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Mark Davin epitomizes the American University ideal of building a program to attract and support student-athletes who personify both the student and athlete parts of that that term.
The 2018-19 season will be his 23rd at AU and continues the Eagles' long-standing tradition of excellence both in the water and in the classroom. His teams have had a combined 115 individual and relay conference champions, while 274 student-athletes have been selected to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll since joining the conference in 2001-02. His emphasis on the development of the complete student-athlete has allowed his team to post seven semesters of recording the highest team GPA of all NCAA Division I swimming and diving programs during his tenure.
A strong freshman class was the highlight of the 2017-18 season, as a number of newcomers helped American post 40 new marks on the school's all-time top-16 lists. Junior Scott Callander snapped a school record in the 100-yard butterfly that had stood for 20 years, while Callander also set a pool record in the same event late in the season. On the women's side, a new mark was posted in the top-16s in all but one event - a charge led by seniors Fiona Caulfield, Tori Haviland and Shannon Exley.
Coming off an Olympics appearance and taking advantage of senior experience, Caylee Watson set a school record in the women's 100 backstroke at the Patriot League Championships. Her leadoff leg in the 400 medley relay bested the old mark by nearly a full second. Junior Fiona Caulfield scored 30 individual points at the PL meet on the diving boards, earning her the first spot in recent memory for an AU diver at the NCAA Zone Championships.
The 2015-16 season extended into the summer for AU's Swimming and Diving Program, as rising senior Caylee Watson represented her native U.S. Virgin Islands in the 2016 Rio Olympics. In addition to Watson's exploits, senior Paris Wood was part of three school records - women's 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard backstroke. Wood and Watson combined with Olivia Wons and Julianna Cavano to post a new women's 400 freestyle relay school record.
Academically, the Eagles had even more success in '15-16. Senior Toby McCarroll was the male senior with the top cumulative GPA and won the Barbara J. Reimann Scholarship. The Eagles have improved their streak of consecutive semesters with Scholar All-America Team honors to 46 from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Diver Fiona Caulfield and Watson were voted to the Academic All-Patriot League Team.
Davin took over a budding American University swimming and diving program in the fall of 1995 when it was still a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Over the next six seasons Davin coached six CAA Swimmers of the Year, five CAA Outstanding Meet Performers and three CAA Rookies of the Year. He led the 2001 men’s team to a first-place finish in the CAA Championship meet while the men’s and women’s teams together broke six CAA records, earned 20 individual CAA Championship titles, and boasted five NCAA provisional qualifiers. During that same season, the men’s squad finished a perfect 7-0. For this, as well as the previous year’s success, Davin was awarded the men's 2000 and 2001 CAA Coach of the Year Awards.
After American joined the Patriot League in 2001-02, Davin continued to build a program based on athletic and academic success. In its first year of PL competition, he was awarded with the 2002 Patriot League Men’s Coach of the Year award for leading the men’s team to a second-place finish at the Patriot League Championships, which included seven new Patriot League records and two Academic All-Americans. In that same year, American swimming and diving had 21 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selections, nine All-Patriot League selections, both Patriot League Scholar Athletes of the Year, and the highest team GPA of all men’s NCAA Division I swimming and diving programs.
Throughout his tenure in both the CAA and the PL, Davin has coached a number of noteable AU swimming alumni:
In 2009, Davin coached Dory Isaacs to a 100 breastroke conference title with a school-record time of 1:01.23. She also went on to win an Eastern College Athletic Conference championship title in the same event, while setting the meet record with a 1:02.15. Isaacs was an NCAA National Championship “B” qualifier and a USA Short Course Swimming National Championship qualifier.
In 2010, Davin led Matt Pelletier to a conference title in the 100 backstroke (49.61), while also guiding him to the school record in both the 50 free (20.49) and 100 back (48.89). Pelletier finished his career by earning three other spots on the program’s all-time top-10 list, and garnering three All-Patriot League honors (First Team in 2010, and Second Team in 2008 and 2009). He also was a three-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll nominee, and holds two Reeves Aquatic Center pool records (200 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay).
From 2004-08, Davin coached Meghan Thiel, a seven-time individual Patriot League champion. During her career at AU, Thiel was a four-time All-Patriot League First Team selection, three-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll nominee, and a two-time Patriot League Swimmer of the Year. She was also the 2005 Patriot League Rookie of the Year and the 2006 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Under Davin’s guidance, Thiel qualified for the NCAA National Championships in 2005 and 2006, as well as the Olympic Trials in 2004. The fastest female distance swimmer in program history, she currently holds the school record in the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free, and 1650 free.
