As a coach, Bachrach was called “the beloved tyrant.” He began as a swimming instructor at the Chicago Central YMCA. He coached his swimmers to pull and to push through to their hip at a time that other swimmers were using a half stroke.
He later moved to the Illinois Athletic Club (IAC). There, Bachrach coached swimming and water polo from 1912–54. His 1914–17 IAC water polo teams won the U.S. national championship for four straight years. At the IAC, he coached Jam Handy, Harry Hebner, Mike McDermott, Perry McGillivray, Norman Ross, Bob Skelton, Johnny Weissmuller (later famous in Hollywood as "Tarzan"), Arne Borg, Sybil Bauer, Ethel Lackie, and others. His swimmers won 120 National AAU Championships. He is the only coach whose swimmers and divers won every Men's National AAU championship event in one year (1914).
Bachrach was also head coach of the 1924 Olympics and 1928 Olympics U.S. men's and women's swim teams. His swimmers won 13 gold medals in Paris in 1924, and 10 gold medals in Amsterdam in 1928. He developed four swimmers who won gold medals at the 1924 Olympics: Weissmuller (100m and 200m freestyles, and 800m relay), Skelton (200m breaststroke), Lackie (100m freestyle and 400m relay), and Sybil Bauer (100m backstroke). Weissmuller also won two gold medals at the 1928 Olympics (100m freestyle and 800m relay. He also developed Norman Ross, who won gold medals in the 400m and 1,500m freestyles and 800m relay at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp.
Weismuller, after setting a number of early records early in his career, said that before one race he walked past each opponent as they lined up for the race and whispered to them: "Where you going to finish? Second, third, fourth?" Bachrach asked Weismuller what he had said, and instructed him to go back to each of the swimmers, and apologize, which he did reluctantly.
Halls of Fame
- Cecil Colwin (2002). Breakthrough swimming. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- "Bachrach 1879 – Buscar con Google". Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- "William Bachrach". Jewishsports.net. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- "Bachrach, Bill". Jewsinsports.org. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- Michael K. Bohn (2009). Heroes & ballyhoo: how the golden age of the 1920s transformed American sports. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- "Bill Bachrach(USA) – 1966 Honor Coach". ISHOF. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- Robert Pruter. "Swimming". Encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- Matt Mann, Charles Carpenter Fries (1940). Swimming fundamentals. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- Ira Berkow, Red Smith (2008). Beyond the Dream: Occasional Heroes of Sports. Retrieved August 16, 2011.