THE BEGINNING – MISSION VIEJO NADADORES
In 1968 the Mission Viejo Company developed a separate department to provide recreational services for its planned communities. Along with the system of four recreation centers in Mission Viejo, California an equestrian facility, two roller skating rinks and two golf courses were operated by the department. Mission Viejo Company recreation staff was also responsible for operations at the two Casta del Sol Recreation Centers and Lake Mission Viejo for a number of years. The Mission Viejo Company added operations to assist in community wide activities, major events, and programs for special population groups.
In December of 1968, the Nadadores Swim team was organized. Coached by Thom Martin with thirty-five members, 90 percent of them novice, they competed in their first meet against Newport Swim Club in February of 1969.
Brian Goodell, age 9, earned a first place ribbon in the Class B in the 100 yd. Individual medley and in the 50 yd. Butterfly. Also winning first place ribbons at the first Nadadores swim meet were Bob Woods, age 11; Dan O'Donovan, age 13; Diane Toepfer, age 10; Kevin Reilly, age 10; and Mike Hurd. One year later, the NADADORES were considered one of the largest teams in the Orange County Swim Conference, consisting of over one hundred members from age 5 to 17.
James G. Toepfer, was promoted to Senior VP of the Mission Viejo Company to be responsible for the coordination of all phases of the development of Mission Viejo. Assistant Coach Mike Lilley joined the team in 1970.
The Marguerite Recreation facility was expanded in 1972 with 7 new tennis courts, a 50 meter Olympic competition pool, and training “warm up” pool to accommodate a Nadadores swim team membership of over 300 children between the ages of 5 to 17. Mark Schubert joined the Nadadores as Head Coach in June of 1972, and established the first senior training group at Mission Viejo starting with one swimmer with SPA senior times.
Coach Schubert had expanded his program to include over thirty senior swimmers and was able to send four girls to the 1973 Indoor Nationals in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In August of 1973, Philip J. Reilly, President of Mission Viejo Company welcomed competitors to the S.P.A. A.A.U. 15th Annual Los Angeles Swimming Invitational held at the Marguerite Recreation Center. This would be the first of many top level swimming and diving competitions to be held at the facility.
In 1974, the Nadadores and the Mission Viejo Company worked to bring the City of Mission Viejo to National Recognition by bidding for the 1977 AAU Senior Long Course National Championships. The facility is referred to as “The Mission Viejo International Sports Complex,” one of the nation's finest community recreation facilities. The Marguerite Recreation Center featured both an eight-lane, 50 meter Olympic pool and a sprawling tennis facility.
The Nadadores swim team captured five national AAU titles-three women's and two overall team wins, in the brief period from August 1974 to August 1975. Nadadores Coach, Mark Schubert, at age 26, was named Coach of the Year by the 1900-member American Swim Coaches Association. He was the youngest man to achieve that honor.
The complex hosted the third annual Mission Viejo Invitational Swimming Championships, drawing hundreds of international swimmers and thousands of spectators for three days of record-breaking performances.
Earlier in 1975, the sports complex hosted the $50,000 Mission Viejo Womenâ€™s Tennis Classic with top honors going to Chris Everett. The year before, Billie Jean King defeated Chris Everett in the Virginia Slims of Mission Viejo Tennis Tournament.
For Mission Viejo residents, the International Sports Complex is known as the Marguerite Recreation Center, one of the community's four major membership recreation centers, all designed for the sports-oriented family.
In 1976 Mission Viejo sends eight swimmers to the Olympics; Shirley Babashoff, Brian Goodell, Maryanne Graham, Nicole Kramer, Casy Converse and Marcia Morey. Overall the team had 38 Nadadores who had achieved times that ranked in the “TOP TEN” of the United States.
Mission Viejo Invitational Swimming Championships, formerly known all over the world as the Los Angeles Invitational, has a rich and deserving tradition. The swim meet was started by the Southern Pacific Association of the AAU in 1958 and has been recognized worldwide for its quality glamour, hospitality and excitement. The name changed in 1977 and then changed again in 1978 to its current “The Swim Meet of Champions”, hosted each year at the Mission Viejo International Swim Complex.
