Tom Stebbins enters his 17th season as the head coach of the UCLA women's diving team in 2014-2015, a program that has had much success since his tenure in Westwood began. Before coming to UCLA, Stebbins served as head coach at Fordham University, where he coached two-time senior national qualifier Paul Delo, who won two Atlantic 10 titles each on the 1-meter and 3-meter. Stebbins also helped coach Delo to an undefeated record in the 1996-97 season.
Coach Stebbins' Background
Stebbins was a four-year letterwinner at Yale University, a three-time NCAA Zone qualifier and a four-time All-Ivy League selection. While diving at Yale, he helped lead his team to the 1993 Ivy League co-title. In 1996, he won the Heaton High Point Award and was named the recipient of the Phil Moriarty MVP Prize. Stebbins graduated from Yale in 1996 with a degree in psychology. A native of Connecticut, he now resides in Playa del Rey with his wife Erika, daughter Reilly and son Owen.
The Stebbins Philosophy
"Luck sits squarely at the intersection of hard work and opportunity."
Coach Stebbins believes that each person is in total control of creating her own luck. The UCLA Diving program stresses the need for the individual to be accountable to herself, her teammates, her sport, and her studies. With all of the wonderful opportunities presented to student athletes at UCLA, it is important that each person know that she is responsible for the decisions and directions that she chooses. This is the beginning of a lifelong process in which the student-athlete learns how to maximize herself academically, athletically, and socially. While the coaching staff hopes to steer this direction, it is the student-athlete herself that will determine how quickly she will achieve her goals.
Coach Stebbins believes, "We are all very fortunate to be part of the greatest athletic program in the country. How we choose to give back to that tradition should go well beyond the few moments each individual will spend competing in the Bruin Blue. Becoming a Bruin is just the beginning of a lifelong commitment to creating excellence in every facet of your life. As coaches, we are all here to enhance the early stages of that process, through our passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for the people whose lives we have the opportunity to touch."
On the Record
In his first season at UCLA, Stebbins guided Anne Baghramian to the 1999 NCAA Championships and a third-place showing on the 1-meter at the NCAA Zone E Diving Championships. That summer, he helped Baghramian to a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Senior Zone D meet, which qualified her for her first U.S. Senior Nationals on 3-meter. His first recruiting class included two Senior Nationals qualifiers: Regan Gosnell and Heidi Prosser.
Coach Stebbins' sophomore campaign was just as successful as his freshman season. He guided Gosnell to her third and fourth consecutive Senior National meets and her first Senior National semifinal. Just as in his first year, he recruited an exceptional group of divers, including a Junior Nationals finalist and a Senior Nationals qualifier.
In his third season at UCLA, Stebbins helped coach the Bruins to the 2001 Team Pac-10 Championship. He guided Baghramian to the NCAA Championships and a fourth-place finish on 3-meter at the NCAA Zone E meet. Stebbins also coached Gosnell and Prosser to the Senior National meet in the summer of 2001, where Gosnell finished in 12th place on the 10-meter Platform.
In 2002, Stebbins' fourth season, for the first time during his tenure at UCLA, all of Stebbins' divers qualified for the NCAA Zone Championships. At Zones, Prosser qualified for the NCAA Championships, where she placed 21st on the 3-meter springboard.
Stebbins' fifth season at the Bruins' helm in '03 was very successful. For the second consecutive year, all of his divers qualified for the NCAA Zone Championships. Gosnell placed fourth on the 1-meter, fifth on 3-meter and seventh on Platform, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in all three events. At the NCAA's, Gosnell became Stebbins' first All-American diver, earning recognition on Platform (eighth) and 3-meter (15th).
Three of Stebbins' divers found success at the 2003 Summer Nationals. Gosnell placed seventh on the Platform. Janine Strack competed on Platform, where she placed 28th. Paige Thompson, diving in her first Senior Nationals, advanced to the semifinals of the 3-meter, placing 16th, and the quarterfinals of the 1-meter, where she took 15th.
During the 2004 season, Stebbins coached Thompson to an automatic berth at the NCAA Championships, where she finished 31st (3-meter) and 33rd (1-meter). Each of his divers finished in the Top 16 at the Pac-10 Championships, helping the Bruins to a second-place conference finish.
In the summer of 2004, Stebbins coached Thompson to a sixth-place finish on 3-meter and a seventh-place finish on 1-meter at the U.S. Senior National Championships, earning her a spot on the Senior National Diving Team. He also coached Strack and Amanda Blong to a sixth-place finish on the synchronized 3-meter springboard at the Senior National Championships.
Also during the summer of '04, Stebbins led Gosnell to a 15th-place finish in the women's 10-meter Platform event at the United States Diving Olympic Trials in St. Louis. Gosnell was the first female diver ever to represent UCLA at the Olympic Trials.
The 2004-05 season was another impressive year for the diving squad, as four divers qualified for the NCAA Zone E Championships and Brittany Renfrow was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year.
The Bruin divers had five Top-10 finishes at the Zone meet, highlighted by Thompson's seventh-place finish on the 1-meter (520.55) and Blong's ninth-place finish on the 3-meter (456.75). At Pac-10's, the divers posted six more Top 10 performances: Blong (4th, 1M); Thompson (8th, 1M and 9th, 3M); Renfrow (8th, 3M); and Strack (9th, Platform and 10th, 1M).
In the Spring of 2005, Renfrow showcased her enormous potential, placing 11th on the 3-meter at the U.S. Open Championship in her first senior final as a Bruin. At the Senior National Championships, Renfrow placed sixth on the three-meter while Blong, co-captain in 2005-06, finished 13th and Thompson was 17th.
