Georgia Tech first fielded a swim team in the year of 1918-19, when the first tryout was held at the city Y.M.C.A. and about sixty men came out. According to the Blueprint, the fledgling squad featured “some of the fastest water splashers that the South has ever turned out and one that would make any Eastern college hustle to beat”. The team was captained by G.R. Fraser, described as the best swimmer in the South and holder of the Southern record in both the 220-yard swim and the 50-yard swim.
Tech’s first swim meet was on the road against the Clemson Tigers. In addition to Fraser, the first Tech team included Weiss, Scott, Carson, Evans and Owens, who returned with a 50 to 19 victory. Fraser swam the 220 yards in 2:50.00, cutting four seconds off his own Southern record.
The program enjoyed success against southern competition throughout the 1920’s. In 1927, Tech defeated all southern opposition and made a good showing against two strong eastern teams. The Jackets broke into prominence by forcing the famous Brooklyn Y team to the limit, but fell 46 to 16. Two days later, Yale handed the Jackets the short end of a 46 to 16 score.
The Yellow Jacket tankmen, despite the lack of an on-campus facility, won 10 straight unofficial Southern championships from 1926-35.
In 1927, Dave Young tied the national intercollegiate record in the 150-yard back stroke in 1:43.20. Representing Tech in the national intercollegiate, Dave set a new record of 1:46.10 seconds and in the finals established a new record of 1:44.00, finishing four seconds ahead of Spindle of Michigan to win Tech’s only national championship in swimming. He also earned all-America honors with a second-place finish in the 220-yard free style.
Fred Lanoue (1936-64)
The first known coach of the Yellow Jacket swim program was Raymond Eaton in 1930-31. Kenneth Thrash guided the program for four seasons from 1933-35, giving way to Professor Hartzell in 1936.
Fred Lanoue, a graduate of Springfield College and former New England diving champion, began working with the Tech swimmers in 1936 and became the Yellow Jackets full-time head coach in 1938 when the Tech pool was completed.
Under Lanoue’s guidance, Tech won four Southeastern Conference championships in nine years, the first in 1942 and then three in row in 1948, 1949 and 1950. Lanoue coached the Jackets for 27 years, stepping down after 1964.
Herb McAuley (1965-87)
The star of the 1942 SEC championship squad was Herb McAuley, who won the SEC 220 and 440 freestyle championships that year. McAuley had his schooling interrupted by World War II, serving in the Army Signal Corps before graduating from Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1947. Upon graduation he joined the Yellow Jacket staff as assistant coach under Lanoue, a position he held for 17 years.
McAuley succeeded Lanoue as head coach for the 1965 season. He coached the Jackets for 23 seasons, compiling a record of 169-144-1. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1982. Under McAuley, Tech competed in its first ACC Championships meet in 1980. The program took a one-year hiatus upon McAuleys retirement in 1987, which signalled the end of a 40-year stint on the Tech coaching staff.
Brad Lehman (1989-91)
The swimming program resumed under Brad Lehman in 1988-89. In Lehman’s first year, senior Tim Halligan earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors following his second place finish in the 200 butterfly. Halligan qualified for the NCAA Championships in the event, finishing 21st.
Lehman coached the team for three seasons, amassing an overall record of 19-13.
Bill Humber (1992-97)
Bill Humber took over the Tech program in 1991-92. In 1993, he guided the Jackets to their best showing ever at the ACC Championships with a sixth place finish and a school-record point total of 198.
In 1994, diver Brandon Lumm won the first ACC championship in the program’s history with his victory in the three-meter event. He earned all-ACC recognition that year and qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships three straight years from 1994-96.
Seth Baron (1997-present)
In August 1997, Tech hired Seth Baron to take the helm of the men’s swimming and diving program. Baron, formerly an assistant coach at South Carolina and Auburn, also previously worked with the U.S. National Swim Team and was the head coach for the U.S. squad at the 1997 World Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Baron also competed for the U.S. National Team, winning 10 gold medals in international competitions, including the 1985 World Maccabiah Games and the 1983 Pan Am Maccabiah Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1984 and qualified for the 1988 Trials.
Last year, Baron led Tech to a 6-7 dual meet record and a 1-1 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference action. The Yellow Jackets claimed their first-ever ACC dual-meet win, which was a 149-82 decision against Duke.
Tech posted its second-highest number of points in the ACC Championship when it scored 192.5 to finish seventh in the competition. The Jackets had their first two NCAA B-standard qualifiers as David Laitala and Theral Mackey both achieved the marks, but neither advanced to the NCAA Championship. During the ACC Championship, Tech set nine individual and five relay school records.
In his first season at Tech, he guided the team to a 4-7 dual-meet record and a seventh place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.