Mission Viejo Company begins the expansion of the Marguerite facility to provide for a diving team. The addition of a 5 meter, 7.5 meter and 10 meter platform along with the 1 and 3 meter springboards allowed for Olympic level training. A state of the art Bubbler system was installed allowing for a cushion of air to be released from the bottom of the pool to soften the effects of hitting the water during training for new dives.
Along with Olympic training equipment, a cliff diving practice stand was also temporarily erected 45 feet above the surface of the water. World Champion Cliff Diver Sam Hernandez trained with Nadadores coaches Dr. Sammy Lee and Ron O'Brien.
In 1978, Mission Viejo's newly -completed diving facility was unveiled to the public July 23-24 for the American Cup Diving Competition, an event which drew the nation's top 30 divers, including seven members of the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team.
See Diving Team History further down for details.
NADADORES SWIMMING COACHES included Mark Schubert, Pat Burch, Al Dorsett, Larry Liebowitz, Martha Lee Pyykko, Diana Rodgers, Terry Stoddard, and Lonnie Valentine. Members of the Mission Viejo Nadadores Swim team captured their third straight United States Swimming Junior National Team Championship title.
Terry Stoddard became the Heads Coach of the Nadadores Swim Team, expanding the teamâ€™s international standing by training large numbers of swimmers form more than a dozen foreign countries.
1992 – 2000
Bill Rose, an illustrious swim coach and a successful businessman, took over as head coach of the Nadadores Swim Team in 1992, and guided the Nadadores Swim Program to the largest membership in its history. His efforts have revitalized the Nadadores' reputation as a team where young swimmers can find the best training in the best environment for personal, national and international growth.
THE NADADORES DIVING TEAM
The Mission Viejo Nadadores Diving Team began in May, 1977, under the direction of Todd Smith, a former NCAA Champion and the guidance of two-time Gold Medalist, Olympian Dr. Sammy Lee. Todd assembled 10 divers as a beginning group which included Greg Louganis, who with four Olympic Gold Medals, went on to be known as the greatest diver in the history of the sport.
In 1978, Ron O’Brien, a former U. S. Olympic Diving Coach, became the Nadadores Head Coach. Under his leadership the team developed an astonishing, unprecedented record of success. Divers training with the Nadadores included Matt Scoggin, Rebecca Culver (Scoggin), Ron Meyer, Tim O’Brien, Skipper Wood, Dave Bergering, Michele Mitchell (Rocha), Wendy Wyland, Jesse Griffin, Howard Gassman, Steve Eberle, Ann Bonners, Kit Salness, Rob Bitner, Greg Louganis, Beth Gerard (McFarland), Doug Shaffer, Jim Gray, Randy Ableman and Jennifer Chandler.
ALL AMERICANS – Mission Viejo Nadadores Diving Team members Greg Louganis and Jennifer Chandler were named to the 1978 AAU All-American Diving Team, an honor bestowed upon the winners of events at the AAU National Diving Championships. Louganis qualified by winning four of the six menâ€™s titles. Chandler won two of the six women's titles.
Meg Neyer, 18, recent graduate of Mission Viejo High School, held off three-time Olympian Cynthia Potter of Dallas and 1976 Gold medalist Jenny Chandler of Mission Viejo to win the women's 3 meter diving at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The 1980 Olympic Team including Nadadores Greg Louganis, Dave Burgering, Kevin Machemer, Randy Ableman, and Meg Neyer will travel to international meets in China and Japan, but will not compete at the Moscow Games.
Age Group Diving Coach Jeff Shaffer, age 24, of the Mission Viejo Nadadores Diving Team was named “Age-Group Coach of the Year,” by Pennsylvania Diving Association. Shaffer, who has been at Mission Viejo for one year, produced two age-group champions in 1981 and coached the Nadadores to the 1981 Age-Group National Championships. Age Group National Champions included Krista Wilson and Wendy Williams
The Nadadores Dive Team took all four World Championship titles (mens and womens) in 1982 with U.S. World team members Greg Louganis, Meg Neyer, and Wendy Wyland. Wendy Williams earned her second Junior National Championship title.
Michele Mitchell won her first Senior National title, while Wendy Williams won her third consecutive Junior National Age-group title. The Nadadores continued to dominate the Senior National Championships winning the team title at both Indoor and Outdoor Championships since Summer of 1979.
