Peter Richardson will enter his eighth year as the Tigers Head Coach.
In just seven seasons, the Tigers have made evident strides as much as any team in the nation under Richardson's tenure. In 2012, Tiger women's swimming and diving scored 185 points at their MPSF Conference Championships. The women’s team has improved their point total in each of the last seven seasons and in 2018, scored a combined 475 at their MPSF Championship meet.
In 2012, the men’s team scored 152 and in 2018 improved on their total with a combined 599.5 points at MPSF's. Richardson took over a program that had never won an individual or relay title at the MPSF Championships. Under Richardson, the Tigers have won six relay titles to go along with 20 individual championships and five consecutive NCAA appearances. In 2018, the Tigers were just one of two men’s and or women’s programs (Harvard) to achieve an “A” relay cut without a full allotment of scholarships.
The success in the pool under Richardson can be displayed in the progressions from the men’s and women’s relays. In a sport where hundredths of a second make a huge difference, the Pacific Tiger swim program has improved leaps and bounds under Richardson.
- W 200 Medley Relay Progression
- 2013 – 1:42.25
- 2018 – 1:39.60
- M 200 Medley Relay Progression
- 2013 – 1:29.22
- 2019 – 1:25.31
- W 800 Free Relay Progression
- 2013 – 7:34.87
- 2019 – 7:18.01
- M 800 Free Relay Progression
- 2013 – 6:45.82
- 2018 – 6:26.00
- W 200 Free Relay Progression
- 2013 – 1:35.84
- 2018 – 1:31.40
- M 200 Free Relay Progression
- 2012 – 1:22.35
- 2018 – 1:17.29
- W 400 Medley Relay Progression
- 2013 – 3:54.07
- 2018 – 3:40.59
- M 400 Medley Relay Progression
- 2013 – 3:17.61
- 2019 – 3:10.18
- W 400 Free Relay Progression
- 2012 – 3:29.77
- 2017 – 3:21.50
- M 400 Free Relay Progression
- 2013 – 3:00.50
- 2018 – 2:54.04
Years In Review:
Fresh off a historic 2018 season, Richardson guided the Tigers to another run at an NCAA Relay “A” cut. This time, the school record time and NCAA provisional cut of 1:25.31 was good enough to finish in the top 25 but not quite good enough to qualify the Tigers for the NCAA Championships. Four different Tigers won MPSF individual titles. Mason Miller won the 100 butterfly in 46.24, Angel Alcala won the 200 fly (1:45.31), Angela Gagliardo won the 200 breaststroke (2:13.24) and for the third time, Yahav Shahaff won the 100 breaststroke. For five consecutive years the program has sent athletes to NCAA post season. For the first time in history Pacific qualified a diver to the NCAA Zone Championships. In just the third season since resurrecting the diving program, freshman Mackaby Pennington placed in the top 18 in platform diving at the Zone Championships. 12 more program records were established which brings the total to 73 in Richardson’s tenure.
The 2018 season was one for the record books. For the first time in history, the Pacific men achieved an NCAA “A” cut in a relay. The relay team of Yahav Shahaff, Dylan Toy, Mason Miller and Miles Mackenzie swam a 1:17.29 in the 200 freestyle relay (19.8/19.4/18.9/19.0) to earn the “A” cut by 4 tenths of a second. That foursome finished the season ranked 17thin the country. All five mens’ relay records were broken and two of the women’s. At the MPSF Championships, the Tiger men combined to win two relays and four individual events. Not to be out done by the men’s team, the Tiger women won four events and senior Kenna Ramey, qualified for her second NCAA Championship by swimming a :52.00 in the 100 butterfly and 22.50 in the 50 freestyle. Sophomore Semaj Walker won her first MPSF Championship when she swam the 100 breastroke in a time of 1:01.09. The eight MPSF Titles was a program record. Lastly, it was the fourth consecutive year with NCAA qualifiers which is the first time program history.
The Tigers' historic 2016-2017 season saw 23 school records broken under Richardson's tutelage, giving the head coach 43 total records in just five seasons at the helm. He also helped send the third swimmer in just as many years to NCAAs as Yahav Shahaff qualified to compete in the 100 & 200 Breast and 50 Free while representing the Orange and Black. At the MPSF Championships, the Tigers won five events and were named Collegeswimming.com’s 3rdMost Improved Team in the NCAA.
In 2016, Richardson helped the Tigers send a swimmer to the NCAAs for the second year in a row as sophomore Kenna Ramey broke the school record in the 100 Fly and won the conference with a 52.57. That was one of ten new school records set under Richardson in 2015 alone. That year, the Tigers also had 20 NCAA provisional cuts.
