About The Program
- 58 Olympians
- Six Olympic Gold Medals
- 19 Individual National Collegiate Titles
- 22 National Top-10 Team Finishes
- Over 200 All-Americans
- 16 SEC Coach of the Year Honors
- 20 SEC Athlete of the Year Honors
Former UA swimmer and assistant coach Dennis Pursley became
the head coach of the Alabama Swimming and Diving program in the spring of 2012,
returning to the Capstone to lead one of the nation's most storied programs.
The Alabama Crimson Tide's history of excellence continues
with Crimson Tide swimmers and divers earning more than a 150 All-American
honors since 2000. The Tide has also won five individual NCAA titles since 2002,
with Vlad Polyakov claiming the most recent title when he won his second NCAA
200 breaststroke title in 2007. Polyakov won his first NCAA title in 2005. In
2004, Lane Bassham won Alabama's first women's national diving title, taking
first off the three-meter board at the NCAA Championships. She also took second
off the one-meter board and was named NCAA Diver of Meet. That same year Pat
Greenwell was named NCAA Diving Coach of the Meet as well as being named SEC
Coach of the Year for the fifth time. Before Polyakov and Bassham, Stefan
Gherghel won back-to-back 200 butterfly titles in 2002 and 2003.
Alabama's mentors have long been recognized as being among
the nation's finest, including the legendary Don Gambril, who coached five U.S.
Olympic teams, including a stint as head coach of the 1984 squad, as well as
taking Alabama to a 270-49 combined career mark.
Current head coach Dennis Pursley returned to the deck of
the Alabama Aquatic Center after stops as the national team director for USA
Swimming, the head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport and head coach of
British Swimming through the 2012 London Olympics.
Following Gambril's retirement from collegiate coaching
after the 1990 season he handed the torch to his first NCAA Champion, Jonty
Skinner. Skinner carved out his own mark, coaching both the men and the women
back into the nation's top-10 and earning Southeastern Conference Coach of the
Year honors in 1994. After that season, Skinner was tapped by United States
Swimming to direct the U.S. Resident National Team, a program that prepared the
nation's top athletes for Olympic competition. Chuck Horton and Don Wagner both
served four-year stints with the Tide with Ed Reed serving as the interim coach
in between the two for the 1999 season. Eric McIlquham coached the Tide for nine
season through the end of 2012.
Diving has always been a point of pride for the Crimson
Tide, which has seen its athletes win SEC Diver of the Year honors 11 times
since 1981. The Tide's diving coaches, starting with Bob Webster in 1981, have
earned SEC Diving Coach of the Year honors 10 times. Alabama's current diving
mentor, Pat Greenwell, has earned the honor six times since 1990.
Alabama's swimming and diving program began with the
1959-60 season when the men’s team came into being under the late John Foster.
Since that first season, the Crimson Tide men's program has put together an
impressive run that includes over 350 dual meet wins and along with a pair of
SEC team titles, both of which came under Gambril's tutelage. Alabama has
finished in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships a dozen times including a
program high second place finish in 1977. Individually, the Tide men have
produced nine NCAA Champions with Gherghel and Polyakov joining a long line of
Alabama's women came together as a team for the 1974-75
season under the tutelage of Gary Illman. Alabama's women have since put
together over 200 dual meet wins over the past 30-plus years. In 1985, under
Gambril's direction, Alabama's women won the Southeastern Conference title. The
Tide has posted nine top-10 national finishes and earned seven individual
national titles with Bassham earning the latest title.