Walker is a 12-time Coach of the Year.
July 7, 2012
By John Lock
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois head swimming coach Rick Walker has been named the head coach for the Egyptian Olympic swimming team. Walker will coach former Saluki swimmer Mazen Aziz in the 10-kilometer open-water swim, an event added to the Olympics in 2008.
"This is a life-long dream that is coming true," Walker said. "It's a great honor to be able to represent SIU at the Olympics, and it's great to have the support of the athletic department for both coaches and athletes to pursue these dreams. I'm extremely excited."
Walker earned his 12th Coach of the Year honor and his first MAC Swimming Coach of the Year award in 2012. Walker is a three-time Eastern Independent Championships Coach of the Year (1993-95), two-time National Independent Championships Coach of the Year (1996, 97), four-time Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year (1995, 96, 98, 2002) and two-time MVC Invitational Coach of the Year (2004, 05).
Walker has a long history of international competition. He has served on the USA Swimming coaching staff for 13 World Championships and was a five-year chairman on USA Swimming's Open Water Committee. In 2009, he was honored as the America Continental Open Water Swimming Man of the Year. Walker was head coach and director for USA Swimming's Open Water National Team for 12 years.
Walker was instrumental in the implementation of the 10-kilometer open-water swim into the Olympics. He played a leading role in USA Swimmnig's Out of the BoxDVD promoting open water swimming in 2009. Walker served a seven-year term on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee and took the lead in placing open-water swimming in the 2008 Olympic Games in Bejing, China,
Aziz and Walker will fly to London from Egypt on July 27, and Aziz will compete in the 10-kilometer open-water swim on Aug. 10. Aziz is one of three Saluki swimmers that will compete in the 2012 Olympics, joining Pamela Benitez (El Salvador) and Csaba Gercsak (Hungary).
Walker is one of two SIU coaches that will coach at the London Games. SIU track and field head coach Connie Price-Smith will serve as the women's throws coach for USA Track and Field.