A former standout swimmer at the University of Arizona, associate head coach Rick DeMont is beginning his 17th season as a member of the Wildcat coaching staff. DeMont was named an assistant coach to the South African men’s swim team at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece.
DeMont, a four-year All-American, began his collegiate swimming career at the University of Washington from 1973-75. As a freshman at UW, he finished second in the 1650 freestyle and fourth in the 400 IM at the NCAA Championships. A two-year and eight-time All-America selection at UA, DeMont swam for the Wildcats from 1977-79. In 1977, he was eighth in the 100 free and 200 IM and was the top individual scorer for the Cats.
DeMont is a former world record holder in the 1500m freestyle (1972), the 400m free (1973) and the 4x100 free relay (1977). He has collected numerous titles, including National, Pan-American, World and Olympic champion. Following his senior year in high school, he was named World Swimmer of the Year. DeMont also pioneered negative split swimming (swimming a faster second half of a race than the first).
At the 1972 Olympic Games, DeMont was stripped of a gold medal in the 400m freestyle, when it was discovered he had unknowingly taken asthma medication containing the banned drug ephedrine. The next year, at the World Championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, DeMont erased all doubts of his greatness with an unprecedented performance. He swam a world record in the 400 free and, in the process, became the first man in history to swim that race in less than four minutes. To this day, he is still struggling to regain the medal from the International Olympic Committee. DeMont was rewarded for his athletic accomplishments in 1990, as he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Considered a world-renowned sprint freestyle coach, DeMont has been the subject of feature stories and up-and-coming swimming technique articles in numerous publications, such as Swimming World, Swim Technique and Splash magazines. During his tenure with the UA program, he has coached an amazing 17 U.S. Swimming and NCAA individual national champions, as well as numerous national champion relay squads. In September of 1999, DeMont was inducted into the University of Arizona Athletic Hall of Fame.DeMont, 48, is also an artist whose paintings have been shown in local and national galleries, and some of his work can be seen on the walls of offices in Arizona’s athletics department. DeMont has one daughter Angela, 19, who is a sophomre at the UA. He and his wife, Carrie, reside in Tucson.