Dick Bower

Dick Bower

The southern swimming community lost one of its legendary members last week, with the passing of a long-time collegiate and youth coach.

Former Tulane University swimming coach and The Woodlands resident Dick Bower died Sunday, June 23, after suffering a severe stroke. He was 83 years old.

“He took a really professional approach to coaching,” grandson Jesse Robinson said. “He expected a lot out of his athletes. He expected you to focus on his instruction, and he expected you to work hard at practice. He was just a really generous man, and he was eager to give (swimming) advice.”

Bower and his wife Barbara moved to The Woodlands in 2005 after evacuating New Orleans, where Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city.

He continued to give private lessons after the move and competed in monthly tournaments to stay in shape.

“There’s a saying masters swimming: ‘If you live long enough, you’ll win,’” Bower told The Villager in 2007. “I’m not fast in any way. I’m just competitive with the old guys.”

Before relocating to Texas, Bower served as the coach at Tulane for eight seasons from 1970-77, accumulating an overall record of 85-36.

From 1952-58, Bower organized swim teams at both a local YMCA and high school in Jamestown, N.Y., and won three state YMCA titles.

He then moved on to Bethel Park High School (Pa.), where he coached from 1960-66 and accumulated a 92-8 record.

From there, Bower moved on to coach for the Greater Pittsburgh Swim Club and the Brandon Swim and Tennis Club in Brandon, Fla.

Following his career at Tulane, Bower founded a successful USS Swim Club team in New Orleans called the BOLTS. He led the program to 38 Louisiana state swimming championships.

In addition, he also spent time as the coach at St. Martin’s and De La Salle high schools in Louisiana.

Bower was honored with a lifetime achievement award in 2009 at the National Intercollegiate Swim Coaches Association Awards Banquet.

He was also a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

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