UCLA’s Naya Higashijima has a new title this season, as she’s been promoted to associate head coach of the Bruins. While this is her first season as an associate head coach, Higashijima has been with the program since she first joined the staff as an assistant swim coach in 2012.
Prior to coaching for the Bruins, Higashijima was an undergraduate assistant at Oregon State, where she also competed collegiately, coaching the team from 2004-05. She then spent 6 seasons coaching at UC-Santa Barbara before heading to UCLA.
As a swimmer, Higashijima was one of the most decorated athletes in the history of the Oregon State program. She placed in the top 10 at NCAAs in both her junior and senior seasons, earning All-American status with her 8th place finish in the 200 fly in 2003.
During her first season as associate head coach, the Bruins will face 6 of their Pac-12 rivals in dual meet competition. In half of those meets, they’ll be taking on teams who were ranked in the top 10 at last season’s NCAA meet, including Cal, USC, and Stanford.
The Bruins will have their first away meet of the season next month, as they travel to Dallas for the SMU Classic from October 14th-15th.