Erika (Hansen) Stebbins enters her fifth season with UCLA after a successful first four campaigns with the Bruins. Under Coach Stebbins' guidance, the Bruin distance squad and IM swimmers have produced top finishes throughout the years in the long distance events. Last season garnered top performances by a strong sophmore contingent of Lauren Hall, Sam Vanden Berge and Dani Milligan. Hall celebrated her second NCAA berth in the 400 IM. During the 2008-09 season several young Bruins swam huge lifetime-bests during the course of the year, while many others tallied NCAA qualifyng times. The 2007-08 season was highlighted by junior Katie Nelson's second consecutive Pac-10 title and All-American performance in the 1650-yard freestyle.
Prior to UCLA
In 2004-2005 Stebbins served as an assistant coach for the women and men's teams at the University of Maryland, where she helped coach the women to their first-ever ACC title. She also coached a first-time NCAA All-American, Elizabeth Lavell, and a first-time NCAA Championships competitor and ACC Championship High Point winner, Chrissy Miller.
From 1997 to 2003 Stebbins was an assistant coach at the University of Southern California, where she assisted in coaching many Olympians and national team members. These athletes included swimming greats, Lenny Krayzelburg, Lindsay Benko, Kaitlin Sandeno and Erik Vendt. Stebbins also was a coach at the Jordan, Jager and Evans Gold Medal Swim Clinics and served as a graduate assistant coach at the University ofFlorida from 1994-96.
2-Time Olympian and 5 Time National Champion
A member of the U. S. Olympic Team in 1988 (400 IM) and 1992 (400/800 free, 400 IM), Stebbins placed third in the consolation finals of the 400 IM in 1988 in Seoul. Four years later at the Barcelona Games, she placed fourth in the 400 freestyle, seventh in the 800 free and 10th in the 400 IM.
Stebbins was also a five-time U.S. national champion, winning individual titles in 1984 in the 200 fly and 400 IM; in 1985 in the 400 IM; in 1990 in the 400 IM; and in 1991 in the 200 fly. She still holds team records at the University of Texas in the 500-yard freestyle (4:37.70), 400-yard IM (4:10.10) and 400-meter IM (4:40.80). Her 200m IM national age group record for 13-14 year olds (2:17.09) set in 1984, lasted for 11 years, while her 400m IM mark (4:45.58), set that same year, stood for 20 years and was only recently broken by Katie Hoff.
As a collegiate swimmer, Stebbins spent her freshman year at the University of Georgia, where she won the 1650-yard freestyle (16:00.04) at the NCAA Championships and was Georgia's first NCAA Champion in women's swimming. After transferring to the University of Texas, she won another individual NCAA title - this time in the 500-yard free (4:37.73) - helping the Longhorns win two NCAA team championships. Stebbins also earned the Longhorns' Most Improved Swimmer Award, was a Barbara Jordan Scholarship Award recipient in 1992 and was named the Southwestern Conference's Most Valuable Swimmer in 1991.
Stebbins graduated from the University of Texas in 1993 with a degree in Psychology, and received her Masters degree in Sport Management from the University of Florida, where she also trained and coached.
Stebbins adds a vast reservoir of international swimming and coaching experience to the UCLA coaching corps, an addition that delights Coach Gallagher. "We are very fortunate to have Erika as a member of our UCLA coaching staff," she said.
As a successful, experienced coach as well as a two-time Olympian and NCAA champion, Stebbins' passion for winning and commitment to the sport inspires and motivates the Bruins.
"One of Erika's strengths as a coach is her ability to communicate her experiences as an elite athlete to the team. She understands the ups and downs through which athletes go in their careers. She also knows how to turn disappointments into challenges, and challenges into opportunities," said Coach Gallagher.
As a two-time Olympian and NCAA champion, Erika thinks differently than most people. She sees no limits - which is one reason why she was so successful as an athlete and has been successful as a coach and leader. Coach Gallagher sums it up: "Erika teaches the team how to think like a champion."
"Our personalities complement each other well, on and off the deck," said Coach Gallagher. "We work together as a team to help each student-athlete reach her full potential and achieve her ultimate goals."
Away From The Pool
Erika and dive coach Tom Stebbins married in the May of 2008. They reside in Playa Del Rey.