Record-breaking performances and monumental accomplishments have been the norm during Diana Caskey
’s 20-year tenure as Columbia’s head women's swimming coach. However, there has never been a more thrilling time for Caskey and the Columbia Lions than the present.
The 2010-2011 season marked the third time in school history that the Lions were third at the Ivy League Championships, an all-time high finish for the program. Katie Meili
'13CC won the 2011 Ivy League Championship in the 200 yard individual medley. All seventeen swimmers who competed at the 2011 Ivy League Championships achieved at least best times at the meet, and three Lions set school records at the competition. With Meili and Salena Huang
'15CC already qualified for the 2012 US Olympic Team Trials, Stella Zhao
'15CC and Alena Kluge
'14CC slated to compete at the Canadian Olympic Trials, and Isabelle Vandenbroucke
'12CC making a run at the Mexican Olympic team, the 2011-2012 campaign promises to be exciting both within the conference, nationally, and internationally.
"I'm more excited about Columbia Athletics and Columbia Women's Swimming and Diving than I have ever been," Caskey said. "With our incoming class and returners this year, we are in a place to make our mark nationally, as a team, in a way that we never have before. This isn't about one athlete or one class. Our vision is to have the best group of women to ever swim and dive for the Lions make their mark this season, and continue to rise in the ranks nationally in the years to come."
Under her tutelage, Columbia and the Ivy League had their first NCAA women’s swimming champion and Honda-Broderick Cup award winner in Cristina Teuscher ’00CC. Additionally, all university records have been broken and Lion swimmers won individual and relay titles for the first time at the Ivy League Championships (known as the Eastern Championships until 1998). Columbia also had its first-ever NCAA qualifier in Danicia Ambron and Olympian in Teuscher. In 2001, Caskey had her third swimmer go to nationals when Lucy Eccleston ’03BC qualified by winning the 200 butterfly at the Ivy League Championships in a school-record time of 2:00.43. Lauren Morford '07CC added an Ivy League championship in 2004 in the 1000 freestyle, and 2008 saw the 200-yard medley relay team of Lauren Fraley, Amy Krakauer, Allison Hobbs
, and Hannah Galey capture the Ivy League title.
The 2008-09 women’s swimming season marked several highlights for the program. The Lions set nine new school records in the 200 and 400 medley relays, 200 and 400 free relates, the 100 butterfly, the 100 and 200 back, the 200 breast, and the 100 free. The team also set a new pool record in the 200 free relay. Tying the most dual meet wins in history (nine), Columbia went on to finish fifth at the Ivy League Championships, and saw outstanding performances from Hannah Galey (100 free champion) and Allison Hobbs
(100 fly champion).
2007-08 saw the Lions break seven different school records on their way to finishing third at the Ivy League championships, the best result in school history. Columbia tallied the most dual wins in school history with a 9 -2 overall record, and 5-2 Ivy League mark in dual competition.
Caskey’s coaching career at Columbia began in 1991 when she served as the assistant coach of the Columbia men and women’s swim teams. She took over the women’s program the following year, leading the Lions to one of their most successful seasons ever with a fourth-place Ivy League finish.
Prior to Columbia, Caskey spent three years at her prep school alma mater, The Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey, teaching English and assisting with both the school and USS club teams. During her tenure, the school team won two National High School championships. At the club level, Peddie Aquatics placed second in two Senior National Championships. Caskey coached two Olympians as well as numerous Olympic qualifiers, NCAA finalists, USS National Champions and senior and junior national qualifiers.
A 1985 graduate of Princeton University, Caskey was a standout swimmer for the Tigers, earning All-American and All-Ivy League honors. She held the Princeton record in the 500 freestyle for 14 years and led off the 800 free relay that won the AIAW Intercollegiate Championships in 1982. Before graduating from Peddie in 1981, she also enjoyed a fine prep swimming career. As the team captain, she set school records in both the 200 and 500 freestyle and won Peddie’s scholar-athlete award.
Caskey and her husband, Larry Good, reside in Morningside Heights with their daughters, Sierra, 10, and Stella, 7.