April 11, 2013
BERKELEY - Another banner year for the California women's swimming & diving program resulted in more hardware for decorated head coach Elizabeth Pelton, as the Pac-12 Conference named McKeever its Pac-12 Coach of the Year and named Pelton its Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year and its Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. This is the sixth Pac-12 Coach of the Year award for McKeever, who has now coached six Pac-12 Swimmers of the Year, including Pelton.
This season, McKeever led Cal - which had won the previous two national titles - to a second-place finish in the NCAA Championships after leading the Golden Bears to third place at the Pac-12 Championships.
"I am honored to receive the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award," McKeever said, "but am more proud that this award serves as a reflection of the work and dedication that Kristen Cunnane (Cal's associate head coach), Todd Mulzet (diving coach), Nick Folker (strength & conditioning coach), Aaron Schulman (director of operations) and our tremendous support staff provide on a daily basis.
"Elizabeth's recognition today as the conference Swimmer as well as Freshman/Newcomer of the Year is only a testament to her great ability and work ethic. As a program, we are immensely proud of Elizabeth's accomplishments as well as the success of the team this season."
Pelton flourished in her first season in Berkeley, claiming Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month honors in November and posting the NCAA's top times in the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley. The Towson, Md. native was named Swimmer of the Meet at the Pac-12 Championships after winning individual titles in the 200 backstroke and the 200 IM. She established a new Pac-12 record in the 200 backstroke and swam the opening leg of the Bears' winning 400 freestyle relay at the conference meet. At the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Pelton garnered CSCAA Swimmer of the Meet laurels after setting an NCAA, American, U.S. Open, Pac-12 and school record of 1:47.84 in the 200 backstroke to capture her first individual national title and posting second-place finishes in the 200 IM and the 200 freestyle. She also helped the Bears to a trio of third-place finishes in relays.
McKeever led the Golden Bears to a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships last month. Cal claimed titles in three individual events and notched top-five finishes in four of five relays to secure its fifth straight top-three finish at the national meet. Cal swimmers have collected Swimmer of the Meet accolades at each of the last two NCAA Championships as Caitlin Leverenz claimed the honor in 2012. McKeever, who is in her 21st year at the helm of the Cal program, served as the head women's coach for the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, at which Leverenz won the bronze medal in the 200-meter IM and Cal freshman Rachel Bootsma won a gold medal as part of the USA's 400-meter medley relay.
Here is the list of Cal's Pac-12 Swimmers of the Year during McKeever's tenure in Berkeley: Marylyn Chiang (1999), Haley Cope (2000), Natalie Coughlin (2001-03), Dana Vollmer (2009), Leverenz (2012) and Pelton (2013). Mary T. Meagher (1987) and Sarah Anderson (1989) also won the Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year award for the Bears.
McKeever coached all four of the Bears who earned the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year award: Coughlin (2001), Liv Jensen (2009), Leverenz (2010) and Pelton (2013).