By
Robert Leitner ’18
03/13/2017
Greg Meehan ’01 was recently selected as Head Women’s Coach for Team USA Swimming at the 2017 FINA World Championships. He was previously an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games as well as the 2015 FINA World Championships. 
 
Meehan has been the head coach for Stanford’s Women’s Swimming and Diving for the past five years. During his first season, The Cardinal set four school records, which lead to an eighth place showing at the 2012-13 NCAA Championships.  
 
Since then, the standout collegiate coach consecutively guided The Cardinal to the top-three in the following NCAA Championships. This year, Meehan is coaching five-time Olympic gold medalist and Stanford freshman Katie Ledecky, who is undefeated in the 500, 1000, 1650 freestyle and has broken multiple Stanford and NCAA records. 
 
Reflecting on his time spent at Rider as a student-athlete, Meehan notes the value of his development at the University. “A lot of my experience at Rider directed me to my coaching career,” Meehan says. “Rider is one of those places that you learn to become the best version of yourself. I think the environment is supportive of that and allows it to happen organically.” 
 
In light of his storied coaching career, Meehan will be inducted into Rider’s Athletics Hall of Fame this year. The ceremony will be held on June 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater. 
 
Other inductees include Greg Calhoun '91 and Kelly Kajunski '09 of track and field, Doug Umbehauer '09 of wrestling and former Director of Athletic Communications Bud Focht.
 
“It’s incredibly humbling and an honor to be inducted into Rider’s Athletics Hall of Fame,” says Meehan. “I’m glad because it’s also an honor for the swimming and diving program. Anything that reflects well on Coach Coppola, Coach Fletcher and Coach Daly is something that I’m really proud of.”  
 
Meehan started swimming competitively when he was six years old. While earning a degree in mathematics and secondary education at Rider he swam the second fastest 200 backstroke, the third fastest 100 backstroke and the fifth fastest 1,000 freestyle in the program's history at that time. 
 
“College sports allow you to really take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you," he says. "It wasn’t always easy. There were ups and downs with every endeavor certainly within athletics, but the good times were great and the tough times really allowed for growth and learning on a personal level.”
 
During the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, Meehan was an assistant coach for Team USA. He coached three Stanford swimmers to win a combined nine medals, four of which were gold.  One of his swimmers, Simone Manuel, was the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in swimming. 
 
“It was an incredible experience,” Meehan says. “Walking around and seeing a diverse culmination of people from all around the world that have a common ability of performing at this elite level. Swimming is a true Olympic sport, the only time that we get national recognition is during the Olympic years, so it was our time to shine.”

The FINA World Championships will take place in Budapest, Hungary from 14–30 July 2017. The event is run by FINA, the Switzerland-based, International Olympic Committee-recognized federation that administers international water sports competition. 
 
Sports at the collegiate level offer a sense of belonging for incoming freshmen, explains Meehan. They provide a welcoming environment and allow student-athletes to be a part of something bigger, such as the legacy of Rider swimming.  
 
“My teammates, Coach Coppola and Coach Fletcher had such a profound impact on me that I felt like coaching would be something I would really enjoy doing,” says Meehan. “Coaching college swimming is an amazing job. For me, what I probably enjoy most about coaching is the relationships. There is the opportunity to watch someone grow, learn and mature through the course of four years.”