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Three on Auburn Swimming & Diving Staff Receive Promotions -- July 5, 2004

AUBURN, Ala., July 5 - THREE members of the Auburn swimming and diving staff have received promotions, Auburn's Director of Competitive Aquatics David Marsh announced on Friday. Cathy Sursi, Dave Durden and Ralph Crocker have all been rewarded for their tireless work.

Sursi, a graduate assistant at Auburn the last two seasons, has been named the new assistant coach for men's and women's swimming. Her duties will include assisting with both recruiting and administration for both the men's and women's teams. A former swimmer at Auburn (1997-2000) and a team captain her senior year, she still is ranked in the school's top 10 in the women's 100-yard breaststroke.

"When she was swimming here I had a hunch that someday she would be a coach," Marsh said. "She has all the communication skills and the athletic curiosity that is the foundation of many great coaches."

This past season Sursi saw her role increase as she was asked to run practices during leading up to the SEC and NCAA Championships while Co-Head Women's Coach Kim Brackin was out on maternity leave. She has proven to be a highly competent and highly reliable part of Marsh's staff since stepping onto the deck in a coaching capacity.

"I am really excited for this opportunity to take the next step in the Auburn program," Sursi said. "Being a swimmer for David (Marsh) and then a graduate assistant for two years has prepared me well for this position, but there is still much to learn. This coaching staff has such a good dynamic and to be a part of it is really a thrill for me"

Durden, who will enter his fifth season on staff, has been promoted to assistant men's head coach. This past season he was given the reigns to the men's team, and they responded, amassing an NCAA-record 634 points in winning their second straight NCAA title. Durden, who graduated from UC-Irvine with a degree in electrical engineering in 1998, will continue to serve as the recruiting coordinator for the men's team and will also implement the post-graduate program for the Tigers.

"Dave's had a tremendous impact on the program. His energy, enthusiasm and confidence have been one of the key factors in our program's success," Marsh said.

"We are in an exciting era of Auburn swimming," Durden said. "This staff has been together for four years and in those four years we have won five national championships. We are in a good flow right now and it is exciting to remain in a position where we can go after national championships and Olympic medals.

"I think over the next four years we can set ourselves up to be a program that is looking to set world records and win Olympic medals. We will look to not only maximize an athletes' potential, but help them become some of the world's best swimmers," Durden said.

Crocker's new title is associate director of intercollegiate swimming and diving. A former Auburn swimmer himself (1972-1975), he has been a part of Marsh's staff for the past five years. Though his biggest contributions in the pool can be seen in the distance program, better known as 'RHOP', he also handles many of the administrative and oversight duties for both the men's and women's teams.

"This promotion is a reflection of Ralph's contributions to the program which begins with his work in the pool, but on many occasions goes late into the evenings as any successful program needs to have," Marsh said.

"I'm very excited about the opportunities at Auburn," Crocker said. "I think my family has been blessed to be in Auburn and being able to continue with Auburn University is what we have always hoped for. I think it will be a very big challenge to move onward and upward from where we have been over the past couple of years."