Dan Rogers – Swimming Since the Sixties


This image of the 1978-79 IU swimming team has Dan Rogers shown in the second row up, fourth from the right.

Dan Rogers has been a volunteer coach for the BHSN swim team for 8 years, but his history as a swimmer within his own life is what makes him such a unique coach. Dan is 64 years old now, and he has been swimming almost his entire life. 

Rogers started his swimming career in his home city of Toronto, Canada when he was only 8 years old. In Canada, swimming is separated between club and school teams. Dan always swam club during his high school years, so he never had close team relationships until college.

Rogers moved to the United States to go to college and swim at Indiana University. Rogers swam for IU under James “Doc” Councilman, who is arguably one of the best athletics coaches of all time. Doc is famous for his invention of the pace clock and his fantastic record of coaching for IU and the US olympic team. Under his leadership, the US men’s swim team won 9 of 11 gold medals in 1964 and 12 of 13 in 1976. The IU team won 140 consecutive dual meets over the course of 13 years with Doc as their coach. Rogers swam for Doc from 1977-1981, right in the middle of this run. 

“Going to Indiana was the first time I experienced really, really being on a team,” Dan said. “With Doc was a completely different way of coaching.” Dan loved his time swimming for Doc, and models a lot of his coaching style after him. He said that there was “a lot of detailing to a lot of his workouts.” “As far as going to school and swimming at the same time, it was probably the best 4 years of my life.”

After receiving his degree at IU, Rogers worked in business for 15 years at a large computer company, then for 18 years as a financial advisor for another company. During this time he continued to swim, competing and winning the world masters championship twice, once in the 26-30 age group and once in the 40-45 group. 

As he got older, Dan struggled with heart problems, having to undergo multiple surgeries. This restricted his swimming for some time during his adulthood and continues to be a challenge for him now. 

“I want to do more but my body has to know its limits,” said Dan. He continues to coach and do the things he loves, but has to be careful not to overwork himself.

Despite this, Dan always looked forward to coaching swimming in his older years. “What I always wanted to do was get back into the world of swimming.”

8 years ago, Rogers retired and was and was finally able to achieve this goal. He started coaching as a volunteer with Dave Tanner. Along with volunteer-coaching at North, Dan now teaches swimming courses with the Department of Kinesiology at IU.

Dan says that the best part of his coaching experience is “when everybody does well.” “When people do well in practice and really try, that’s it. At that point in time I say it’s all worth it.” Dan always had a lot of fun swimming, and encourages swimmers to enjoy their time at practices while still excelling. He believes that a balance of work and fun is important for athletic success. 

Dan intends to coach for a few more years, but the team would gladly have him stay for many years to come.