The Bulldogs' swimming and diving program is hosting learn-to-swim lessons at the Fresno State Aquatics Center this summer.
Photos by Geoff Thurner, Copyright 2014.
In Patrick Ota's second season as the assistant swim coach with Fresno State he has led the Bulldogs to new levels in the sport. Ota took Dani Yoho a 23.0 sprinter to a 22.3 this season and Yoho won the Mountain West 50 free Champion title. Yoho swam a b-cut time in both the 50 free and 100 free and qualified to compete at the NCAA National Championships, the first Bulldog to do so since the program restarted in 2008. Ota also coached sprint and stroker Alex Madsen from a 2:01 back stroke to a 1:58 this season achieving an NCAA b-cut.
In his first season he worked closely with the sprint freestyle group and coached Dani Yoho at her first USA Senior Nationals meet as well as the 2012 Olympic Trials. Ota helped lead the 'Dogs to break six school swimming records in the 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 200 and 400 individual medley, and in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays. He has been a vital part in recruiting strong swimmers with great potential to add to the competitive Fresno State team.
Ota joined the Fresno State swimming coaching staff in 2011, with two national titles coaching at Fresno Pacific and three Big West Conference 100m backstroke championships swimming for UCSB.
"Not only is Patrick a local, but he has experience in recruiting and starting programs," said head swimming & diving coach Jeanne Fleck. "He has great experience swimming and coaching sprinters. The community, California coaches, and both guys and girls love him. He will be a perfect fit for us."
Ota has spent the last four seasons coaching at Fresno Pacific, since their program's inception in 2007. During his four year stint, Ota helped guide the Sunbirds to two NAIA National Men's Championships (2010, 2011) and two runner-up NAIA finishes (2009 Men, 2011 Women).
With the women's program, Ota worked closely with Cheyenne Coffman, a local swimmer, who was named the 2010 National NAIA Swimmer of the Year. He has experienced great success with both men and women in his coaching career, and also in his own swimming career.
Ota swam all four of his collegiate swimming years at UC Santa Barbara. As a Gaucho, Ota competed in the 100m backstroke for UCSB's decorated head coach Gregg Wilson. He was a three time conference champion for the 100m backstroke and set a Big West Conference record of 48.18 in 2006. Ota helped the Gauchos win two conference championships (2004, 2006) during his four year collegiate career and was an NCAA qualifier in the 100m backstroke his senior year (2006).
Ota graduated from Immanuel High School in Reedley, Calif. and is a former competitive swimmer with Raisin Country Aquatics. At the end of his high school swimming career, he was a four time CIF champion and a six time high school All-American. Ota was also a five time national-qualifier for the 100m backstroke, with his highest finish at 16th in 2004.