Behind all champions there is a coach teaching technique, stamina, and attitude, pushing them to be the best they can be, and helping them get back up when they fall. Aquatics coach Tom De Long, born in 1937, is one such creator of champions.
Coming from a working-class family, De Long learned early to put in effort and never give up. After graduating from Long Beach City College and the University of Denver, he spent several years working as a lifeguard at Long Beach. At twenty-seven, he came across an opportunity he couldn't pass up: coaching aquatics at the brand-new Foothill High School in Southern California.
Thus began De Long's unprecedented fifty-year career as coach. He led the boys' and girls' swim teams, divers, and water polo players to dozens of championships and coached four Olympic medalists. A high achiever in his personal life too, he participated in competitive sailing for forty years, including finishing the TransPac sail to Hawaii at age sixty-nine.
Here is De Long's story, from birth to present, from childhood antics to playing with grandkids-it's the story of a man who loves the California sun on his face and the smell of chlorine in his nostrils.
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About the Author
Tom De Long spent more than fifty years as a coach and mentor to countless swimmers, divers, and water polo players in Southern California.
Sharon Hastings lives in Ephrata, Washington. A former Foothill High School swimmer, she is grateful for the opportunity to preserve De Long's legacy.