The Nadadores Dive Team was well represented at the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, with the U.S. member team including Greg Louganis, Michelle Mitchell and Wendy Wyland
In 1985, Ron O'Brien and Jeff Shaffer moved to Mission Bay, Florida, taking most of the Nadadores Senior Divers and many National Age Group team members with them after winning both the Senior National Championships and the Junior National Championships.
Following the summer of 1985, Olympians Dave Burgering, as head Coach, and Janet Ely, as assistant coach both immediately began the process of rebuilding the Nadadores Diving Team to its former status.
Earning a fourth place Senior National team ranking with four divers placing in the top ten, some of the Nadadores remaining top senior level competitors Scott Fosdick, J.D. MacGregor and Krista Wilson show that the Nadadores are still strong competitors within the United States Diving program.
Joy Burkholder won her first Junior Age-Group National Championship title, while Karla Goltman represented the Nadadores at Senior Nationals and the Olympic Festival.
The Nadadores Team regained its National Championships status by winning the 1988 Junior National Championships in Orlando, Florida. Top 13 & Under finalists were: Jenny Maxwell, Lynelle Auringer, Sandy Zubrin, Carolyn Pratt; 14-15 divers included Joy Burkholder, Susie Mulaney, Chris Vonk, and Jason David; 16-18 finalists included Meredith Herbert, Julie Handren, Sarah Marsh, Mellisa Kuller, Phil Smith, Brian Earley, Amy Palmer and Lisa Heckner.
In 1989, the Nadadores Diving Team continued the rebuilding of its Age Group Program, winning its second straight Junior National Championship. Janet Ely took over as head coach in October.
In 1990, Olympic Bronze Medalist Wendy Williams rejoined the team following four years of training at the University of Miami and proceeded to capture 3 national titles and a Bronze at the 1990 World Championships. The Junior Age-Group National Championships found the Nadadores in second place only one point out of first place.
The Nadadores won the 1991 National Age-group Championships and placed 4 divers on the 12 member 1991 World Junior Team in Obrero, Sweden. Nadadores on the U.S. World Junior Team included Joy Burkholder, Sandy Zubrin, Amy Sloan and Tyce Routson. Sandy Zubrin earned a Junior World Championship title on 3 Meter springboard.
The Nadadores won the 1992 National Age Group Championships and a third place womenâ€™s trophy from Outdoor Senior National Competition. In December of 1992, after nearly 25 years, the Mission Viejo Company turned over the last of its recreation operations to the City of Mission Viejo.
Hongping Li was named Head Coach and the Nadadores won its third consecutive National Age-Group Championship title in 1993. The team qualified four divers to the 1993 J.O. World Championship Teams in London, England. Included on the World Team were team members Kenesha Jesperson, Summer Brown, Tyce Routson and Sandy Zubrin.
With the previous success of the Junior Team advancing to senior level competitors, the coaches worked to re-develop the senior program to its former level. Janae Lautenschlager earned a 4th and 3rd on the 3 Meter and 1 Meter at Senior Nationals, and Brian Earley, who rejoined the team after winning the NCAA Championship for USC on the 10-meter platform in 1991 and 1993, won the Senior National title on 1 Meter in 1994.
Amy Sloan and Janae Lautenschlager teamed up to capture the first championship in U.S. Diving history in 3 Meter Womens synchronized diving at the 1995 Indoor Senior National Diving Championships. Paired up with Kevin McMahan, Brian Earley shared the 3 Meter Mens synchronized diving title at the 1995 Senior Outdoor National Championships and FINA World Cup.
In 1995, at the JO National Championship, rising star Erica Sorgi earned her first two gold medals after two years as runner-up in the 13 and under age group. Erica won a gold medal for the US at the Waldkraiburg International Competition in Germany. She broke into the scene at Senior National Championships and demonstrated her potential as a future Olympic hopeful.
The Nadadores graduated seven top divers from high school, most of whom earned athletic or academic scholarships, sending them off across the country to top colleges, reducing the size of the senior team.
