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Salo has his teams in fast lane

Former Irvine Novaquatics and Orange Coast College coach has USC swimming program back on the national stage.

July 16, 2011|By Joe Haakenson, Special to the Daily Pilot
  • Dave Salo
Dave Salo

Dave Salo is right where he belongs.

Right now, it's Japan, and later this week it'll be Shanghai, China for the 2011 FINA World Swimming Championships.

In a couple weeks when the world championships are over, he'll be back home in Southern California, ready to return to coaching the men's and women's swimming teams at USC after recently receiving a five-year contract extension from the school, continuing his tenure there that began in 2007.

Salo has been in Japan with eight members from the Trojan Swim Club, of which he is the director, for training camp in preparation for the world championships. The swimming competition (the meet includes water polo, diving, open-water swimming and synchronized swimming) begins next Sunday.

For Salo, 51, it's par for the course in a career that has placed him at swimming pools across the world. He has coached at all levels and was recognized last year with induction to the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

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"I was a little surprised as I feel those honors are reserved at the conclusion of one's career, and I feel like I have better coaching successes ahead of me," Salo said from Japan. "As it relates to where my career has come, I was honored to be recognized by the coaches association for a job well done for my body of work."

That doesn't tell the half of it.

Salo has coached Olympic  medalists such as Rebecca Soni, Ous Mellouli, Larsen Jensen, Lenny Krayzelburg, Gabe Woodward, Aaron Peirsol, Amanda Beard, Staciana Stitts, Colleen Lanne and Jason Lezak.

He has coached extensively at the national level, including head coaching assignments for the United States at the 2005 World Championships (men) and the 2001 Goodwill Games (men). His assistant coaching duties for the U.S. include the 2010 Short Course World Championships (women), 2004 Olympics (men), 2003 World Championships (men and women), 2002 Pan Pacific Championships (men), 2000 Olympics (women) and the 1999 Pan American Games (women).

Last year, SwimNews.com named Salo the International Women's Coach of the Year.

But for all Salo has accomplished and everywhere he's been, the core of his coaching career is right here in Irvine.

From 1990-2006, Salo was the head coach of the Irvine Novaquatics, leading the Novas to numerous Junior National and U.S. National team titles and several age-group championships. He was named U.S. Swimming Coach of the Year in 2002 after leading the Novas to U.S. Spring and Summer national titles.

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