Coach Goodman James Dispensing Aquatic Wisdom and Producing National Champions


Anne Goodman James has spent 38 years as a head coach in all three NCAA divisions. As the Colorado College Athletics page puts it, she is currently “dispensing aquatic wisdom and producing national champions at Colorado College.” 

Photo by Angel Martinez

“I decided that I wanted to become a college coach back when I was in high school,” Goodman James explained. “Then my swimming college experience was so amazing that I wanted to be able to share and facilitate that kind of experience for others through swimming. For 43 years I have spent my life working with college students, being able to share their thrilling accomplishments, as well as the hard times. I am grateful for the relationships that we have developed over the years, and that continue on long after graduation. It is a very fulfilling life, and I am still excited about what lies ahead.”

Under the leadership of Goodman James, the Colorado College  men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs have been consistently competing for the SCAC team championships. 

Last year, the Tigers men placed third, placing them in the top four at the championships for the seventh season straight. The women placed second overall for the fifth consecutive season. Both teams received Team Scholar All-American honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America for the 2017 spring semester. In 2015, CC  was the only school in the country across all three NCAA divisions to have both their men’s and women’s team earn a spot in the top five of their respective division.

Goodman James, who has produced 97 All-Americans, 29 national champions and countless NCAA qualifiers at five different schools since 1976, has coached CC’s swimming and diving teams since 2006. She also serves as director of aquatics, senior women’s administrator for the athletics department, and has presented speeches and pieces of written work regarding Title IX legislation during her career. 

Goodman James is respected by her team members and assistant coach. Ellie Pfeiffer ’21 commented on her coach’s style: “Anne is a very intense coach. She pushes me every day to worker harder than I felt like I could, but she is never unreasonable. I feel like having a coach that holds everyone to such high standards creates a culture of accountability.” 

Goodman James strives to see her athletes succeed. She caters each practice to every individual swimmer, creates all practice regimens herself, and makes sure to watch every race of each swimmer. Assistant coach Dallas Tarkenton is thankful for the opportunity to work under such a legendary figure.

“Coaching with Anne Goodman James is an incredible experience. The legacy she has created for herself and the programs she has been a part of is second to none,” Tarkenton said. “Coaching all three divisions has given her a true understanding of the inner workings of the coaching world and she has taken all that experience into creating a program that gives CC student athletes the opportunity to learn from one of the bests.” 

Under her direction, the swim and dive team looks primed to compete in the SCAC championships a few months from now. Their next meet will be against Colorado State University-Pueblo on Dec. 8.

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