SANTA BARBARA, Calif. July 4 – ON MONDAY UC Santa Barbara head swimming coach Gregg Wilson recently named Naya Higashijima an assistant coach with the program.
Higashijima replaces Brandon Seider who becomes head coach of the Santa Barbara Swim Club. She will begin her tenure at UCSB on August 1 and work primarily with the Gaucho sprinters and breaststrokers, while also playing a major role in recruiting for both the men and women.
As an undergraduate assistant coach at Oregon State last season, she helped the Beaver women place 20th at the NCAA Championships, their highest national finish ever.
In 2003 the native of Kawaguchi, Japan completed one of the most successful careers in OSU history, setting five school records while recording 106 first-place finishes in dual meet and invitational competition, also a program record. Higashijima was a two-time All-American in the 200 butterfly, placing 10th as a junior at the NCAA's in 2002 before earning 8th as a senior.
She received her B.A. in liberal studies from Oregon State earlier this month, minoring in both Chinese and athletic administration.
After two seasons at UCSB, Seider will become head coach of the Santa Barbara Swim Club on Sept. 1. He has been an assistant at the SBSC for nine years, working under Ira Klein, who is departing to accept the position of Director of Field Services for USA Swimming.
In addition to Wilson – entering his 28th season as head coach of the Gauchos – and Higashijima, the Santa Barbara coaching staff includes sixth-year assistant Jeremy Kipp.