Sandy & Keith
Husband and wife team, Dr. Keith Bell and Sandy Neilson-Bell each bring a wealth of coaching experience to the pool deck. Both Sandy and Keith have coached Masters, College (Keith at the University of Texas, Sandy at University of Southern California) high school, age group, and summer league teams. Together, Sandy and Keith have founded and coached 6 Austin area Masters swimming teams, winning 5 Masters National Championship Team titles (coaching the only Texas Masters teams to win any National Championship).
Keith, an internationally known sports psychologist and author, has been named U.S. Masters Coach of the Year. Sandy has been named South Texas Coach of the Year.
Among the greatest swimmers ever, Sandy won 3 gold medals in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Sandy has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame, the Helms Hall of Fame, the El Monte School Hall of Fame, and the UC Santa Barbara Gaucho Hall of Fame. Placing 5th at the 1988 Olympic Trials at age 32, Sandy just missed making the Olympic Team by a few inches, with a time that would have finaled at the Seoul Olympics.
While accruing more than 100 Masters National & World titles, Sandy, from age 28 to 40 was the first woman to compete on the National & International elite level in three different decades, usually competing against girls half her age.
USA Swimming has named their prestigious comeback swimmer of the meet (National Championships) the "Sandy Neilson-Bell Comeback Swimmer of the Year" award in her honor.
Keith, an All-America swimmer at Kenyon College, has won scores of Masters National Championships and set more than 50 National and World Masters swimming records. At age 47, Keith became the oldest swimmer ever to win a medal in a USA Swimming National Championship.
Keith is the only male ever to win 11 gold medals in a single masters national championship meet. Sandy is the only women to have done so. In 1998, Keith and Sandy combined for 22 gold medals (11 each) at the USMS Long Course National Swimming Championship in what may have been the largest gold medal haul by a married couple in any national championships in any sport at any level.
Cary, began his swimming career at age 6 in Eureka, California. Progressing through age-group swimming and qualifying for the prestigious age-group Far Westerns Championship meet at age 12 in breaststroke, Cary successfully swam his way onto the UC Santa Cruz team where he competed for 2 years. As a Banana Slug, he set, and still holds, the men’s school breaststroke record.
During the summertime Cary worked as a swimming camp coach until he was lured by a friend from Austin to form a bluegrass band. Backpack and drum set tossed in the back of his truck, Cary hit the road for a number of years. During that time he played gigs, coached summer club in Houston, and put quite a few miles in on the road.
In 2007, and a very long drive later, Cary became an Austinite. Excited to swim regularly with a team, Cary jumped in with TeamTexas Masters. In the pool, you will find him in the fast lane.
On the deck you will find Cary coaching M & W at noontime TeamTexas practices. Otherwise on land, Cary might be studying aviation science and business at Texas A&M University - Central Texas or flight training at the Austin Academy of Aviation. Look up into the clear blue sky one day and you might see Cary tipping a wing.
Around the pool so much in his early days, Cooper learned to swim initially by watching & imitating others as they worked and played swimming. He has taken advantage of a few swimming and coaching hints from his parents, Keith & Sandy.
A UIL Regional finalist, swimming for Westlake High School, Cooper went on to swim varsity at Southwestern University. Currently a junior at Texas State University, he is studying math.
Cooper began teaching and coaching swimming at age 16. He has worked with TeamTexas Masters for over five years and with the Westover Wild Orcas summer club, ages 5-18, for six years. You will find him coaching TeamTexas Masters here and there. He offers private swim sessions and coaching sessions as well.
When off deck Cooper enjoys hanging out, hiking the greenbelt, and a good game of ultimate frisbee or disc golf. A talented bagpiper, highland pipes and small pipes, and digeredoo player, Cooper also enjoys the guitar and banjo.