TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona has named Rick DeMont head swimming and diving coach, Director of Athletics Greg Byrne announced on Tuesday. One of the most accomplished swimmers in American history, DeMont has been a member of the Wildcats’ coaching staff for 25 seasons and served as an assistant coach for South Africa during the 2000, ’04 and ’08 Olympic Games.
“We’re extremely pleased to have someone with Rick DeMont’s credentials involved in our swimming and diving program,” Byrne said. “Rick has been a dedicated Wildcat for over a quarter of a century and he’s earned the opportunity to lead our program. His resume speaks for itself and we know he’ll continue to build on the rich tradition of Arizona swimming.”
Long considered a world-renowned sprint freestyle coach, DeMont has been the subject of feature stories and swimming technique articles in numerous publications, such as Swimming World, Swim Technique and Splash magazines. During his tenure with the UA, he has coached an amazing 22 U.S. Swimming and NCAA individual national champions, as well as numerous national champion relay squads. DeMont also pioneered negative split swimming, which utilizes the strategy of swimming a faster second half of a race than the first.
“It’s an honor to be named the head swimming and diving coach of such a prestigious program,” said DeMont. “I’ve been completely invested in Arizona swimming since I came here in 1977 to finish my college career. I want to thank Greg Byrne for giving me this opportunity. This is one of the top programs in the country and has been for a number of years and I’m looking forward to the future success I believe we can achieve.”
As a swimmer, DeMont was a four-year All-American, spending two years at the University of Washington (1973-75) before finishing his career at the UA (1977-79). DeMont earned eight All-America honors during his two seasons as a Wildcat.
A former world record holder in the 1500m freestyle (1972), the 400m freestyle (1973) and the 4x100 freestyle relay (1977), DeMont collected numerous titles during his swim career, including National, Pan-American, World and Olympic championships. Following his senior year in high school, he was named World Swimmer of the Year. In addition, DeMont became the first man in history to break the four-minute barrier in winning the 1973 400-meter World Championship in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
In 1990, DeMont was recognized for his great career with induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame (1999) and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (2008).