Chris Colwill of the United States dives during the men’s 3-meter springboard diving preliminary round at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Chris Colwill, one of the most accomplished divers in NCAA and United States history, will return to his alma mater to head the Georgia diving program, Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jack Bauerle announced on Thursday.
Colwill will be the successor for his longtime college and personal coach, Dan Laak, who was named USA Diving’s High Performance Director last month. Laak served 31 years as Georgia diving coach.
“I am really excited that Chris is going to be joining our staff,” Bauerle said. “He is a great young coach and is highly thought of in the diving world nationally and internationally. He will bring expertise and knowledge to the job. He knows what this level of diving is all about. It’s wonderful having another Bulldog on the staff. It’s not easy replacing someone like Dan, who has given so much to our program, but I think we have found a great person for the job.”
“As a former diver at Georgia, I am thankful for the opportunities and experiences the program created for me,” Colwill said. “I hope to help do the same for others now as the diving coach. I am excited about leading our program into the future. Dan has done a remarkable job at Georgia for the past three decades, and I am humbled to be following in his footsteps. My goal is to bring the same passion and energy to the pool each day as we help our student-athletes reach their full potential. It is an honor to be chosen for this position.”
“I can’t think of a better individual to be my successor,” Laak said. “Chris has built a well-respected and well-deserved presence in the diving world. I’m excited to see where he takes the Georgia program. I’ve been lucky enough to know Chris as a coach and a friend; he’s a first-class guy. Who knows, maybe he’ll be having this same conversation 31 years from now.”
During Colwill’s Bulldog tenure, the Brandon, Fla., native won three NCAA individual diving titles and totaled the maximum of 12 All-America honors. He took the 1- and 3- meter springboard crowns in 2006 and added another 1-meter title in 2008, becoming the first male student-athlete in Georgia history to win three individual NCAA championships.
Colwill also headlined SEC diving during his career, accumulating five individual conference titles: 1-meter in 2005 and 2006, 3-meter in 2005 and 2006, and platform in 2006. His pair of titles in 2005 marked the first double-championship winner for Georgia since 1967. He garnered SEC Diver of the Year status in 2005, 2006 and 2008, and he was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2004.
Colwill’s prestige on the diving board extended to the Olympic arena. He represented the United States at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and in the 2012 Games in London. In addition to taking first on 3-meter at the 2012 Olympic Trials, Colwill checked in fourth in synchronized 3-meter in 2008.
On the world stage, he accumulated 10 national championships, a collection that began as a 10-year old in 1994 at U.S. Junior Nationals. He also earned the gold medal at the 2007 Italian Grand Prix, the silver at the 2009 FINA World Series, and the bronze in three different 2007 FINA Grand Prix meets on 3-meter.
Colwill was inducted earlier this year into the Circle of Honor, a distinction reserved for extraordinary student-athletes and coaches who bring honor to the university and themselves by their performance and conduct.
Colwill graduated from Georgia in 2008 with a degree in Speech Communication.