At the 1996 Senior Indoor Championships, Kristen Walls teamed up with Kim Stanfield to share gold medals in 3 Meter synchronized diving. In March, the Nadadores won the team title at the first Winter Western Junior National competition in Minneapolis.1996 was a great year for Erica Sorgi. She started out winning the Austin Cup on 3m springboard in January at the All-American Diving Invitational. In June, she won three gold medals on 1m, 3m, and platform events at the Waldkraiburg Youth International Diving Competition in Germany. In August, Erica continued to show her domination by winning three tittles on 1m, 3m and platform events for her 14-15 age group category. A week later Erica became the youngest diver, at the age of 14, since 1974 to win the U.S. Senior National Diving Championships on the 3 meter event.
In March of 1997, the Nadadores Junior Team claimed the Winter Western National Team title in Lincoln Nebraska with the performances of top medalists Michael Hilde, Ray Vincent, Erica Healey, Carly Banks, Kristin Littell. In August of 1997, the Nadadores claimed Junior National team status by tying for team points with Team Orlando at the Junior National Championships held in Austin, Texas.
Erica Sorgi represented the United States at the Junior World Championships as the reigning US National Champion, winning her first World Championship title on platform, in Malaysia in 1997. She also earned bronze medals on the 1 meter and 3 meter events.
Erica earned her second Senior National Title on 1 meter qualifying at the 1997 Summer Senior Nationals for the World Aquatics Championships in Perth, Australia and qualified for the 3 meter competition at World Trials. Her efforts at the 1998 World Aquatics Championships earned her 15th place on 3 meter and 10th place on 1 meter, providing her with the experience and confidence necessary for future Olympic goals.
Earning the Winter Western Junior National team title for 1998, the Nadadores were led by Junior Western gold medalist Michael Hilde who earned his second and third titles. Top finalists included Ray Vincent, Carly Banks, Tiffany Manning, Erica Healey and Grant Mendiola.
Spring and Summer Senior Nationals each qualified three divers Erica Sorgi, Kristin Walls and Ray Vincent. Erica Sorgi won Gold at the Spring Senior National Championships on Platform and Synchronized Diving, qualifying for the Goodwill Games held in New York.
The Nadadores Dive Team earned the 1998 Junior National Team title with divers earning 7 gold medals. Erica Sorgi earned two additional titles for a personal total of 10 National titles, while 13 year old Michael Hilde swept all three boards earning 3 golds and 3 titles at one meet.
Also joining the ranks of National Champions were Tiffany Manning and Kristin Littell. With ten divers qualified for this prestigious competition the Nadadores represented the City of Mission Viejo in 28 events. The team took an early lead in the overall competition and finished with a total of 199 team points with Team Orlando in second place with 146 points.
Internationally, two members of the Nadadores team, Carly Banks and Tiffany Manning were selected to represent the United States as members of the US National Junior Team at the CAN-AM-MEX International competition August 19-23 in Moultrie, Georgia. Tiffany Manning won two gold medals on platform and 3 meter and Carly Banks earned a silver on platform also placing 4th on 3 meter springboard and 7th on 1 meter in the 14-15 age-group event.
At the Masters Diving level, Scott Smith, Nadadores Coach and Diver won three Gold Medals at the Worldâ€™s Masters Diving Championships in Ohio August 10-12.
Coach Hongping Li, finished out the season being selected as 1998 US Diving Developmental Coach of the Year. This honor nominated him for the 1998 Sports Developmental Coach of the Year Award given out by the U.S. Olympic Committee covering all Youth Sports.
With 62 members, the largest membership in the history of the Nadadores, the team qualified 13 diver on 24 boards for the 1999 Winter Western National Championships starting the year of with a Western National Championship title. In August, the Junior National Team comprised of ten divers won the 1999 US National Team Title qualifying both Erica Sorgi and Kimberly Driscoll for the Junior World Championships. Erica earned two additional Junior National Championship titles breaking her own personal record in the platform event.
At Spring Senior Nationals, Erica Sorgi earned her fifth Senior National Title wining the Platform and 3 meter competition. At the Summer Senior National Championships at The Woodlands, Texas in August, the team was represented by divers, Erica Sorgi, Tiffany Manning, Ray Vincent, Louie Gagnet and Robbie Quinn. Erica earned her sixth Senior National Title on the 3 meter springboard. As a top level Senior National Competitor, she will compete in June of 2000 at Olympic Trials for a ticket to Sydney, Australia to represent the United States at the 2000 Games.