USC Women's Swim and Dive Dominates Pac-12 Postseason Awards
Hongping Li, in his 22nd year as USC's head diving coach, was named the 2021 Pac-12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year, while swimmer Kaitlyn Dobler and diver Farrah Volpintesta earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors.
PAC-12 WOMEN'S DIVING COACH OF THE YEAR – HONGPING LI
This is Li's 12th such honor, with him most recently earning Pac-12 Men's Diving Coach of the Year honors in 2020.
Li is a two-time NCAA Coach of the Year (2002, 2006), a five-time Pac-12 Men's (2009, 2016-17-18-20), and now a 12-time Pac-12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year (2001-02-03-05-06-09-10-11-12-13-14-21).
"I am honored and humbled to be named by my colleagues as the Pac-12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year. This award motivates me to reset a higher standard and do better in my profession," said Coach Li.
Two Trojans qualified for the NCAA Diving Championships this year, with sophomores Nike Agunbiade and Savannah Stocker posting qualifying scores. Agunbiade also picked up her first conference crown at the Pac-12 Championships, winning on 3-meter and finishing second on both 1-meter and platform.
At NCAA's Li coached Agunbiade to three top-25 finishes (ninth on platform, 14th on 1-meter, 24th on 3-meter) and Stocker to a 26th place finish on 3-meter.
PAC-12 FRESHMAN SWIMMER OF THE YEAR – KAITLYN DOBLER
USC's Dobler claimed the Pac-12 Freshman Swimmer of the Year award, after collecting two Pac-12 titles last month. Dobler was also second in the 50y free and contributed to two relay podium finishes (200 medley, 400 free).
"This award is a testament to Kaitlyn's work ethic and indomitable spirit. She came to USC with big goals and is very much on her way, but if anything, she reminded our team about the importance of energy and what it means to be a Trojan," said USC head coach Jeremy Kipp. "In true freshman spirit she approached the newness and unpredictable circumstances as a challenge and remained unflappable."
At NCAA's, Dobler was second in the 100y breaststroke, and just missed the A final of the 50y free, posting a PR 22.11 in prelims to touch ninth overall. She returned in the afternoon to swim in the consolation final of the 50y free, touching in another PR 21.92 for third. With her time, she became the sixth fastest Trojan in school history.
This season, the freshman broke Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Soni's USC 100y breaststroke record, posting a 57.71 against UCLA. She later lowered the record at NCAA's where she touched second in 57.46.
PAC-12 FRESHMAN DIVER OF THE YEAR – FARRAH VOLPINTESTA
For the second consecutive year, and sixth time in history, USC had a student athlete selected as the Pac-12 Freshman Diver of the Year, as Volpintesta picked up her first conference honors.
"As a freshman, Farrah Volpintesta rapidly adapted to the USC's rigorous diving program and made noticeable improvements immediately, particularly in her performances at the Pac-12 Championships, " said Li. "She qualified for finals twice. I am truly impressed with her accomplishment."
At Pac-12's Volpintesta was seventh on 3-meter and 10th in the platform competition, securing the best finish of all Pac-12 freshmen in each of the three diving events.
At the Zone E Diving Championships, Volpintesta was 10th on platform.