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May 31, 2011

Manning named new Director of Aquatics, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Coach

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 31, 2011) – Announced today by Occidental College Director of Athletics, Jaime Hoffman, Shea Manning will assume the position of Director of Aquatics and Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Coach effective July 1.

With strong ties to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as a swimmer and diver at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Manning returns to familiar territory for his first head coaching gig after getting his post-athletic career underway as an assistant coach at both CMS and NCAA Division I George Washington University in Washington D.C.

“To say that I am excited about this opportunity does not seem to be enough,” the newest Tiger went on, “I am honored that the search committee saw something in me that made them believe that I am the best person to take over the reigns of the programs.”

Manning has worked under a variety of successful coaches, each of whom has inspired him.

“I am very grateful the coaches I have worked with, especially Charlie Griffiths (CMS) and Dan Rhinehart (GWU), have been willing to mentor me and assist me in developing my knowledge and passion for swimming and diving.”

In 2010 Manning was part of the coaching staff for the Colonials who had a break-out year in the Atlantic-10 Conference with the women’s squad jumping two spots in the overall standings while the men’s program leapt four spots to place fourth overall. Among the accolades that the combined teams earned were seeing the men’s 400 Freestyle Relay team win at the Conference Meet for the first time in a decade, six Atlantic-10 Performer of the Week Honors, seven new team records and the GWU Female Athlete of the Year.

Prior to jumping onto the Division I scene, he spent two seasons coaching at his alma mater, guiding both the Stags and Athenas to a pair of SCIAC Titles. Manning helped coach the women’s team to two Top-6 finishes at the NCAA Division III National Championships in both 2009 and 2010. The fifth place national finish in 2010 was highlighted by a two-event National Champion and three runner-up performances. In 2010, the men’s team qualified a relay to Nationals for the first time in more than a decade. A plethora of program Top-10, Team Records and Conference Records fell while Manning was on the coaching staff.

He believes that through his development working with successful programs in the past coupled with his outlook and matched with the work ethic and positive energy of the Oxy Program, he is confident that he can build a SCIAC perennial power and begin to climb the ranks on the Division III National level.  

Hoffman agreed, noting “The mentorship Shea has received and the exclusive group he joins within the SCIAC realm of coaches who have paved a path in the league, including Tom Whittemore (UR) and Mike Sutton (CMS), who have each grown successful programs at their respective institutions following successful aquatics careers for the Stags, will aid in the upward transformation at Occidental as well.”

The swimming and diving programs at Occidental have been reconstructed over the last few years and Manning has commended the positive movement he has seen.

“Coach [Alex] Kuhn did a fantastic job of setting an impressive foundation for growth across the next several years,” Manning added. “I plan to continue recruiting aggressively and improve our outreach to prospective divers as well.”

Having been a successful student-athlete in his own time as a four-year letter winner and eight-time All-SCIAC recipient, in both swimming and diving, while earning a degree from Claremont McKenna College (’07), he understands the importance of academic and athletic balance at an elite institution.

While Manning has enjoyed his time at the Division I level, Hoffman recognized that, “he spoke to the differences of SCIAC and DI and relishes the opportunity to return to his small liberal arts school roots.”

One of his main goals, both short and long term, is to ensure that all of his student-athletes get the most out of their educational experience at Occidental, both as scholars and as member of the swimming and diving team.

“I want to see each of my student-athletes improve through thoughtful and challenging training with attention to technique and body-awareness. I strongly believe by achieving these goals, we will climb the SCIAC ladder and qualify more athletes for the NCAA Championship Meet every year,” he shared.

More importantly, though, Manning is ecstatic to have the opportunity to lead his own program, at an institution that that he has admired as a competitor for eight years.  

“As a swimmer and coach at CMS I was always impressed with the high amount of positive energy from the Oxy Teams, regardless of where they were in the standings,” he said. “I am excited to use that energy as a launching pad for aggressive training and successful recruiting so that every year we are challenging the likes of CMS and Redlands at the top of the Conference.”

In addition to coaching at the collegiate level, Manning has worked at University of Texas' Longhorns Swim Camp in both 2009 and 2010 where he learned the most innovative coaching techniques from Olympic Coaches Eddie Reese and Kim Brackin as well as 10 Olympic Swimmers including Aaron Peirsol, Ian Crocker, Brendan Hansen, Kirsty Coventry, Josh Davis, and Neil Walker. 

Manning got his start in coaching in the largest youth summer swimming and diving league in the country, the Northern Virginia Swimming League. Between 2000-07, he coached both swimming and diving programs for the Fairfax Station Flyers, the Springboard Barracudas and the Dunn Loring Dolphins.  

While working for the Corporate Executive Board, a DC-based consulting firm, in 2007-08, Manning was an Assistant Coach for Paul VI Catholic High School swimming and diving teams where he helped to coach one of his athlete's to a National Catholic High School Championship while another was named a Scholastic All-American.   

A strong believer in service, Manning has also used swimming as a way to give back to the community. In 2005 he organized a swim-a-thon at Springboard Pool that raised nearly $10,000 in donations for the National Kidney Foundation. Since 2003, he has served as Aquatics Director for camps organized by Special Love, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides programming for children with cancer and their families.  

Hoffman is excited to welcome an energetic, successful young coach to the Tigers’ lineup.

“Shea is a great addition to our staff in many ways,” Hoffman shared, “He comes with vision, presence and a competitive spirit that promises to serve our student-athletes well.”