Davin worked with Ethan Bassett from 2000 through 2004. In his career, Bassett garnered 13 individual and relay conference victories, four Academic All-American selections, and three All-Patriot League nominations. He was also a three-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selection, a 2002 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and the 2001 CAA Rookie of the Year. Davin trained Bassett through the 2000 Olympic trials, and also led him to a seventh-place finish in the 200 breast at the 2004 Olympic Trials. He earned NCAA national qualifying times twice in the 200 breast (2003, 04) and once in the 500 freestyle (2004). Davin also guided Bassett to seven top-10 program rankings, as well as a Reeves Aquatic Center pool record in the 200 breaststroke.
From 1999 through 2004, Davin guided Mark Liscinsky, one of the most decorated male swimmers in recent program history. In both the CAA and PL, Liscinsky was a 22-time individual and relay conference champion, a two-time PL Swimmer of the Year, and a two-time All-Patriot League selection. He garnered two Patriot League Academic Honor Roll nominations, the 2000 CAA Rookie of the Year award, and was a 2002 Academic All-American selection. Davin guided Liscinsky through the 2000 and 2004 Olympic trials, as well as the 2003 NCAA National Championships in the 200 IM, 200 free, and 200 back. Liscinsky solidified his legacy with five Reeves Aquatic Center pool records, four school records, and eight other top-10 program rankings.
From 2000 through 2003, Davin coached Dominic Szabo, a 14-time individual and relay Patriot League champion, a 2003 All-American, and a 2002 All-Patriot League selection. Szabo was also a 2000 and 2004 Olympic trials qualifier in the 100 breast and 200 breast. In 2003, Davin led Szabo to San Antonio, Texas for the NCAA National Championships. There, Szabo finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke with a school-record time of 53.77.
Throughout his tenure at AU, Davin has also led numerous other American University athletes to simultaneous conference titles and the Olympic Trials qualifying swims, including Jessica Lidstrom (2004), Junkal Irigoien (2002), Steine Lindman (2002), Frank Byskov (2001), Will Maher (2001) and Rebecca Santos (2001).
Before coming to American, Davin spent four years as head coach of the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team, which won the 1994 Summer Nationals, the 1994 U.S. Open and the 1995 Spring Senior Nationals. His collegiate coaching career began at California-Berkeley where he was the assistant for a men’s team that won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1979 and 1980. From there, Davin took the assistant reins for the women’s team at Arizona State, bringing home a fourth-place finish at the Collegiate Nationals during the 1980-81 season.
From 1981-90, Davin coached the Swim Devils throughout Arizona, during which time he guided 12 athletes to the Olympic Trials. He was the assistant men’s swimming coach at Pittsburgh from 1990-92 where he helped guide the Panthers to back-to-back Big East titles and top 25 national rankings.
Davin served as a coach for a U.S. team that participated in an international triangular meet with Russia and Brazil in 1994.
The founder of the Arizona Swimming Coaches Association, Davin is a graduate of Florida State with a degree in behavioral psychology. He was a member of the Seminole team that captured a pair of National Independent Conference Championships.
Upon graduation, Davin was an assistant coach for the Narcoossee Swim Team in Tallahassee, Fla., before joining the Pleasant Hill Swim Club in Pleasant Hill, Calif.
A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Davin currently resides in Maryland.
Mark Davin By The Numbers in his 23 Seasons at American University
- 80% (411 of 512) of the AU all-time top 16 list belong to Davin’s swimmers & divers
- 46 straight semesters of both the men’s and women’s teams being chosen as a Scholar All-America Team from the College Swimming Coaches Athletic Association (CSCAA)
- 30 Academic All-Americans
- 22 school records are held by Davin’s swimmers
- 10 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers
- 7 semesters ranked with the top team GPA in all Division I swimming and diving programs
- 3 Men’s Coach of the Year Honors (CAA in 2000 & 01, PL in 2002)
- 2 All-Americans (Roger Font 1996, Dominick Szabo 2003)
- 2 Olympians (Casey Leger swam the 50 free and 400 medley relay at the 1996 Games; Caylee Watson swam the 100 back at the 2016 Games)
Member of the Patriot League (2002-Present)
- 274 student-athletes recognized on the PL Academic Honor Roll
- 63 All-Patriot League selections
- 43 individual conference champions
- 18 individual and relay Reeves Aquatic Center Pool Records
- 11 relay conference champions
- 16 Academic All-Patriot League selections (since awards began in 2011)
- 5 PL Swimmers of the Year
- 5 PL Scholar-Athletes of the Year
- 1 Patriot League Rookie of the Year (Meghan Thiel 2005)
- 51 Individual CAA Conference Champions
- 10 Relay CAA Conference Champions
- 6 CAA Swimmers of the Year
- 4 CAA Rookies of the Year