Former Aggie men's swimmer trains with singular goal of earning a trip to London
Motekaitis just completed his 18th overall season at UC Davis and his third as assistant coach with the women's swimming program.
As head coach of the UC Davis men's swimming program for his first 15 years, Motekaitis guided the Aggies into conference and national prominence at his alma mater, culminating with a Big West Conference Championship during the 2010 season. Under his leadership, the Aggies won the conference title with a record 985.5 points, the most ever in a five-team field and set two schools records and hit 12 NCAA "B" Consideration times. He was named Men's Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
Under his tutelage, Scott Weltz, who finished his Aggie career as one of the most decorated swimmers in UC Davis history, became the first UC Davis student-athlete in its Division I history to earn All-American honors after finishing 15th in the 200 individual medley at the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. The 2006 Big West Conference Freshman of the Year was named Male Athlete of the Year in back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2010.
Then in 2012, Weltz achieved an even loftier goal in his sport, qualifying for the Olympic Games in London. The Motekaitis protegé had placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke at the Olympic Trials, then upset Eric Shanteau and Brendan Hansen in the 200 breast final with a Trials record of 2:09.01. Weltz finished third in his prelim (2:09.67), set a new PR of 2:08.99 in the semifinal, then finished fifth in a thrilling final with a 2:09.02 clocking.
This marked the second time Motekaitis had coached an athlete to the Olympic Games. Eight years prior, he had mentored former Cal standout Haley Cope to three medals (including two gold) at the FINA World Championships, multiple World Cup gold medals and a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games. In coaching both Weltz and Cope, Motekaitis was selected to the USA Swimming National Team staff as a personal coach for those respective seasons.
Prior to beginning Big West Conference competition, Motekaitis guided the Aggies to the team title in their final year as a member of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference in 2004. UC Davis claimed six individual titles and three relay championships at the meet.
In Motekaitis' career, his student-athletes have captured the university's Colby E. "Babe" Slater Award, given to the outstanding male athlete of the year, three times and twice won the W.P. Lindley Award as the top scholar-athlete. In 2005, one of his prized pupils, 1998 national champion Tadeshi Kaneko, was inducted into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame. Two years later, Motekaitis protegés Pat Foster and Tea Austin earned their respective nods into the Hall of Fame.
Motekaitis also served as head coach for the Davis Senior High School swimming program until 2007-08. Under his guidance, Blue Devil teams have earned 23 straight league titles and an astounding 19 Sac-Joaquin Section championships.
A 1983 graduate of UC Davis with a bachelor's degree in history, Motekaitis was also an All-American swimmer for the Aggies throughout his college career. He set individual school records in three events as well as two relay marks. As an educator, he earned a master's degree in sports management & fitness from the University of San Francisco in 1997.
Motekaitis' wife, former NCAA champion and CAAHOF enshrinee Koren Pollock, coached swimming and water polo at nearby Sacramento City College. The couple has four children: Ty, Samantha, Mia and Elle.