Betsy Mitchell

Meet Betsy Mitchell

Betsy Mitchell is an American Olympic swimmer who is engaged in a professional career as an educational leader and collegiate athletic director. She has served as a successful collegiate swimming coach, high school and collegiate athletic director, consultant, speaker and is a service-oriented educational leader serving in volunteer and civic service roles.


At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Betsy won a silver medal in the women’s 100-meter backstroke. She also earned a gold medal by swimming the backstroke leg for the winning U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay. Betsy again competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, where she received a silver medal for swimming the backstroke leg for the second-place U.S. team in the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay in the preliminary heats. She placed fourth in the individual event.


While Olympic success would define many athletic careers, Betsy readily shares that her fondest memories of her swimming career were as an age-group swimmer and as a collegiate swimmer. She and her University of Texas teammates won four NCAA national championships in a row from 1985-88. While a college student, Betsy set and held the World Record in the 200m backstroke for five years and the American record for 19 years. At the conclusion of her swimming career, Betsy served as the Women’s Swimming coach at Dartmouth College, where she took up the sport of rowing for fun and to stay in shape — two years later, she represented the United States at the World Championships of Rowing in the women’s double scull. These days her athletic pursuits are confined to hiking, biking, gardening, pickleball, paddleboarding and golf. 


Since that time, Betsy has been a passionate advocate for the developmental benefit of youth and college sports, women in leadership and is leading the conversation about the state of college sports in the United States, which, she advocates, is in desperate need of a rebranding and reframing of the role athletics play on college and university campuses. She has twice been a high school athletic director — Laurel School for Girls in Shaker Heights, Ohio and Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio — as well as now on her second collegiate directorship after becoming the AD at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.


Betsy is currently the Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation – the first woman to hold that position – at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in Pasadena, California. While not at work, you can find her walking her yellow lab Bella, cultivating her garden or adventuring around the world.


Professional Resume

2011-Present (Caltech)

Now in her twelfth year as Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, Betsy has led the dynamic growth of the Caltech athletic program.

2005-2011 (Allegheny College)

Director of Athletics and Recreation at Allegheny College, in Meadville, Pennsylvania.


More Than Medals vertical book cover
"More Than Medals" coming May 30, 2024!


Betsy swimming

Book Signing Events

More information about signing events.... Read More

“More Than Medals” Out NOW!

Betsy Mitchell, two-time Olympian, gold medalist, world champion and record holder, provides details about her youth and her rise to greatness in the sport of swimming. During her journey competing in amateur sports, she learned many... Read More

Betsy Mitchell, One of USA’s Most Decorated Swimmers, to Discuss New Book “More Than Medals”

Betsy Mitchell, a two-time Olympic swimmer, former world record holder, seven-time NCAA champion and Caltech Athletics Director, will discuss her newly published book “More Than Medals: Lessons from an Olympian” on Wednesday, July 31... Read More