Our last installment of the non-revenue sport recaps will cover one of the most successful programs in the history of Miami athletics, Swimming and Diving. The Aquatics program has a total of 141 All-Americans over the past 70 years, making it also one of the school’s oldest programs. Swimming and diving, despite both taking place in a pool and being scored together in team competitions, are very different sports, so let’s take a look at each individually.
Of the 141 All-Amerians, 101 of them are from the diving side of the pool. Starting in the 1970s, the Miami diving program has been a mainstay on the national scene not only on the collegiate level but also the international level. You can usually spot a former Cane on either the Olympic or World Championship team each year, including the most recent Olympics, where Miami alum Sam Dorman won a silver medal in the synchronized springboard event. The diving team usually consists of less than 10 members, making the number of All-Americans even more impressive (the current team has 7 members). The head diving coach is Randy Ableman, who is highly regarded as one of the top American coaches. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native just completed his 29th season, and truly has a staggering resume including 23 individual national titles, and at least one All-American every season except 2010 and 2012. The 2017 season lived up to the high standards set forth by the program, as the Miami divers brought home 3 All-America Nods and 4 medals at the ACC Championships. On the men’s side, sophomore David Dinsmore and freshman Zachary Cooper both brought home All-America honors from the NCAA Championships in the platform diving event, finishing 4th and 7th respectively. The duo also finished 1st and 2nd in the same event at the ACC Championships. Dinsmore was the 2017 National Champion in the event, and his ACC title was his second consecutive. Dinsmore, Cooper and senior Briadam Herrera would go on to compete at the USA Nationals meet and the FINA World Cup in China. Herrera won a USA title in the 1 meter springboard mixed synchronized event, and Cooper won a USA title in the 10 meter platform mixed synchronized event. Dinsmore won 2 bronze medals at the FINA World cup in the 10 meter platform and the 10 meter platform team event. Cooper also finished 4th in the 10 meter platform mixed synchro.
On the women’s side, junior diver Wally Layland earned her third All-American nod of her career after finishing seventh in the 1 meter springboard event at the NCAA Championships. Junior Carolyn Chaney also competed at the NCAA Championships in the same event. At the ACC Championships, redshirt freshman Alicia Blagg and Layland finished in 1st and 2nd in the 3 meter springboard event, Blagg would go on to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Australia representing her native England, securing a silver medal in the synchronized 3 meter springboard event. As a result of his divers’ success, Randy Ableman was named the 2018 ACC Diving Coach of the Year, and Wally Layland has been nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year, a prestigious honor that will be announced on October 28th.
The Miami Swimming Program has only a women’s team, and is coached by Andy Kershaw, who just completed his 5th season in Coral Gables. Kershaw’s previous stop was Southern Methodist University, where he coached 79 All-American swimmers. The Mansfield, Ohio native also brings a wealth of international experience, having served as the head manager for the US Swimming team during the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, as well as the 2015 and 2011 World Championships.
The swimming team had a productive season which included 9 NCAA B qualifier times, 44 lifetime bests, and 5 school records. The freshman and sophomores were the driving force of the squad this season, giving a positive outlook to the program. At the ACC Championships, freshman Annie Kyriakidis set the school record in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:12.01, sophomore Manon Viguier set the school record in the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 49.06, and freshman Karolina Haikova set the Miami record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 52.85.