Rick Bishop Season 2023-24
Rick Bishop enters his third season as the leader of the LSU Swimming and Diving program after another impressive step in the development of the program.
Throughout his second season leading the way, Bishop coached the Tigers to an NCAA Championship from Olympic Gold Medalist Maggie MacNeil (50-yard freestyle). In addition to showing out on the collegiate level’s national stage, he led the Tigers to eight SEC Championships, seven in the pool and one in the diving well from diving coach Drew Livingston. LSU won six individual gold medals – three from MacNeil (50-free, 100-free, 100-fly); one from Ella Varga (200-back); one from Jenna Bridges (200-fly); and one from Montserrat Gutierrez Lavenant (platform). Bishop also saw the women’s swimming squad take home two relay gold medals in the 200-free relay and 400-free relay. The relay wins signified the first gold medal in a relay since 1986 (37 years).
Accompanying the eight gold medals, two divers collected a bronze medal to bring the hardware count to 10. With the performance, Bishop guided the women’s team to its highest finish at SECs since the 2014-15 season, claiming fifth place. Similarly, at NCAAs, Bishop and company produced a 19-spot jump from the 2022 season to place 13th – the highest for the LSU women in 30 seasons.
Bishop and Livingston finished the 2022-23 season with an 8-8 dual meet overall record between the men’s and women’s teams. On the men’s side, LSU won a dual meet in conference when the Tigers defeated South Carolina 157-143 in Columbia. The victory marked the first time the men’s squad won an SEC dual meet since the 2013-14 season when LSU took down Texas A&M.
MacNeil, who joined Bishop for her final collegiate season will continue to train at the LSU Natatorium throughout her professional career in the long term and is preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics in the short term. MacNeil finished her short stint at LSU as national champion, five-time SEC Champion, two-time short-course meters world champion, and the SEC Female Swimmer of the Year. Bishop also led her to toward the SEC Championships Female Swimmer of the Meet and Commissioner’s Trophy recipient.
In its totality, Bishop sent eight swimmers to the NCAA Championships with a chance to compete for a national title. MacNeil clocked an NCAA record 20.79 in the 50-free to win the event and earned silver in the 100-fly (48.51) and bronze in the 100-free (46.58). A relay team of MacNeil, Katarina Milutinovich, Peyton Curry, and Michaela de Villiers earned All-American status for their top-eight finish in the 200-free relay event.
On the men’s side, Brooks Curry finished his collegiate career with three more All-American honors in the freestyle events.
In his first season at the helm of the LSU swimming program, Bishop led the Tigers to their first individual swimming title since Mark Andrews won the 50-free in 1988. Brooks Curry, who earned the program’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, took home two national titles in the 50-free and 100-free. In the 50, Curry touched the wall first with a time of 18.56 and placed first in the 100 with a time of 40.84. Curry also claimed sixth place in the 200-free with all three finishes culminating in an NCAA All-American honor.
Bishop also led Curry to a sensational outcome at the 2022 SEC Championships, where Curry broke U.S. Olympian Caeleb Dressel’s meet record in the 100-free with a time of 40.99 and became the eighth individual (at the time) in the history of the sport to clear 41 seconds. Dressel previously clocked in a time of 41.07 at the 2016 rendition of the SEC meet. Curry went on to take silver in the 50- and 200-free with the addition of two relay records in the 200-yard medley and 400-yard free at the SEC Championships.
Bishop also sent veteran Katarina Milutinovich to the NCAA Championships after she was invited to compete in the 50-free, 100-free and 200-free. While there, she placed 55th in the 50, 35th in the 200, and 43rd in the 100.
Bishop oversaw 13 total swimmers score for the Tigers at the 2022 SEC Championships and led the men to the highest finish in program history since 1997. In Bishop’s first year, eight school records fell including Curry’s multiple record-breaking performances. It also included Emil Hassling’s 200 IM record, Jenna Bridges’ 500-free record, and Jolee Liles’ 1650-free record. On the relay events, the 200-medley and 400-free were the only team events to be broken.
Before stepping onto campus, Bishop fulfilled some impressive duties with the Hong Kong National team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He served as the head coach of the squad but was the primary coach for Siobhan Haughey, who has been under Bishop’s tutelage throughout her career at the University of Michigan. In Tokyo, Bishop coached Haughey to a silver medal in the Women’s 100-meter freestyle and the 200-meter freestyle, where she broke an Asian record in each event. Bishop also served as the primary coach for another Olympian, Maggie MacNeil, throughout her career at Michigan.
PRIOR TO LSU
Bishop, a veteran coach at the college and international level, was named the LSU Swimming head coach on June 24, 2021, by athletics director Scott Woodward.
Bishop spent the past nine seasons as associate head coach at the University of Michigan and has experience in both collegiate and international competition as a coach. At Michigan, he built the women’s team from the ground up and turned the program into a national powerhouse. Bishop was also tabbed as the Hong Kong national team coach and led the nation’s program at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last summer. It was the third time in his career he took the reins for a national team at the Olympics.
