Jim Ellis (swimming coach)

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James Ellis (born 1948) is an American swim coach and subject of the feature film Pride.


Ellis graduated from Westinghouse High School of Pittsburgh Public Schools in Pennsylvania.[1] His name is on the Westinghouse High School Wall of Fame.[2]


In 1971, Ellis formed the PDR (Pride, Determination, Resilience or Philadelphia Department of Recreation) swim team which was the first African-American swim team and located at the Marcus Foster Recreation Center in Nicetown, Pennsylvania, a neighborhood in Philadelphia. As of February 2007, Ellis still coaches swimming at the Marcus Foster pool and had begun a sabbatical from teaching mathematics at Bodine High School.[3]

Ellis' protégés include Michael Norment, the first black swimmer on the U.S. national team. His program at the Marcus Foster pool has sent swimmers to the swimming trials for every U.S. Olympic team since 1992.[4]

In May 2007, Ellis received the President's Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame.[5]

Since 2010, Ellis has been the coach of the Salvation Army Kroc Aquatics (SAKA) program located in the Salvation Army's Philadelphia-based Kroc Center.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Howard, Ellis feel film carries positive wave," by Monica Haynes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 23, 2007
  2. ^ The Westinghouse High School Wall of Fame, compiled by Ervin Dyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 19, 2007
  3. ^ Pirro, J.F. "Pride vs. Prejudice", Philadelphia City Paper, 14 February 2007.
  4. ^ Greenleese, Nancy (October 27, 2009). "Philadelphia Teacher Has Been Making Poor Black Kids Into Competitive Swimmers for 35 Years". Voice of America.
  5. ^ ISHOF International Swimming Hall of Fame Presidential Honor Award
  6. ^ USASwimming.org, An Interview with Jim Ellis: Part 1, by Mike Gustafson, February 1, 2012