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Rodionoff Goes Out While Still at the Top

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Nick Rodionoff, the Birmingham High swimming coach since 1963, retired from teaching last week and has stepped down as coach.

His coaching replacement is Stacey Palmer, a former Birmingham swimming standout in the mid-1970s.

Rodionoff, who coaches diving at Pepperdine and a swimming club in Malibu, will remain an assistant with the Braves.

“I guess you could call me a kind of a consultant now,” said Rodionoff, 61. “My plate was just getting too full.”

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Rodionoff’s Birmingham teams won 15 boys’ and four girls’ City Section titles, most recently in 1995 when the boys’ team triumphed without a swimmer winning an individual event.

“There isn’t a swimming coach in the City [Section] who has accomplished more than Nick,” said Birmingham Athletic Director Lou Ramirez.

Birmingham was in the midst of winning 13 consecutive boys’ section titles when he arrived as a walk-on coach in 1963. He became a teacher the following year. His boys’ teams were 324-3 in dual meets and have not lost a regular-season meet since the early 1970s, Rodionoff said.

His 1965 boys’ team set a section record of 1:30.40 in the 200-yard freestyle relay, a mark that still stands.

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“I’ve made a lot of friendships over the years,” Rodionoff said. “I guess that’s why I’m not leaving completely. I’ll still have a role.”

Another former Brave swimmer, Lisa Fletcher, also will assist Palmer.


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