Coughlin, Quick, Mitchell Head Pac-12 Women’s All-Century Team

Celebrating its 100th season, the Pac-12 Conference has been naming its All-Century teams in each sport. Today, it announced the women’s swimming & diving All-Century team, led by coach Richard Quick and California star Natalie Coughlin.

Quick was a legendary coach at Stanford for two decades, winning seven NCAA titles and training 35 national champs. He as named Pac-12 women’s Coach of the Century.

Coughlin, meanwhile, was a dominant swimming force for Cal. Swimming just three full seasons in the early-2000s, Coughlin won 12 NCAA titles, including three consecutive titles in the 100 fly, 100 back and 200 back. Her American an NCAA records were so ahead of their time, they weren’t challenged until more than a decade later. Her 100 back records still stand in 2016.

She would go on to a stellar Olympic career, and is a front-runner for yet another Olympic berth this year at age 33.

Arizona diver Michele Mitchell was named Diver of the Century after becoming the most decorated diver in school history back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

USC leads with 10 of the 32 selections, though Stanford and USC are tied for the most swimmers with 7 apiece. The breakdown by team:

  1. USC – 10 (7 swimers, 3 divers)
  2. Stanford – 8 (7 swimmers, 1 diver)
  3. Arizona – 5 (3 swimmers, 2 divers)
  4. California – 4 (4 swimmers)
  5. UCLA – 3 (3 swimmers)
  6. Arizona State – 2 (2 swimmers)

The men’s All-Century team is here.

The full Pac-12 press release:

SAN FRANCISCO (February 16, 2016) – On this week’s edition of ‘Pac-12 Sports Report’, hosts Mike Yam and Ashley Adamson announced the Women’s Swimming and Diving All-Century team–a group of 26 swimmers, six divers and one coach.

This team of Olympians and national champions was selected by a panel of 25 coaches, swimmers, administrators and media members. The top four vote-getters in each of the six disciplines; two additional “wild card” swimmers qualified via a second vote of the remaining fifth, sixth and seventh place finishers. To determine the All-Century divers, the top two divers in each of the three disciplines were selected.

To ensure that the team truly encapsulated the past century of Pac-12 women’s swimming and diving, 10 Pre-Title IX nominees were included on the ballot. These standout swimmers and divers attended Pac-12 universities but did not compete collegiately due to the lack of opportunities for women in intercollegiate athletics at the time.
All 26 All-Century swimmers competed in at least one Olympiad, and collectively, they have won 101 Olympic medals. Jenny Thompson and Natalie Coughlin are the most decorated with 12 Olympic medals each, which ties Dara Torres for most Olympic medals won by an American female. In addition, this group represents 110 NCAA individual titles (95 swimming, 15 diving).
During his twenty years at Stanford, coach Richard Quick led the Cardinal to seven NCAA titles and developed 35 NCAA champions. One of greatest coaches in the history of the sport, Quick won five NCAA Coach of the Year honors and three Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards, earning him the title of Pac-12 Coach of the Century. In addition to his accomplishments at the collegiate level, he led the United States Olympic team during six Olympic games.

California’s Natalie Coughlin, one of the most decorated Olympians, is the Pac-12 swimmer of the Century.  The owner of 11 individual NCAA titles, Coughlin was the NCAA Swimmer of the Year for all three of her years at Cal. She was inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.

The Pac-12 diver of the century is Michele Mitchell, a four-time All-American from the University of Arizona. In addition to being the most decorated diver in Arizona history, Mitchell served as the diving coach at the University and is now the director of operations for the swimming and diving programs.

See below for the entire team:

Jenny Thompson, Stanford (1991-1995) – Freestyle sprints

Cynthia “Sippy” Woodhead, USC (1984-1987) – Freestyle sprints

Amy Van Dyken, Arizona (1991-1992) – Freestyle sprints

Jenna Johnson, Stanford (1985-1989) – Freestyle sprints

Janet Evans, Stanford (1989-1991) – Freestyle distance

Debbie Meyer, UCLA – Freestyle distance

Lindsay Benko-Mitenko, USC (1996-1999) – Freestyle distance

Haley Anderson, USC (2010-2013) – Freestyle distance

Natalie Coughlin, California (2001-2003) – Backstroke, Freestyle sprints

Missy Franklin, California (2013-2015) – Backstroke, Freestyle sprints

Lea Loveless-Maurer, Stanford (1991-1994) – Backstroke

Melissa Belote, Arizona State (1976-1979) – Backstroke

Rebecca Soni, USC (2006-2009) – Breaststroke

Amanda Beard, Arizona (1999-2000) – Breaststroke

Tara Kirk, Stanford (2000-2004) – Breaststroke

Agnes Kovacs, Arizona State (2001-2004) – Breaststroke

Mary T. Meagher, California (1984-1987) – Butterfly

Dana Vollmer, California (2007-2009) – Butterfly

Misty Hyman, Stanford (1997-2001) – Butterfly

Karen Moe, UCLA (1973-1975) – Butterfly

Crissy Ahmann, Arizona (1988-1991) – Butterfly

Summer Sanders, Stanford (1990-1992) – Individual medley, Butterfly

Katinka Hosszu, USC (2009-2012) – Individual medley

Kristine Quance-Julian, USC (1994-1997) – Individual medley, Breaststroke

Donna de Varona, UCLA – Individual medley

Kaitlin Sandeno, USC (2002-2004) – Individual medley

Samantha Pickens, Arizona (2011-2015) – IM Diving

Victoria Ishimatsu, USC (2009-2012) – IM Diving

Blythe Hartley, USC (2002-2006) – 3M, IM Diving

Eileen Richetelli, Stanford (1990-1995) – 3M Diving

Haley Ishimatsu, USC (2013-2015) – Platform Diving

Michele Mitchell, Arizona (1979-1982) – Platform Diving

Coach of the Century

Richard Quick, Stanford (1988-2005)

Swimmer of the Century

Natalie Coughlin, California (2001-2003)

Diver of the Century

Michele Mitchell, Arizona (1979-1982)

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Great list, but I think Julia Smit of Stanford should be on this list as well.

Hearst Pool

Great list, congrats to all. Slight quibble/clarification: shouldn’t a PAC 10/12 team be limited to swimmers who actually competed for the schools? De Verona and Meyer were terrific and there weren’t formal PAC 8 women’s teams during their primes, so they never competed for UCLA. USC definitely had a team while Sippy Woodhead was in school, but did she ever formally compete for USC? Thought she just trained there. Lots of deserving women’s swimmers competed for PAC schools, no need to pad the list. No disrespect intended to aforementioned USA swimming legends. Phelps is the undisputed GOAT, but couldn’t see a rationale for including him in a B1G or PAC list simply for training at Michigan or ASU.

Skip Thompson

You are stating two different facts in this article. First you say that Natalie Coughlin won 12 NCAA including three consecutive titles in the 100 fly, 100 back and 200 back.Then the full PAC 12 press release says 11 NCAA titles which is correct. Natalie did win 3 straight titles in the 100 fly, 100 back, and 200 Back from 2001 – 2003. She did not swim 3 years but 4 from 2001 – 2004. So she won 4 straight titles in the 100 fly, and 100 back and was 2nd in the 200 back in 2004 to Kristy Coventry so that would be 3 straight for that event and that is how the total of 11 NCAA titles is… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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