The Huskies finished fourth in last week's inaugural Conference Championships
University of Connecticut diving coach John Bransfield is in his 17th year with the program. Bransfield, the 2012 BIG EAST Women's Diving Coach of the Year, led Connecticut to a very successful season last year, guiding UConn divers to the NCAA National Championships for the 4th consecutive season.
Following a dual meet schedule of building and shaping, five UConn divers scored at the Big East Conference Championships, and three made All-Big East after finishing in the top 3 spots. Senior Danielle Cecco finished second on the 1-meter event and fourth on 3-meter. Fellow senior Grant Fecteau was third on the 1-meter and fourth on the 3-meter, while freshman John Brice was third on the 3-meter.
Also scoring at the conference meet were senior Nicole Borriello and junior Tony Cortright. Four divers continued on to the NCAA Zone Meet, and all made the finals on both boards. Highlighting the Zone Meet was Danielle Cecco, a returning All-American from her junior year, who finished second on both boards and qualified for her third consecutive NCAA National Championships. The former Big East Champ and three-time NCAA Zone Champion graduated with all four school and pool records on both springboards.
The diving program graduated three divers in May and has a young squad on the boards this year. With one senior, two sophomores and five freshmen, they are working hard to advance their skills following a regimen of advanced training methods and technical progressions. Bransfield is both confident and excited with the current team, seeing opportunity to create more depth in the program with the necessary focus already visible in his athletes.
Developing champions is not something new to Bransfield. In his 36 years of college coaching, he has had many conference champions and at least one conference champion at each and every school that he has worked at, including Army, Maine, Springfield and Northern Michigan. Bransfield has coached several national qualifiers including a four-time NCAA Division II Champion. In 2003, Melissa Kull became the first Connecticut diver to compete at the NCAA National Championships. Stephen Ferreira ('10) competed at the NCAA's, followed by Cecco, who made the Big Dance in '11, '12 and '13.
With a background which extends beyond the collegiate realm of diving, Bransfield has enjoyed many years of success with U.S. Diving as a Junior Olympic coach. In 1988 he was awarded a stipend to spend a few weeks working with two U.S Olympic Coaches. Bransfield has considerable experience with diving off the pool deck as well. Four times he served on the NCAA Diving Rules Subcommittee, and in the early 90's he was appointed as a Regional Technical Director of United States Diving. While at Army, he hosted numerous clinics for U.S Diving Coaches involving several U.S Olympic Team Coaches. In 1998, he served as the Competition Manager of the Goodwill Games in New York.
Bransfield has taught numberous coaching clinics for Grass Roots fundamentals, Spotting Training and Safety Certification. In the summer of 2003, Bransfield spent close to three weeks in the People's Republic of China. The opportunity allowed him to closely observe the training programs at two Provincial sites and attend the Asian Junior Championships.
Bransfield is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., where he received his bachelor's degree from St. Francis College. He earned a master's at Northern Michigan and continued to study biomechanics while at Springfield College. Bransfield and his wife, Ginny, have four sons, and presently reside in Storrs.