Catherine Kase, Nee Vogt, Is USA’s Open Water Olympic Head Coach For Tokyo 2020

Haley Anderson Catherine Vogt
Catherine Vogt (now Kase), right, with Haley Anderson

Catherine Kase, nee Vogt, of the University of Southern California and Trojan Swim Club, has been named the open water head coach for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team.

USA Swimming today announced that Kase will lead a team of three Americans competing in the Olympic 10km Marathon, so far schedule to be held in Tokyo.

Discussions about a possible move north to Hokkaido, in keeping with the safety precautions taken by the International Olympic Committee for marathon runners and walkers, are still ongoing, Swimming World understands.

The USA’s three marathon swimmers are Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif./Trojan Swim Club), Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./TAC Titans) and Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica), who all bypassed the World Beach Games in Doha last month when safety concerns were raised.

All three punched their Olympic tickets with top-10 finishes in World Championships 10km in Korea last July, when Kase also served as team head coach.

“It is a tremendous honour to represent the United States as the head coach for Open Water,” Kase said.

“I am so excited to lead such an amazing group of athletes and their coaches. Over the last 15 years, I’ve been involved in, and passionate about, open water swimming. Hopefully that experience will benefit the team as we navigate the ever-changing elements of open water. I am extremely grateful for the many people who have helped and supported me along the way. It is such a privilege to work with great athletes, coaches and USA Swimming in the lead up to and through the Olympic Games! Go USA!”

USA Swimming Director of Open Water Bryce Elser noted: “Catherine’s leadership, pride in team culture and legacy of success will be incredibly valuable to our team at the Olympic Games. I am confident Catherine will do a great job prepping our team for success next summer.”

Tokyo 2020 will mark the third Olympic open water head coaching position of Kase’s career: she was coach for Tunisia at London 2012 when that country’s US-based Oussama Mellouli claimed marathon gold. At Rio 2016, Kase headed Team USA, coaching Anderson and Wilimovsky to fifth-place finishes.

Next year, Anderson will chase her second career Olympic medal, while Wilimovsky and Twichell hunt a first podium finish.

Kase is one of few women to have made it through to senior national team coaching positions for the USA, Teri McKeever having been the first woman team’s head coach for the swimming team at London 2012.

USA Swimming noted of Kase: “Along with her Olympic head coaching roles and leading Team USA’s open water swimmers at the 2019 FINA World Championships, Kase has also been Team USA’s open water head coach at the 2009, 2013, 2015 FINA World Championships, 2014 and 2016 Pan Pacific Championships and 2007 Pan American Games.”

Kase is currently the Associate Head Coach of the USC Swimming & Diving Team and Trojan Swim Club.

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Fran Crippen – Never Again … a 2015 Swimming World cover … and since then, races under FINA rules have been held in waters over the 31C limit – Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine

Kase is also a member of FINA’s Coaches Committee and the Chair of USA Swimming’s Open Water Steering sub-committee, a body that has raised no official, public concern about the fact that major international open water races have been held under FINA rules in waters that exceeded the high upper water temperature limit of 31C  set in the wake of Fran Crippen‘s death in a FINA World Cup race in 2010.

Meanwhile, the USA team’s assistant open water coach will be named at a later date, USA Swimming announced.