UCLA Sweeps Division I Diving CSCAA Honors

UCLA diver Maria Polyakova and UCLA diving coach Tom Stebbins were named the 2019 CSCAA Women’s Division I Diver and Diving Coach of the Year, respectively, on Saturday night in Austin.

The UCLA Bruins entered the meet with only 1 NCAA women’s event title in program history: Annette Salmeen, who won the 200 fly in 1996. Polyakova doubled that on Friday when she won the 3-meter event with a score of 396.00 points – which was a relatively-comfortable 15.50 point margin over runner-up Brooke Schultz of Arkansas.

UCLA’s divers scored all 75 of the team’s points at NCAAs, which was enough for them to finish 17th as a team at the meet. That’s a 9-place improvement from last year.

Polyakova was also the NCAA runner-up on the 1-meter, finishing behind Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon.

All-Time CSCAA Women’s Division I Diving Coach of the Award Winners:

  • 2018 Alik Sarkisian, Northwestern
  • 2017 Wenbo Chen, Minnesota
  • 2016 Jian Li You, Nevada
  • 2015 Wenbo Chen, Minnesota
  • 2014 Dan Laak, Georgia
  • 2013 Dave Parrington, Tennessee
  • 2012 Jay Lerew, Texas A&M
  • 2011 Wenbo Chen, Minnesota
  • 2010 Jane Figueiredo, Houston
  • 2009 Jane Figueiredo, Houston
  • 2008 Vince Panzano, Ohio State
  • 2007 Jeff Shaffer, Auburn
  • 2006 Hongping Li, Southern California
  • 2005 Jeff Huber, Indiana
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002 Hongping Li, Southern California

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Frequent flyer
1 year ago

Congrats to Tom & Maria! UCLA is lucky to have such a great diving program.

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  Frequent flyer
1 year ago

Tom’s success with diving only further shines light on the stupendous underperformance of UCLA swimming. How long will this waste of potential be allowed to continue?

Swim fan
Reply to  The Grand Inquisitor
1 year ago

Imagine if swimming were to be up to par with diving, could be a contender to be top 10

West Coast Swammer
Reply to  The Grand Inquisitor
1 year ago

I totally disagree. Many UCLA swimmers this year and last year swam lifetime bests, which most people know is not common. Even the top college women’s swim teams don’t on average improve, as seen by the SwimSwam magazine article about 18 months back. Next year’s recruit class is quite strong and super cohesive. The impact Claire Grover had this year was amazing, and Mara Newman hit best times in both backstrokes, and is set to score points next year. I believe the 200 free relay would have made B finals if they hadn’t been DQ’ed. I am pretty confident UCLA swimmers will score points next year, especially in relays. Yes, total score may very well go down with the two… Read more »

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  West Coast Swammer
1 year ago

Not saying that the best diving is always linked with the best swim programs. However, I am saying that athletes can be (and generally are) successful at UCLA, with an extraordinary exception being the swim athletes. My opinion is not based solely on this year’s results. My perspective is based on observations going back nearly a decade. Review SwimSwam’s annual recruiting classes going back to 2012 – you will see that UCLA’s swim recruiting classes have been ranked in the top 10 many of those years. Unfortunately, the results delivered by all that talent has consistently under-performed expectations. Only the contribution of their diving have led to team finishes anywhere near the national top 20 – this is specifically the… Read more »

West Coast Swammer
Reply to  The Grand Inquisitor
1 year ago

I’m sorry you are so disappointed with the program that you call it a “waste” with “stupendous underperformance”. Thankfully there are other teams you can cheer on. I hope the UCLA swimmers enjoy all the other benefits being a student-athlete at UCLA has to offer, or just even being a student at UCLA, given how challenging it is to be admitted to the #1 Public School in America. All of UCLA’s top recruits could have chosen other schools, but maybe not had a chance to be a leader or be on a relay at NCAA’s, which truly is an awesome experience. Though one can always hope for a better outcome year after year, there are very few unknowns when it… Read more »

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  West Coast Swammer
1 year ago

I’ve re-read your reply several times. Still not sure whether you are disagreeing with me or simply justifying mediocrity. Let me be clear: I believe that UCLA – both the broad university community and the specific athletes participating – deserve much better. But if folks who appear to care about the team are more offended by the phrasing of my observations than the measurably feeble results in the pool, then perhaps my belief that UCLA deserves better is misguided – and we can leave it at that.

Reply to  The Grand Inquisitor
1 year ago

I think what The Grand Inquistor is trying to say is that with the talent that goes to UCLA, we would expect them to perform to expectations. It isn’t okay to justify scoring 0 points year after year from the swim team. Should they be greatful for their experiences? Yes. Most definitely. But the goal is not just to be on the swim team. It is to excel at the swim team. Imagine my surprise last year when I see they tied with USC last year at their duel meet, but then severely underperform at PAC12s. Something is wrong whether it be coaching, weights, team culture, attitude….etc.

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Thanks for the comment Braden. I didn’t mean to imply that swimming never scored points in the last decade, only that diving has carried a disproportionate share of the load. By my quick count, swimming has averaged about 11 points a year at nationals over the past 5 seasons, while diving has contributed about 43 each year over the same period.

Disappointed Bruin Fan
1 year ago

I almost feel bad for these girls who come in bright eyed & bushy tailed & then they stay relatively the same with their times if they are lucky.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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