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Diver and coach win top honors - The Red and Black : Sports

Diver and coach win top honors

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Posted: Thursday, April 20, 2006 12:00 am

Diving coach Dan Laak has at least two more years of training All-SEC diver Chris Colwill, even though the junior only will be competing for Georgia one more year.

Next year, when Colwill concludes his collegiate eligibility, he will remain in Athens to train and prepare for a run at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

"I'm honored that he will stay here," Laak said. "We have a great working relationship."


All-SEC Performers SEC Diver of the Year: Chris Colwill (Jr.)

SEC Diving Coach of the Year: Dan Laak

First Team All-SEC: Colwill and Sebastien Rouault (So.)

Second Team All-SEC: Matthew Owen (Sr.)

Colwill said he is attempting to go to the World Championships this summer and will train only under Laak because they work well together.

The pair did so well this season that they were honored together as NCAA Diver and Diving Coach of the Year.

Laak said this award is special because it is his first in his 19 years of coaching and is given to him by his peers.

Colwill, a sports studies major, won both springboard competitions and placed second on the 10-meter platform, beating an Olympic athlete on the springboards after almost not making the championship meet.

According to Laak, Colwill hit his hand on the board in the Zone B Diving Competition (the qualifier for the NCAA Championships) but showed how tough he is by finishing the meet.

"My goal was second in all three," Colwill said. "I wanted it so bad."

Laak also saw another of his divers, junior Genya Gouzeev, take on a leadership role and improve throughout the year. Gouzeev also qualified for the NCAA Championship meet at the Zone B Diving Competition.

"I am proud of the entire team," Laak said, adding that the diving team had the best SEC Conference meet that he's seen in his 19 years as Georgia's coach.

According to head swimming coach Jack Bauerle, it's fortunate for Georgia fans that they will have another year to watch one of the nation's best divers in Colwill.

"If next year people came just to see Chris dive, it would be well worth their while," Bauerle said. "We are really proud of him being the diver of the year."

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