Stebbins and the Bruin divers had another successful year in the 05-06 season highlighted by Marisa Samaniego's inclusion in the NCAA Championships. Samaniego earned Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year award (the second consecutive season a Bruin diver earned the honor) after an impressive first campaign at UCLA. Sara Clark and Tess Schofield were also named alternates for the NCAA Championships after a strong showing at the NCAA Zone E Championships. The group's victory at the Pac-10 Diving Championships was the second in the program's history (2001), helping swimming finish second in the overall championship and capping a very exciting NCAA season.
The hot streak continued in the spring and summer as Schofield placed 7th in the Platform event at the U.S. Open Championships in April. In August 2006, the Bruins were represented in four out of five events at the Senior National Championships. Blong and Clark finishing third in the 3-Meter Synchronized Springboard event highlighted the meet for the Bruins. Blong also finished 10th on 1-Meter, Schofield finished 15th on Platform and Samaniego finished 17th on 1-Meter and 24th on 3-Meter to help the Bruins to a ninth-place team finish at the meet.
In 2006-2007, the Bruin divers thrived with incredible success as Samaniego earned All-American honors on 1-meter (sixth) and Schofield notched Honorable Mention All-American accolades with her 13th-place finish on Platform. Clark (13th on 3M) and Blong rounded out the group of four athletes who represented UCLA at the NCAA Championships. This was quite a feat for UCLA and put on display the depth and talent of this squad. The Bruins went 2-3-4 on 1-Meter and 2-3-4-6 on 3M at the Zone meet. Schofield was the NCAA Zone E Platform champion, as well as the Pac-10 winner and was the Pac-10 Diver of the Month in December.
During the summer of 2007, the divers were on point again, as Schofield won the Senior Zone D Platform title and was 15th at U.S. Nationals. Samaniego won the Senior Zone 1-Meter crown and finished seventh at U.S. Nationals.
During the 2007-2008 season, the Bruin divers continued their success, as Samaniego led the way, advancing to the NCAA Championships on 1M and 3M. She was the NCAA Zone E Champion on 3-Meter and tallied seven dual meet wins during the year. Schofield won every invitational Platform competition she was entered in and the Bruins saw much success and improvement from Brittany Hill, Shannon Pirozzi, Laura Winn and Morgan Erpenbeck.
The 2008-2009 campaign was another great year for the diving squad, as Samaniego and Schofield competed at NCAA's, earning All-America Honorable Mention accolades. Winn had a huge year, narrowly missing the Pac-10 title on Platform with a runner-up finish. Samaniego won the Pac-10 1-meter crown, was the NCAA Zone E champion on 3-meter and tallied seven dual meet wins during the year. Schofield won every invitational Platform event in which she entered and was the NCAA Zone E Champion in the event.
The 2009-2010 season saw a small squad of four divers represent the Bruins. Winn and Karina Silva led the way as all four competed at the NCAA Zone E Championships. Silva set a new school record on Platform during the prelims at Pac-10's and ended up finishing second overall, while both her and Winn were finalists on Platform at the Zone meet. The summer of 2010 saw Silva earn a bronze medal on 1M and a gold medal on Platform in her Spanish National Championships, qualifying her to the European Championships. Winn qualified to her second Senior National Championship on Platform, where she finished 22nd overall and Michelle Vale made her debut at the Senior meet in the 3M synchro and 3M springboard events.
During the 2010-2011 season, Winn finished third on Platform at the Pac-10 Championships and competed at the NCAA Zone E Championships. Winn also competed at her first Senior National Meet and qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials on Platform. Paulina Guzman had a solid first year with the Bruins as she also competed at Zones. Guzman also represented Guatemala at the Canada Cup meet in May of 2011.
The 2011-2012 season was keyed by Emma Ivory-Ganja, who was named Pac-12 Conference Newcomer of the Year for diving after a very successful freshman campaign which saw her finish third on both 3M and Platform at the conference meet. Ivory-Ganja also set a new meet record on 3M at the Pac-12 Championships and narrowly miss a spot at the NCAA Championships after placing fourth on Platform at the Zone E meet. Ivory-Ganja and 2011 graduate Winn also competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
In 2012-2013, the UCLA diving team sent its first Bruin to the NCAA Championships since 2009 when Ivory-Ganja qualified by virtue of her fourth-place finish in the 3-Meter at the NCAA Zone E Championships. At NCAA's, Ivory-Ganja won the B Final of the 3-Meter event and was also seventh in the Platform, to earn her First Team All-America status, and 29th in the 1-Meter. Ivory-Ganja, the only diver to post three Top 5 finishes at last year's NCAA Zones (fourth in Platform, fifth in 1M), was one of three Bruins to participate in the event. Vale's best showing was 21st in the 3-Meter, while Guzman's top performance was 24th in the 3M. Montana Monahan qualified for the Senior Nationals, finishing 21st in the Platform event.
Last season, three Bruins qualified for the NCAA Zones in Guzman, Monahan and freshman Annika Lenz. Lenz was fourth in the Platform event, ninth in the 3-Meter and 14th in the 1-Meter at Zones, setting a personal best (329.80) in the 3-M at the Pac-12 Championships. Lenz won four dual meet events and was named Pac-12 Diver of the Month for November. Monahan was 15th in the Platform at NCAA Zones, while Guzman was 16th in the 1-Meter.
In the summer of 2014, Lenz won a silver medal in the Platform at the AT&T USA Diving National Championships with a personal-best and National Meet-best score of 312.60. She was the seventh-highest women's point scorer, also competing in the 1-Meter (15th), 3-Meter (22nd) and Synchronized 3-Meter (4th). Incoming freshman Maria Polyakova won a pair of silver medals at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in September in the 1-M and 3-M, also placing third in the Synchro 3-M.