The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee swimming & diving program has grown into a regional power in recent years. Much of that success can be attributed to head coach Dave Clark.
Clark begins his 15th year at the helm of UWM's swimming & diving program. Just the second head coach in the Division I history of the program, Clark has overseen the program's entrance into the Horizon League and has helped the Panthers rise to the top of the league.
The 2004-05 season was no exception, as the men's and women's swimming and diving teams wrapped up their seasons with a reacord-breaking showing at the Horizon League Championships in late February. The Panthers hosted the meet, with the women placing third and the men taking fifth, while both squads combined on 20 school marks.
In addition to the record-breaking performance, Clark helped guide his team to four individual and two relay Horizon League championships, as well as three individual runner-up finishes. He coached the swimmer of the meet (Lindsay Caldwell) and the diver of the meet (Erin Blemberg) at the event.
Under Clark's direction, UWM had its first NCAA Provisional Qualifier, Josh Baseheart, in the 100 freestyle in the 2001-02 campaign. Baseheart repeated the provisional qualifying effort in the 2002-03 season by qualifying in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle. He was also named Academic All-American, another first in the school's Division I history.
Clark has built his teams through solid recruiting, as numerous state champions and state finalists from Minnesota and Wisconsin dot both the men's and the women's rosters.
The 15th-year mentor has earned league coach of the year honors three times at UWM, first in 1998 with the men's team and again with the men as they won their first league championship in 2000. A year later, Clark guided the women's team to their first league title and collected another coach of the year award in the process.
He has also coached winners of numerous league honors, including one most outstanding performer (Amanda Chan - 2000), four divers of the year (Nic Seider - 2002, Todd Hill - 1999 and 2000, Dave Arvai - 1994), two newcomers of the year (Jason Procto - 2002, Matt Schmaling - 2000) and one Horizon League Performer of the Year (Josh Baseheart - 2003).
Sept. 1, 2004 marks the beginning of Clark's four-year membership with the NCAA Swimming Committee. The group of coaches, school administrators and NCAA representatives develop, introduce and implement rule changes for member conferences and institutions.
In 1991 Clark was named the head men's and women's swimming & diving coach after spending 10 years as the head men's swimming & diving coach at Northern Illinois, where his team captured one Mid-Continent Conference title. Prior to serving as the head coach, he was the assistant coach at NIU for two years.
A native of Oak Creek, Wis., Clark was a highly decorated high school and collegiate swimmer. He earned all-state honors in swimming his junior and senior years at Oak Creek High School before moving on to swim collegiately at Northern Illinois.
At NIU, Clark was a four-year letterwinner and held five individual school records. In his senior season, he was named captain and most valuable performer.
Clark graduated from Northern Illinois in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in biological science. Clark and his wife, Sandy, have a son, Peter, a four-year letterwinner at UWM, and reside in Whitefish Bay.