Erika Hansen-Stebbins enters her fourth season with UCLA after a successful first three campaigns with the Bruins. Under Coach Hansen's guidance, the Bruin distance squad and IM swimmers have produced top finishes throughout the years in the long distance events. Last 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
From 1997 to 2003 Hansen 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. Hansen 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
Hansen 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, Hansen 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. Hansen 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.
Hansen 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.
In May of 2008, Hansen married UCLA dive coach Tom Stebbins.
"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."
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