Record-Holder, NCAA Champion swimmer, NCAA Champion Coach, author, cancer-survivor. Throughout it all, Coach Converse has spread joy via swimming and diving.
“Coach’s daily interactions with each and every one of us constantly uplift the team. His unwavering love and kindness motivated us to perform, but more importantly, taught us to appreciate the many blessings and opportunities afforded to us by the sport of swimming. ” – Genevieve Miller, Class of 2017.
As an athlete, Converse swam on the USA’s 1976 Men’s team in Montreal, finishing 12th in the 400 freestyle. The following year he became the first person to swim the 1650 under 15 minutes, winning the NCAA Championship and setting the American Record for the University of Alabama.
“Coach is one of those constantly happy people who doesn’t let what is going on in his day affect us. Some of my favorite moments come when he would send us off with a ‘have a great day at college!’ He is a bright spot in many of our days.” –Emily D’Amato, Class of 2016
Converse began his tenure in 1988 as the first civilian swim coach in Academy history. With an overall dual meet record of 310-206-2 at Air Force, Converse is the winningest swim coach in Academy history. As impressive as his record is in the pool, Converse’s teams have been equally extraordinary in the classroom. He has coached a total of 69 athletes that have earned academic all-conference honors 123 times, leading all Academy teams in this category.
“Both as an athlete and a coach, I have so much respect for Casey. He is a man of tremendous integrity and his work ethic who has touched so many young lives over his 29 years. Both he and his family should be extremely proud of this honor.” - Randy Spetman, Air Force Academy Athletic Director 1996-2003.
From 1988 to 1997, Converse led both the men’s and women’s teams. Success came quickly as the men’s team moved from the bottom of the Western Athletic Conference to a second-place finish in 1991. Under Converse’s guidance, the Air Force women’s team made Academy history by winning back-to-back Division II National Championships in 1995 and 1996.
Converse has enjoyed success throughout his tenure, having produced coached 32 individuals who to 178 All-America honors right up through this past season when Genevieve Miller made history once again became the only female swimmer from any service academy to score at the Division I Swimming Championships.
Converse is also a chronicler of the sport. In 2014 he served as Technical Consultant for the USA Swimming documentary The Last Gold, and last year published the greatest untold story of the Olympic Games. Munich to Montreal: Women’s Olympic Swimming in a Tarnished Golden Era tells the story of athletics as Cold War proxy battle, providing a deep look at one of the most revolutionary and tumultuous periods in Olympic Swimming history.
“Casey’s leadership, loyalty and vision for nearly three decades have been instrumental in our women winning national titles, progressing to Division I, and providing our Air Force outstanding leaders of character as second lieutenants. Casey has left an incredible legacy here at the Academy.” – Jim Knowlton, Athletic Director