Divers at Wildcat Invitational
Olympian Debbie Meyer to be recogized On Saturday
11 a.m. at Lombardi Pool
Meet to start at 3:30 p.m.
The 2012-13 season was Abby Steketee's first year as Nevada's head swimming and diving coach.
In her first season at the helm of the program, Steketee coached the Wolf Pack to a fifth-place finish at the Mountain West Championships. At the outset of the season, Nevada was selected eighth, outperforming the expectations of everyone except for Steketee, who said early on she felt her team could be better than that.
The Pack was 4-3 in dual meets and Steketee saw Mengjaio "Jojo" Mi become the first Nevada swimmer to compete in three events at the NCAA Championships since 2008. Mi was the first Nevada swimmer to qualify for the event since 2009.
Individually, other Nevada swimmers dropped a significant amount of time off their best swims, achieving new personal bests in 2013. Two swimmers of note in this area are Michelle Forman and Nikki Longland. Before this season, Forman's best time in the 100-yard butterfly was 58.26 but she cut three seconds at the MW Championships to score in 55.24. Likewise, Forman stepped up on the 800 Free Relay and dropped 10 seconds off of her 200-yard freestyle time, going from 2:00.06 to 1:49.94.
Longland's drop in the 400 IM was staggering, as the Sparks native improved her lifetime best from 5:04.73 to 4:22.71 at the conference event.
In total, 45 of 54 individual races at the conference championships were lifetime records. Overall this season, 21 swimmers achieved lifetime records - often in multiple events.
"We are very excited to have Abby take the helm of our women's swimming and diving program," former Wolf Pack Director of Athletics Cary Groth said at the time of her hiring. "She has experienced championship, postseason and academic success as a coach at South Carolina and West Virginia and as a student-athlete at Northwestern. We are confident that she will bring those successes to the University of Nevada and return our swimming and diving program to the championship level."
A Danville, Va., native, Steketee comes to Nevada after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach for the men's and women's swmming and diving teams at the University of South Carolina. She worked with the individual medley and stroke groups and also served as the team liaison with academic services. During her time with the Gamecocks, Steketee helped coach one SEC individual champion, one NCAA All-American, one honorable-mention All-American and four NCAA qualifiers. She also mentored six qualifiers for the 2012 Olympic Trials as well as 10 U.S. National qualifiers.
On the academic side, she helped guide the Gamecock women's team to the highest team GPA in the nation in the fall of 2011 and saw the men's team turn in six semesters with a team GPA above 3.0. She was also actively involved in the athletics department, serving on several policy committees.
Before coming to South Carolina, Steketee served as a graduate assistant at West Virginia University. In addition to her coaching responsibilities, she also served as academic counselor for student-athletes and assisted with administrative duties, including newsletter production and travel coordination. During her time at West Virginia, the Mountaineers produced 18 NCAA qualifiers and 23 All-Americans. The men's team also won the 2007 Big East Championship and the women's team improved from 11th place to third in the Big East.
Steketee graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University with a degree in human development and psychological services in 2003. At Northwestern, she participated on the crew team. She was selected as Most Valuable Rower three consecutive years and served as varsity captain. While in Evanston, Steketee also served with the Northwestern Aquatic Swim Association, serving as head development coach for a 150-member youth swim team.
She received a master's degree in public health from West Virginia University. She is married to Steve Steketee, who was also an assistant coach on the South Carolina and West Virginia coaching staffs.
"It's a great honor and privilege to join the University of Nevada community," Steketee said. "I am impressed with the University's commitment to the personal growth, academic achievement and athletic success of its student-athletes and I am excited to lead the swimming and diving program back to championship form."