Entering his seventh season, head coach Michael Litzinger has reinvigorated the University of Utah swimming and diving and teams, making it into one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference and the nation.
Known as an innovative coach on deck, and a great evaluator of talent, he has turned Utah into a highly competitive program with an influx of talent and a winning attitude.
Litzinger's teams continued to thrive in 2006 as the women's team won its third straight regular season title and the conference championship while diver Sterling Richards' fifth-place NCAA finish earned the senior All-American honors. The MWC also honored Litzinger as the conference's Coach of the Year for the second time during his tenure. In 2006 the team set 13 Utah records, five MWC records and put a record number of athletes on the MWC All-Academic team.
The 2006 women's squad went 9-1 on the year and finished a perfect 8-0 in the conference action. The Utes had five individual conference champions and three relay championship teams. Litzinger tutored 16 all-conference honorees, including the MWC's Swimmer and Diver of the Year, Amber Walter and Kelsey Patterson, respectively.
The men's team in 2006 recorded a first in program history. With Sterling Richards' fifth-place showing on the 1-meter at the NCAA's, he became the first All-American diver in program annals. He helped the Utes finish 26th at the championship event.
Sterling shined at the conference championships as well, garnering the MWC's Diver of the Year accolade. He was one of eight all-conference honorees for the men in 2006.
At the 2005 MWC Championships, Litzinger coached seven conference champions, including Marta Stepanczuk, Alison McInturff, Michelle Blair, Rachael Curci, Loren Sweny, Cody Rempfer and Jonathan Larsen.
The women's team enjoyed unprecedented success as well in 2005, capturing its second straight MWC title, first-ever outright title, with a 7-0 conference mark. Litzinger guided his 2004 squad to a 9-0 overall dual-meet record. Only the 2003 swimming Utes had more wins in school history (10-8).
Thirteen Utes from the women's team garnered all-MWC accolades, including first-teamers Michelle Blair, Rachael Curci, Marissa Martin, Alison McInturff, Kelsey Patterson, Marta Stepanczuk and Jamie Trapp. Stepanczuk also qualified for the NCAAs in the 500 and 1650 freestyle events
The men's team enjoyed an equal amount of success as well. The Utes won a share of the MWC title, the teams first since 1995, after tallying a 3-1 conference mark. The men finished the season 4-2 overall.
Eight men earned all-MWC honors, including first-teamers Damien Brown, Evan Castro, Andrew Cole, Jonathan Larsen, Matan Ratz, Cody Rempfer and Sterling Richards.
In 2003, the women set a school record with 10 wins. The Utes turned in a 10-8 mark, going 5-2 in conference. The men also had a landmark season with a 5-8 record (1-3 in conference). It was the first time since 1999 that the men's team had more than four wins in a season. The Utes also had strong finishes at the 2003 Mountain West Conference Championships as the women finished fourth and the men fifth. In addition, Utah also added a 19th-place finish at the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships.
In 2001-02, Litzinger was recognized as the women's Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after the Utes broke six school records and placed 25th as a team at the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships.
In Litzinger's six years, the Utes have broken 35 school records, qualified four athletes in 10 different events at the NCAA's and 14 for the U.S. Nationals, and both programs have garnered Academic All-America status.
Litzinger has received numerous accolades for his dedication to the sport of swimming. He was awarded Eastern Intercollegiate Coach of the Year in 1992 and `94, and Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year in 1996 and `97 while at St. Bonaventure University.
Before coming to Utah, Litzinger was the assistant men's coach at Ohio State University from 1997-2000. While there, he helped lead the team to a 25th-place finish in NCAA competition in 2000, which followed the Buckeyes' 20th-place finish in 1998.
At St. Bonaventure, Litzinger was head coach of the women's swimming program. From 1989-97, he led the NCAA Division I women's team to an Eastern Intercollegiate Conference title and two Atlantic 10 Conference championships.
Litzinger began his coaching career at Fredonia State University in New York from 1988-89. While at Fredonia State, Litzinger took the Blue Devils to a second place SUNYAC Conference finish, and an NCAA Division III Championship appearance.
A 1984 graduate of Hobart College, Litzinger received his bachelor's degree in English and was captain of the Hobart swimming team in 1983-84. That same year he was voted the program's Most Valuable Swimmer. In 1988, he received his master's in exercise science from the University of Iowa. While working on his master's degree, Litzinger was the Hawkeyes' graduate assistant men's coach.
The New York native and his wife, Julie, reside in West Jordan, Utah and recently had their first child in Jan. of 2006, Gabrielle.