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Divers Face Fears On The Tower
UGA Diving Invitational On Tap
Dan Laak, a two-time National Coach of the Year, a three-time SEC Coach of the Year and a two-time United States Olympic Coach, is entering his 27th season at Georgia with considerable experience both nationally and internationally.
In 2013, Laak coached Laura Ryan to the women's program's first gold medal at the SECs as she took the 3-meter. Ryan also had a top-5 finish at the NCAAs on tower and she set the school records for platform dual/invitational and championship. Laak guided both Ryan and Ann-Perry Blank to the NCAAs, marking the first time in school history Georgia has had two divers at the national meet.
Laak coached Ann-Perry Blank to scoring totals on all three boards at the 2012 SECs, including a fifth-place finish on tower. Owen Blank and Alex Watson posted scoring totals for the Bulldogs at the SECs.
Laak also helped longtime protégé Chris Colwill qualify for the Olympics by winning the men's 3-meter springboard title at the United States Trials. Colwill was joined in London by Laak, who served on the Team USA coaching staff.
In 2011, Laak coached Hannah Moore to All-America honors on 3-meter. In 2010, she was an All-American on 1-meter and recorded second- and third-place efforts on the springboards at the SECs.
Laak coached Colwill to an eighth-place effort on the 3-meter and a ninth-place finish on the 1-meter at the 2009 World Championships. In 2008, he guided Colwill to National Diver of the Year honors as Colwill placed first on 1-meter and was second on both 3-meter and platform at the NCAAs.
Laak was chosen as the 2008 National Coach of the Year. Laak guided Moore to a fourth-place finish on 3-meter at the NCAAs. Colwill and Moore each claimed an individual title at the Zone B Championship.
Laak was a United States coach at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where one of the competitors was Colwill. He also served in 2008 as National Team Coach at the USA Grand Prix and as National Team Coach/Team Leader at the FINA World Series.
In 2007, Laak coached Genya Gouzeev to a ninth-place finish on 1-meter at the NCAAs. Laak continued to work with Colwill, who redshirted to focus on international competition. Colwill earned five medals in 2006-07, including winning the Senior Men's 1-meter title at the Speedo USA Spring National. Laak was the National Team Coach for the 2007 Canada Cup and the National Team Coach/Team Leader for the Grand Prix meets in Spain and Italy. He served as Colwill's personal coach at the Worlds.
Laak was honored as the National Coach of the Year and the SEC Coach of the Year after coaching Colwill to two NCAA crowns and three SEC crowns in 2006. Colwill was named National and SEC Diver of the Year. Laak served as National Team Coach at the World Cup in China.
Laak was recognized as SEC Coach of the Year in 2005 after Colwill won the springboard titles. Laak was chosen as National Team Coach for the Canada Cup and was one of three coaches to receive the inaugural Benjamin Foundation Performance Award for outstanding coaching achievement. He later served as Colwill's personal coach at the World Championships and the USA Grand Prix.
Laak has additional experience in many different facets of the international diving community. In 1987 and 1999, he served as a judge at the World University Games in Yugoslavia and Spain, respectively. In 1990, Laak served as a diving coach at the U.S. Olympic Festival, and returned to the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival as one of seven judges.
Laak was the Chairman of the NCAA Diving Rules Committee from 1997-2000.
Laak finished a stellar diving career at Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 1982 with five All-America and Honorable Mention accolades. Laak graduated with a bachelor's degree in recreation administration. For his accomplishments as both an athlete and a coach, Laak was inducted into the Wisconsin-LaCrosse Athletic Wall of Fame in October 2003.
He and his wife Kim have two sons, Tyler and Justin.
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