This descriptive cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the leadership style of swimming coaches from the state of Paraná, Brazil. The trial subjects were 33 male athletes (67.3%), 16 female athletes (32.7%), and six coaches. Data collection occurred during the final phase of the Parana 2010 Open Games. The measuring instrument used was the Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS). For data analysis we used the Shapiro Wilk test, Mann-Whitney, the Manova, and Post Hoc of Scheffe (p <0.05). The results showed that comparing between the perception and preference of athletes there were significant differences in dimension of training instruction (p = 0.001), reinforcement (p = 0.008), and democratic style (p = 0.020), male athletes have a greater preference for autocratic behavior than female athletes (p = 0.031), there was no significant difference between the dimensions: perception of athletes and self-perception of coaches. We reached the conclusion that the swimming coaches from the state of Paraná have the democratic style, using reinforcement and training-instruction as tactical and technical resources for their coaching; the champion team coach had a profile similar to what is currently preferred by athletes which, according to literature, would be the ideal one to achieve success in sports.