Dean Hutchinson, former All-American at Auburn and Olympic trial swimmer, was recently profiled in Moorestown Life. Hutchinson, a physical therapist at Progress Physical Therapy and Swimming Coach at Jersey Wahoos, has used an Endless Pool for both of his passions, providing aquatic therapy and exercise as well as stroke training and analysis.
Below is the article covering the decorated swimmer's journey from talented swimmer, through hardship, and ultimately to his therapy and coaching business.
“Ready – GO!”...An all too familiar sound in our home. Is he trying to hurry up the kids who are perpetually late? Where are we going? Well, it’s an answer to neither. In fact, it’s just part of the daily mantra of Dean Hutchinson, a Moorestown resident, former local, national, and international stand-out swimmer, and current specialist in swim strokes and mechanics. It’s been nearly 14 years since Dean’s last race in the pool, but his desire to train and perfect a swimmer’s stroke remains strong. Simply put – swimming is what Dean knows.
To say that Dean has had a successful swimming career would be like saying McDonald’s has sold a few hamburgers. His love for the sport began at the early age of five, swimming for Riverdel Swim Club. Growing up, Dean was a fixture at Jersey Wahoos and also swam for the Delran High School swim team, capturing a state championship title in 1990. His journey continued at his beloved Auburn University, where he achieved NCAA All-American status seven times and earned a spot at Olympic Trials in 1992, 1996, and 2000. During his time at Auburn, Dean was coached by some of the swimming world’s best – Mike Bottom, current head coach for the University of Michigan, former Olympian, and Olympic coach, and David Marsh, current head coach of Swim MAC and Olympic coach, to name a few. Dean has also earned the respect of his peers, garnering a spot in Auburn University’s Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame, as well as Delran High School’s Hall of Fame.
Nothing, however, came easy. In June 1993, Dean faced a possible career-ending injury when he lost the upper left lobe of his lung to an inflammatory pseudotumor. Combined with his life- long struggle with asthma, the loss of half his lung would make for a difficult recovery, let alone a comeback. With the support of family, coaches and friends, Dean defied the odds and came back stronger, and faster than ever.
After his competitive career was over, Dean still had a strong desire to stay connected to the swimming world. Upon graduating from Allegheny University with a master’s degree in physical therapy, Dean accepted a job with Dynamic Physical Therapy, owned and operated by fellow Moorestown resident Danny Bianco. Still, Dean made it his mission to stay in close connection with the swimming world. In his spare time, he was assistant coach for Rider University for eight years, head coach for Pennsbury Aquatics for two years, and currently, assistant coach for Jersey Wahoos. Dean has also been asked to coach the Dutch Olympic Team, training Dutch Olympic gold medalists Inge de Bruijn and Pieter van den Hoogenband. Dean has taught several clinics in the tri-state area, including repeat appearances at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
As a physical therapist, Dean realized that he had an advantage when it came to athletes, their bodies, and how to allow for them to work and train at their highest level possible. “In having the opportunity to analyze swimmers for years, as well as having been one myself, I definitely see a need to help them maximize their potential while minimizing the risk for injury.” With this in mind, Dean saw a chance to help not only his patients, but swimmers and athletes everywhere with the addition of an Endless Pool at the Northeast Philadelphia location of Progress Physical Therapy. Through the guidance of his life-long friend, Joe Willard, also a Moorestown resident and representative for Endless Pools, Bianco made it happen.
Dean believes that an Endless Pool is an excellent rehabilitation tool for resistance training for patients because it comes equipped with an adjustable current that can be set to the patient’s specific needs and abilities. Even more, Dean saw this pool as an opportunity to fine tune our area’s finest swimmers’ strokes and techniques. “For athletes, I can use the pool in a one-on-one setting, study stroke mechanics using video analysis, and help correct inefficiencies that maybe hurting or hindering the swimmer.”
Dean currently offers private lessons in the Endless Pool at his physical therapy clinic to swimmers interested in improving their performance. He is also treating several swimmers for injuries and aches that are primarily caused by poor stroke technique. Parents that have taken advantage of being coached by one of the best are pleased with the results. “Teaching private swimming lessons demands patience, a strong knowledge of stroke mechanics, follow through, and a true love to watch kids grow and make the sport the best it can be,” states Moorestown resident and swim parent, Stephanie Fong, whose three children take lessons with Dean. “South Jersey is blessed to have Dean Hutchinson who encompasses all of these traits.”