Funded by the Stand By Me Foundation, the American swimmers at Team Elite, which is led by San Diego-based coach David Marsh, collectively won 21 medals — gold to bronze at the FINA World Swimming Championships, which took place in Hangzhou, China, and concluded Dec. 16, 2018.
Team Elite is preparing America’s finest swimmers for the upcoming 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo. Coach David Marsh, who has prepared 49 swim athletes for Olympic glory during his 20-plus-year career saw six members of his squad take part in the world championships from Dec. 11-6.
The U.S.-based Team Elite swimmers are a premiere, high performance swim training group, now based in San Diego — who, since 2016, have placed more athletes on the U.S. Olympic team than any other program. If Team Elite were a country, they would have placed third in the medal standing in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Despite their great success on the podium, Team Elite and swimming in the U.S. is still an under-funded and under-supported sport.
The Stand By Me Foundation actively supports American elite swimmers by providing financial assistance. Team Elite is the first swim squad to see financial backing in order to pay for swimming pool access, coaching fees, housing and medical care. The Stand By Me Foundation has been incorporated earlier this month by David Marsh, alongside Marc Huberty (who has fostered European swim talent for decades) and recognized Olympic sports commentator Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines, who won gold in the 100-meter swim at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games. Stand By Me aims to grow the sport of swimming, promote water safety and train American athletes who often receive little to no financial support.
“This shows what we can achieve with the proper support. American elite swimmers of today and tomorrow need corporate America, our brands and our people to stand by our top swimming talent,” said David Marsh, co-founder of the Stand By Me Foundation. “They need us. They need our support, and they need financial help. The U.S. is one of the only leading swimming nations to not help their own champions financially.
“Michael Chadwick, Katie Meili and Kendyl Stewart are well on their way to winning gold medals in the upcoming Olympics. However, they have to cough up over $1,000 per month out of their own pockets, while other swimmers from places such as China, Japan, Germany and Russia get financial backing from their respective countries. Let us all together stand by our swimmers and let them compete in equal circumstances so that America’s finest can do what they do best: win!”
Of those winners, Michael Chadwick won four gold medals across four races; 4×50 and 4×100 men’s freestyle relay, the mixed 4×50 medley relay and the 4×50 mixed freestyle relay. Chadwick also won a silver medal in the men’s 4×50 medley relay.
Kathleen Baker took home four medals — two gold in the women’s 4×50 and 4×100 medley relay, as well as one silver in the women’s 200 backstroke and a bronze in the women’s 200 individual medley.
Lia Neal earned four medals, bringing home three gold in the women’s 4×100 medley relay, the women’s 4×50 and 4×100 freestyle relay, and a silver medal in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay.
Kendyl Stewart also earned four medals, three of which were gold in the women’s 4×50 and 4×100 medley relay and the mixed 4×50 medley relay, alongside a silver medal in the women’s 100 butterfly.
Katie Meili earned three golds in the 4×50 and 4×100 women’s medley relay and the mixed 40×50 medley relay, as well as a silver medal in the women’s 100 breaststroke.
These medal achievements were topped by four world record-breaking races by Michael Chadwick, Katie Meili, Kathleen Baker and Kendyl Stewart across the 4×100 men’s freestyle relay with a new top time of 3:03:03, the 4×50 men’s freestyle relay at 1:21:80, the 4×50 women’s medley relay at 1:42:38, and the 4×50 mixed medley relay at 1:36:40.
The average income of most Olympic hopefuls is less than $20,000 per year, however the majority of elite athletes incur expenses of $25,000 to $40,000 annually for coaching, equipment and travel. Therefore, support from organizations such as the Stand By Me Foundation is essential to ensuring the success of American swimmers and achieving great results at the 2020 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo.
“I’m very excited about the creation of the Stand By Me Foundation because it will provide much-needed support for the swimmers who work extremely hard and are role models for so many young children across America,” said Marsh.
For more information about the Stand By Me Foundation, visit standbymefoundation.net.