Chelsea Bailey - Swimming - Vanderbilt University Athletics

Chelsea Bailey

Assistant Coach • Recruiting Coordinator

Chelsea Bailey is in her fifth season assistant swimming coaching at Vanderbilt in 2023-24.

Since coming to Vandy, in her role as recruiting coordinator Bailey has helped bring in 13 current student-athletes who have recorded 35 times that rank among the top 10 on the Commodores’ all-time performer list highlighted by four individuals—Faith Knelson, Ellie Taliaferro, Mercedes Traba and Kailia Utley—combining to set 10 school and freshman records. In all, Dore swimmers have posted the fastest time in program history in seven different events with 31 individuals making the school’s all-time performer list on 74 occasions her first four seasons on the staff.

Her efforts have also aided the program in earning 16 dual-meet victories during that span after Vandy finished with 5-4-1 and 5-2 records the last two seasons.

In 2022-23, 14 members of the team posted a career-best mark in at least one race at the SEC Championships highlighted by school-record performances from Knelson (100 breaststroke, Taliaferro (200 freestyle), Traba (500 freestyle) and Utley (200 butterfly). Six individuals-—equaling Vandy’s highest total since 2018—would go on to race in 17 events at the CSCAA National Independent Championship, with Knelson posting the fastest time in program history in both the 50 breaststroke and 100 individual medley. And, Bailey’s efforts helped the Dores have 27 of 29 members of the roster receive academic recognition from the SEC at the end of the season.

With her help, 12 Commodores finished with personal-best times in a minimum of one event at the SEC Championships during the 2021-22 campaign with another four individuals recording a career-low mark during the regular season as well. That included Utley setting a new school and freshman standard in the 200-yard butterfly and Traba recording a program freshman record in the 400-yard individual medley.

Bailey helped Vandy navigate the pandemic while still excelling and improving in the pool with numerous personal bests throughout a shortened 2020-21 campaign, while in her first season with the program she helped lead the Dores to six dual-meet victories as well as a third-place result at the mid-season TYR ’85 Invite before student-athletes posted 14 career-best times and a new school record in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2020 SEC Championships.

And, 21 individuals have made the SEC Academic Honor Roll 43 times with 12 members of the program named to the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll during her tenure with the program.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Bailey has always had a passion for the water. During her 14 years of competitive swimming, she qualified multiple times for World Trials, NCAA Championships and national championships, and competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Bailey attended, graduated, and swam for San Diego State, earning a bachelor’s degree in social science with an emphasis in psychology in 2015. While there, not only did she earn All-American honors each of her final two seasons in the 200 free relay but she competed in eight different events at the 2014 and ’15 NCAA Championships. A 15-time All-Mountain West Conference selection during her collegiate career, Bailey served as team captain for the Aztecs two years, was recognized as a scholar-athlete after earning dean’s list recognition, and participated as an active member of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Upon completion of the Olympic Trials became an assistant coach at Seattle University, where she guided the sprint group to a successful 2018-19 season before coming to Vanderbilt. Bailey received her master’s degree n secondary education with an emphasis in psychology from Grand Canyon in 2019.