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Sun Devil Swimming & Diving Announces Three Additions to Coaching Staff
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 08/02/2012
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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Aug. 2, 2012

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State University announces the additions of Sonya Porter, Stefan Ghergal and Dan Kesler to the staff of the Sun Devil swimming and diving team.

"This is an exciting time for the ASU Swimming and Diving program," said swimming head coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker. "The pool is undergoing a $1.2 million facelift and we are honored to welcome three new members to the coaching staff.  Having coaches Sonya Porter, Stefan Ghergal, and Dan Kesler on staff at ASU will bring a wealth of experience at the collegiate, national and international level as well as a passionate commitment to guiding student-athletes to achieve at the highest levels academically and athletically."

Porter, who has previously coached at Alabama, Colorado State, Northwestern, West Virginia and Louisville, will bring over 20 years of coaching experience to the Sun Devil swimming and diving staff. Porter will join the staff as the Sun Devil's new director of operations.

"Dorsey [Tierney-Walker] is one of the best coaches our there with impressive credentials at every stop in her career - athlete and coach," said Porter. "I am thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of her staff, she knows what it takes to succeed, and cares about the athlete now and for their future. ASU has everything in place for success and I can't imagine a better environment in which to be."

During her most recent coaching stint as the associate head coach of Alabama, Porter rallied the Tide to seven top-25 finishes. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, the men's team saw consecutive top-15 finishes under Porter.

Porter's list of accomplishments as associate head coach of the Crimson Tide goes on as she coached 24 athletes totaling 93 All-American honors, including Vlad Polyakov, a 12-time All-American and 2006 FINA World Champion the breaststroke as well as the 2005 and 2007 NCAA titleholder.

Porter's experience extends passed NCAA competition. She has coached U.S. National Team members Allen, Balcerzak-Field and Ashley Mosher. Balcerzak was fourth in the 100 meter breaststroke at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials and holds the American record in the 50 meter breaststroke and high point scorer in the 2000-01 World Cup Circuit.

Porter earned her B.A. in physiology and human performance with a minor in biology graduating Cum Laude from Alabama in 1996. The Australia native was awarded a fellowship for outstanding research at Colorado State.

Stefan Ghergal, known for being one of the fastest swimmers in the history of collegiate swimming, will bring his six years of assistant coaching to the home of maroon and gold. Ghergal's hire is pending HR paperwork. 

Ghergal has coached seven athletes to 25 national titles as well as four swimmers onto the world's top-100 rankings.

The former Crimson Tide swimmer was the first two-time NCAA Champion in his school's history. Ghergal won both titles in 2002 and 2003 in the 200 butterfly. Ghergal's 2003 championship claiming time ranked third on the all-time list; only behind Olympic champions Pablo Morales and Melvin Stewart.

During his 2002 season, Ghergal also broke the long-standing 200 butterfly school record held at the time by 1984 Olympic Gold medalist Jon Sieben.

Ghergal has competed in three Olympiads, his most recent being the 2008 in Beijing where he set the Romanian national record in the semi-finals of the 200 butterfly. Ghergal was also a member of the 400 medley relay that holds the new Romanian national record.

In the 2004 FINA World Championships, Ghergal claimed a spot as a silver medalist in the 200 butterfly. That same year he finished fifth in the 200 at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Ghergal also competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney for his native Romania.

Kesler joins Arizona State from Wingate, where he was an assistant coach for the past four seasons leading the Bulldog's distance swimming group. In his first season, Kesler's athletes had a one, two, three sweep in the men's mile at the South Atlantic Conference Championships.

As a collegiate athlete Kesler competed for the NC State, where he was a top distance swimmer for the Wolfpack. In 2001, Kesler earned NC State's Peter Fogarassy Most improved Swimmer award. He capped his college swimming career by recording a provisional qualifying standard for the NCAA Championships in the 1650 free in 2003. Prior to NC State, Kesler qualified for the 2000 Olympic Trials in the same event.

The Sun Devil swimming and diving team opens up the season at home on Sat., Oct. 27 in a dual meet against Grand Canyon University and Pac-12 opponent Washington State at Noon PT at the newly-renovated Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. 

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