Nort Thornton Honored by the College Swimming Coaches Association with the Lifetime Achievement Award

May 21, 2010


Legendary California men's swimming coach Nort Thornton, who directed the Golden Bears from 1975 through 2008 and is currently Cal's Head Coach Emeritus, is being honored by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America with the Speedo/CSCAA Lifetime Achievement Award this weekend during its 50th Anniversary 2010 Convention in Baltimore, Md.

Thornton was the head coach of the Bears for over 30 years, finishing with a dual meet record of 231-85 (.731 winning percentage) in 33 seasons and leading Cal to back-to-back NCAA team titles in 1979 and 1980. He guided 35 individual national championship and 13 NCAA relay champions, while also leading Cal to Pac-10 team titles in 1980 and 1981 and coaching 73 individual Pac-10 champions and 33 Pac-10 relay champions.

Forty eight of Thornton's athletes also represented their countries in the Olympic Games, winning a total of 29 medals, earning 14 gold, 10 silver and five bronze medals. He coached one of the greatest American swimmers of all time, Matt Biondi, who owns 11 Olympic medals, set 12 world records and nine individual NCAA records, along with a pair of NCAA relay records, during his Cal career.

Thornton was twice named National Coach of the Year and four times named Pac-10 Coach of the Year and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1995.

Joining Thornton in receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award is Swimming World Magazine co-founder Peter Daland, who was the long-time coach at USC. The lifetime achievement award is presented to 'the individual whose efforts best exemplify the integrity and ideals of collegiate swimming and who has achieved significant success in the sport while imparting the educational and character-building qualities of the collegiate swimming experience.'