The Tigers broke the school record in the men's 200 Medley Relay (1:26.80), the men's 800 Free Relay (6:28.52), the women's 500 Free (Jana Burkard, 4:49.61), the women's 200 IM (Whitney Jorgensen, 2:00.91), the men's 200 Free Relay (1:18.92), the men's 400 Medley Relay (3:12.77), the men's 200 Breast (Yahav Shahaff, 1:58.54), the men's 400 Free Relay (2:55.15), the men's 100 Back (Makoa Haneberg, 48.15), and the men's 100 Breast (Yahav Shahaff, 52.97). Richardson also coached MPSF Freshman of the Year Yahav Shahaff.
In just his third season, Richardson returned the Tigers to the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Margaux Verger Gourson won two events at the MPSF Championships and qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 1650 freestyle (16:09) and 500 freestyle (4:43).
In each season, the women's team has scored nearly 100 more points total than the year before since Richardson joined the program, with the men's team breaking every relay record as well. The Tigers have sent eight swimmers to the U.S. Olympic Trials under Richardson.
Return To Chris Kjeldsen Pool:
Peter was named the Tigers' Men's and Women's Swimming Head Coach on March 23, 2012 as the former Pacific swimmer returned home. In just two years, the Pacific women’s swim team has gone from 8th (season prior to Richardson’s tenure) to 5th (2013-2014) at the MPSF Championships. Freshman Margaux Verger Gourson broke the school record in the 500 freestyle last year (4:47.13) and the 2014-2015 Tigers boast their best team in the last ten years. The men’s team has enjoyed similar success under Richardson. Three of the five relay school records have been rewritten along with two individual records broken last year. His most recent recruiting class included three junior college state champions, two high school state champions and an Israeli National record holder.
Prior To Pacific:
Prior to Pacific, Richardson had been the head swimming coach at Fresno Pacific University since the program's inception in 2007. In just the fifth year as a program, Richardson has turned the men's and women's swimming team into perennial NAIA powers.
The Fresno Pacific men's swimming program won back to back NAIA National Championships in 2010 and 2011, while the women's team won the National Championship in 2012. The men's team finished sixth, second, first, first and second in the five years as a program, while the women's team has finished fifth, fourth, third, second and first.
Under Richardson's tutelage, FPU swimmers have won 31 individual national championships and 18 championship relays; while setting 24 NAIA national records. Richardson has been named the NAIA National Coach of the Year in each of the past four seasons (08-09 Men's, 09-10 Women's, 10-11 Men's, 11-12 Women's). Richardson turned FPU into a great program that compared with the best teams in the country, regardless of division. In the 2011-12 season alone, Fresno Pacific had 15 NCAA DI B cuts, one A cut and seven Olympic Trial time standards.
Richardson's success at FPU includes developing 2010 NAIA National Swimmer of the Year, Cheyenne Coffman. Coffman came to Fresno Pacific as a 24.4 50 freestyler and 1:01 backstroker. In 2010, she qualified for the Olympic trials and was ranked 17th in the country in 50 LCM freestyle (25.74). She swam the 50 yard freestyle in 22.29 and the 100 backstroke in 52.41 in her senior season with the program. Both of those times would have scored at the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships.
In the summer of 2010, Richardson helped four Sunbird swimmers qualify for USA Nationals in Irvine. In 2011, Richardson took not only individual qualifiers, but also relays to USA Nationals at Stanford University. He helped Carl Weigley to a 22nd place finish at the USA Nationals in the 100 LCM Butterfly. In 2009, FPU swimmers Cheynne Coffman, Weigley, Seamus Alger, and Jared Gilbert swam under Richardson at the US Open in Federal Way, Washington. At the US Open meet, Richardson also coached Cal-Berkeley's NCAA Champion Josh Daniels and USC NCAA qualifier Jeff Daniels to lifetime bests in the 50M and 100M LC freestyles while representing Clovis Swim Club.
At this past summer's US Olympic Trials, Richardson coached four swimmers, two of which finished the summer as some of the nation's top athletes. Carl Weigley finished the summer ranked 19th in the 100 LCM Fly and 32nd in the 100 LCM Free. Cheyenne Coffman finished 10th in the 100 LCM Back.
Peter started his swimming career at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif. and continued with Clovis Swim Club where he helped the Clovis Swim Club men's team win Summer Junior Nationals in 1999.
After high school, Richardson attended University of the Pacific where he earned his Bachelor's degree and teaching credential. While at Pacific, he was the team captain his junior and senior seasons. During those two years, the Tigers won back-to-back Big West Conference Championships in 2002 and 2003. In his senior season, Richardson received the Pacific Leadership Award for all athletics.
After college, Richardson was the assistant National Team Coach with Clovis Swim Club and the head men's & women's swim coach at Sanger High School where they won four league championships in three years. Richardson earned his Master's degree in 2007 from Fresno State. His degree is in teaching with an emphasis on multicultural education in the classroom.
Richardson and his wife, Jonelle, have four children, Gabrielle, Brooklynn, Juliette and Peter II.