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Calabasas Swim Team Lands Evans’ Former Coach

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

CLASS Aquatics got a little classier this week with the addition of swimming coach Bud McAllister.

McAllister, who worked with the 1988 Olympic coaching staff and is the former coach of triple gold medalist Janet Evans, has been lured from Team Orlando in Florida to head the Calabasas-based CLASS team.

“He was at the top of our wish list because of his obvious credentials,” said CLASS President Richard DeFronzo, who received notice Friday that McAllister had agreed in principle to a contract. “He’s just got incredible credentials, and you don’t get many coaches with international experience like Bud has.”

McAllister was the American Swimming Coaches Assn. Coach of the Year the past two years and is one of only four multiple winners since the award was instituted in 1972. He coached the Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team from 1985 to 1988.

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While with FAST, he hitched his star to Evans, who rocketed to the top of the swimming world under his tutelage.

“When Bud first was my coach, I had just started at the Senior National level, and Bud took me up to world records,” Evans said. “He’s really, really good as a distance coach. He gave me good sets.”

McAllister coached other top swimmers at FAST as well, including Canadian Olympian Darren Ward and Stanford swimmer Julie Martin.

“It’s always been my goal to put swimmers in the Olympics and top international competition,” McAllister said. “I suppose it will continue to be my goal. Of course, it will be difficult to try to repeat the performance with Janet.”

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FAST finished second in the women’s team competition in the 1987 National Long Course Championships, primarily because of the 200 points Evans earned with four victories, but it never developed the depth of some of the other top swim clubs.

“What Bud hasn’t done yet is put the big team together, but that doesn’t make him any less of a coach,” said Jeff Dimond, the U. S. Swimming Information Service director. “We do know that he can produce swimmers.”

McAllister will get the opportunity to build a team program with CLASS, which currently has about 150 swimmers as well as three junior national-level competitors.

“My goal will be to increase the size of the team so that year-round we’ll have over 150 swimmers, attract the top athletes and get the young athletes involved in the sport,” McAllister said. “I had the same basic goal here (with Team Orlando), but unfortunately, after a short period of time, I didn’t see much potential for that happening.”

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CLASS President DeFronzo believes that McAllister’s presence will help not only CLASS but also Valley-area swimming in general.

“There’s no doubt it will be a shot in the arm to the Valley,” DeFronzo said. “It’s beneficial to the area as a whole when you have someone who is so well-known.”

McAllister, 32, graduated from Central Michigan and earned a master’s degree in sports psychology at Arizona. He brings a different approach to swimming.

“He’s really laid back,” Evans said. “He’s not very intense. With Bud you had to be pretty self-motivated to do well.”

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Evans said that she was surprised to hear that McAllister was leaving Florida. McAllister cited disenchantment with the humid Florida weather and problems with parents for the move.

Probably the strongest program in the Valley area, CLASS was founded when two swim clubs merged in 1979. It had fallen into disarray recently when newly hired coach Martin Edwards left the club to form Top Seed Aquatics in Calabasas.

CLASS had hired Edwards from The Oregon Project swim club when longtime coach Corey Stanbury left CLASS to take over the program at El Camino College. Edwards arrived in September but left the team by the end of June. Stanbury returned to the team on an interim basis while CLASS resumed its search for a coach.

“They asked me my opinion of him (McAllister), which is obviously very high,” Stanbury said. “It’s a real coup for him to come to CLASS.”

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