Frank Stranzl

Rich Firman, who has coached Cal Poly’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs for the last 19 years, has announced his retirement.

Firman, who was hired Sept. 23, 1987, said he is leaving to pursue other interests and to spend additional time with his family.

“The past 19 years I have had the enjoyment of coaching fine student-athletes, and more importantly, quality individuals,” Firman said. “I will greatly miss the interaction with the friends that I made over the 19 years within the Cal Poly community.”

Phil Yoshida will assume the duties of interim head swimming and diving coach through Spring Quarter. A national search will be conducted during the quarter for a new head coach, said Alison Cone, Cal Poly director of athletics.

At Cal Poly, Firman’s teams broke 24 school records over the last five seasons, including Nate William’s mark of 51.25 seconds in the 100-meter backstroke this past season. The program also produced its first Big West Conference champion since 2004 as Daniel Lara won the men’s one-meter diving event.

“Rich is an exceptional technical swim coach, and I know that hundreds of current and former swimmers at Cal Poly appreciate the significant improvements they have made as swimmers and as individuals in his program,” Cone said.

Other Big West champions under Firman’s guidance were Eric Wyles (100-meter breaststroke, 1997), Steve Stehrenberger (100 and 200-meter breaststroke, 2000; 200-meter IM, 1999), Ben Palmer (100 breaststroke, 2003; 200 breaststroke, 2004), Ian Pyka (200 breaststroke, 1997 and 1998; 200 IM, 1998), Garrett McLaughlin (1-meter diving, 1999), Creighton Meeds (3-meter diving, 1999) and Ariana Rademaker (1-meter diving, 2001).

The Mustang men’s team twice placed third in the Big West Championships while the women placed fourth for five consecutive years from 1996-2000. Cal Poly joined the Big West Conference in swimming prior to the 1994-95 season.

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