Coach Nick Gearhart

Nick was born & raised in Cedar Rapids, IA.  His Dad threw him into the pool at the Cedar Rapids Country Club at the tender age of four and said, “sink or swim!”  CRCC lifeguards Denny Vokolek & Jim Lockett taught Nick how to swim and he competed for CRCC and the YMCA growing up.  He swam on three state championship teams (1967-69) at C.R. Washington and was coached by Hal Krizan.  His senior year he anchored the 200 medley relay to first place and was a member of the second place 400 free relay.  He was co-captain of the 1969 team.

Nick swam for the Cedar Rapids YMCA National team, coached by Jim Gilchrist.  The ’69 team finished second to Huntington, IN in Conway, AR.  Nick anchored the 400 medley relay to second place, the 400 free relay to third place and was 5th in the 50 free.  Nick walked on the two-time NCAA championship, Indiana University swim team, coached by the legendary James “Doc” Counsilman.  Doc encouraged walk-ons and had a no-cut policy.  At Indiana Nick swam with Mark Spitz, John Kinsella, Gary Hall Sr. and many other Olympians and NCAA champions.

Following graduation Nick returned to Cedar Rapids where he has held several positions in sales & marketing.  In 1971, Nick started his coaching career, serving as an assistant coach for CRCC.  He was an assistant coach for the CR Swim Club in 1972, an assistant with Elmcrest Country Club in 1973-74 and head coach for CRCC 1975-78 where his teams won the city championship three times.  He coached the CR YMCA 1978-84 winning six state titles.  In 1985-98 he served as a volunteer assistant coach under Jim Voss at his alma mater, CR Washington and was a member of ten (1985, 87-90, 92, 94-97) state championship teams.

Nick co-founded the CR Masters swim club in 1978 which had a name change to Milky Way Masters in 1989.  Today, Nick is the head coach for Milky Way Masters and along with Coach John Dankert, has led the team to an unprecedented string of state Masters championships.

Nick has competed has competed at the USMS National swim meet and has a also captained a Cedar Rapids YMCA National team at the YMCA Masters National Swimming Championships.

Nick also operates a private lesson business, “Just Add Water 2 Swim,” where he enjoys teaching, coaching & training one-on-one  swimmers & triathletes of all ages.

He truly lives by the mantra, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you!”  (John Wooden)


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