Dave Allen and his Seahawks extended their dynasty as the men's program captured its 11th straight CAA title in 2011-12, Allen's 35th season at the helm of the swimming and diving programs.
While pushing their championship haul to 11-in-a-row, the Seahawks remained one of four teams in the history of the Colonial Athletic Association to fashion a championship streak of at least 10 years. UNCW led from the opening day as it cruised to a 57-point win.
Since originating the program in 1977-78, Allen has coached the Seahawks to 14 CAA championships (11 men's and three women's) and two Eastern titles. Along the way, he has been named CAA Coach-of-the-Year 14 times and mentored numerous student-athletes who have collected academic and athletic honors.
In 2010-11, the men pulled away on the final day to ensure their record-setting title. Luke Murphy and Michael Baric led the charge combining for 80.5 points in the meet. UNCW earned 16 All-CAA honors on the men's side while the women hauled in an impressive 19 while finishing third. The Seahawks combined to win six event titles with Stephanie Forlenza taking the women's 200 Backstroke and setting a meet record in the process.
The Seahawks again were the top program in the CAA with the men winning and the women finishing second at the 2009-10 championships. The men were fifth in the final edition of the CollegeSwimming.com poll while the women ranked 11th.
The Seahawk women featured Caitlin Kirsteier, who won the 100 Butterfly for the fourth straight year. Kirsteier, who earned CAA Champion honors in four events, earned the Thomas V. Moseley Award, the university's highest athletic award. She also became the first competitor from the women's program to compete in the NCAA Championships, swimming in the 50 Free and 100 Fly events.
Rob Anderson, meanwhile, paced the men in 2009-10 capping a tremendous career by also competing in the NCAA Championships. Anderson swam in the 50 Free and 100 Breast stroke.
Both Kirsteier and Anderson were tabbed for All-America honors by Collegeswimming.com.
Both of Allen's teams in 2006-07 finished in CollegeSwimming.com's Top 25 poll after maintaining UNC Wilmington's dominance in the pool. Moreover, senior Melissa Milstead was named the CAA's Women's Swimming Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year for the second straight year and received the school's Chancellor's Cup Award for Academic Excellence.
In 2005-06, Allen was tabbed CAA Men's and Women's Coach-of-the-Year after guiding the Seahawks to a sweep of the league's hardware. The men's team, powered by 35 All-CAA performances, cruised to a 277-point victory over George Mason. The women, meanwhile, topped the Patriots by 155.50 points behind 21 All-CAA swimmers.
Individually, senior diver Dean Berman was named CAA Diver-of-the-Meet and Diver-of-the-Year, and became the first Seahawk to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta. Senior Michael Krayer was named the CAA's Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year in swimming for the second consecutive season and was honored as the top male scholar-athlete in the conference.
On the women's side, Milstead was selected the CAA's Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year after the team won its first championship since 1999. Overall, Allen has guided the Lady Seahawks to three titles, including back-to-back honors in 1998 and 1999. He also directed the women to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) crown in 1998.
The women's team captured the 1998-99 conference title in one of the most dominating performances in the history of the meet. The Lady Seahawks set four conference records, established 11 school records and won 11 of the 20 events in building an impressive 161-point win over James Madison.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Allen started the swimming and diving program in the fall of 1977, amassing 476 dual meet wins at three institutions. Prior to UNCW, where he has a record of 476-323 in 35 seasons, he coached one season at Allegheny (4-7) and then six at Potsdam State (44-26).
Overall, Allen has been named CAA Women's Coach-of-the-Year five times and CAA Men's Coach-of-the-Year nine times.
Allen swam collegiately at Springfield (Mass.) College and began his coaching career at Allegheny College in 1970-71. He spent one year at Allegheny before moving on to Potsdam State (N.Y.), where he compiled a solid 44-26 record with the Bears.
At Potsdam, Allen's squad captured the state championship in 1977 and was ranked No. 15 in the NCAA Division III poll. In his final two seasons in New York, Allen coached five All-Americans and was voted Coach-of-the-Year. He was inducted into Potsdam's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
The Seahawk program took off in 1977-78 with Allen at the helm. In 35 seasons at UNCW, Allen has coached 15 All-Americans, 114 conference champions and 19 Eastern titlists.
One of the highlights of Allen's career occurred in March of 1982 when butterfly specialist Sam O'Leary became the school's first NCAA Division I All-American. Another Allen pupil, Burak Erdem, is one of only two swimmers in CAA history to repeat as conference champion four straight years in the 200 Backstroke.
Sprinter Dan Gallagher finished fourth at the 2002 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships in Athens, Ga., for his second All-American performer and Berman made it a trifecta in 2005-06 with his run in Atlanta.
Allen's student-athletes have also enjoyed great success in the classroom. Eight swimmers - Steve Hewins (1990-91), Laura Doepp (1991-92), Deb Kresho (1993-94), Brendan Curl (1999-00), Tiago Barreira (2002-03), Michael Krayer (2005-06), Melissa Milstead (2006-07), Bennett Rainey (2009-10) - have captured the Chancellor's Cup, the school's highest academic honor for athletes. Hewins also became the first UNC Wilmington athlete to earn a CAA Post-Graduate Scholarship, while Doepp was named to the GTE-CoSIDA District III Academic All-America team.
Krayer closed out his career as one of the most decorated swimmers in the program's history. In addition to helping the Seahawks secure four CAA titles, he was named the CAA Male Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year in 2004-05 and 2005-06.