During Bishop’s tenure, the men’s team reached the pinnacle of the sport as the 2013 NCAA Champions. The Wolverines were Big Ten Champions from 2013-16 and took the title again in 2020 and 2021.
The women’s team also flourished and saw dramatic improvements on the recruiting trail and in the pool, jumping 26 places at the NCAA Championships in three years from 36th in 2013 to 10th in 2016. Under Bishop’s guidance, three recruiting classes finished in the top-10. The Wolverines won three consecutive Big Ten titles from 2016-18 and tallied runner-up finishes from 2019-21. At the NCAA Championships, the women’s team has finished as high as third in 2019, along with a fourth-place finish in 2018 and sixth-place finish in 2021.
Bishop’s swimmers completely rewrote the record book, breaking 19 school records (in short course yards), including 15 since 2018. Bishop coached Maggie MacNeil, one of the most accomplished swimmers in Michigan history, to the 2021 100 free and 100 fly NCAA titles. She also won Big Ten Swimmer of the Year twice and is a 14-time Big Ten champion and 19-time all-American.
Bishop served as an assistant coach for USA Swimming at the 2016 FINA Swimming World Championships (25m) in Canada and at the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan. Several swimmers under his guidance have represented their countries internationally, including MacNeil (2019 FINA World Championships gold medalist in the 100-meter butterfly); sisters Gabby DeLoof (2018 Pan Pacific Championships), Ali DeLoof (2016 FINA World Championships) and Catie DeLoof (2019 World University Games); Hong Kong’s Siobhán Haughey (2016 Olympics), Claudia Lau (2016 Olympics) and Jamie Yeung (2017 World University Games); Clara Smiddy and G Ryan (2015 Pan American Games); Sierra Schmidt (2019 World University Games); Canada’s Marni Oldershaw (2013 World University Games) and Singapore’s Samantha Yeo (2015 FINA World Championships).
Prior to serving on the Michigan staff, Bishop spent four years with USA Swimming. Bishop’s role with USA Swimming expanded every year after his arrival in Colorado Springs in 2008, including serving as a sport performance consultant for the Club Development arm of USA Swimming for two years before moving on to the national team in 2010. There, Bishop was performance support manager for one year (2010-11), managing the national team performance staff at the 2010 Short Course World Championships in Dubai. Bishop was Manager of Coach Services and Education (2011-2012), where he was responsible for choosing the 2013 World University Games team.
Over his 20-plus years as coach, Bishop has garnered significant international experience. He spent two years on the Brazilian National Team coaching staff, first serving as an assistant coach at the 1995 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro and 1995 Pan-American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina, before heading up the Brazilian Olympic Team at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. He also served as an assistant coach for Jamaica at the 1998 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg and was the head coach for the Netherlands Antilles at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
Bishop began his coaching career by serving a three-year stint as an assistant men’s swimming coach at Harvard (1988-91) before moving to the University of Memphis Tiger Swimming (MTS) Club (1992-96), where he coached six swimmers to the Top-50 of the world rankings between 1994 and 1995.
In 1998, Bishop moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where he began a four-year stint as an assistant coach for The Bolles School, a private college preparatory day and boarding school. He assisted with high school national championship and state championship teams, coached high school all-Americans and U.S. Nationals finalists, and was co-Director of The Bolles School Summer Swim Camps.
He went on to serve as head coach and aquatics director at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn., beginning in 2002, and also served as program director for the Baylor Swim Club, the school’s club team. In 2004, Bishop guided Baylor to a first-place finish (combined team) at the Tennessee State High School Championships, and coached 20 men’s and women’s all-Americans from 2003-04.
Bishop returned to The Bolles School in 2006 as head coach of the high school team and aquatics director of the club team, the Bolles Sharks. In his first year, both his boys and girls teams won the Florida High School 1A State Championship. The next year, in 2007, Bishop guided Bolles to a second-place finish at the 2007 USA Swimming Spring Championships (combined team), with Bishop guiding four Olympic Trials qualifiers and five swimmers ranked in the Top 105 in the world rankings.
Bishop attended the University of Massachusetts (1988), receiving his bachelor of science in exercise science, with a concentration in exercise physiology. At UMass, Bishop was team captain on the first team championship in the program’s history in 1987.
Bishop and his wife, Pamela, have three sons – Liam, Aidan, and Kilian.
THE RICK BISHOP FILE
Born: May 3, 1965
Spouse: Pamela Bishop
Children: Liam, Aidan, and Kilian
High School: Newton North (Newton, Mass.)
College: UMass @ Amherst
Bishop’s Career At A Glance
3 NCAA Titles
8 SEC Championships
8 SEC Champions (individual + relay participants)
18 NCAA All-American Honors
1 SEC Male Swimmer of the Year
1 SEC Female Swimmer of the Year
9 All-SEC First Team Member
6 school records broken in first season
24 school records broken over first two seasons