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Kongzheng "KZ" Li concluded his fourth season as the head diving coach for the University of Michigan swimming and diving program in 2014. He oversaw both men's and women's programs from September 2010 until April 2014.
In 2014, women's diver Carey Chen qualified for the NCAA Championships, becoming the second diver to do so under Li's tutelage. Both Chen and men's diver Timothy Faerber also scored on all three boards at the Big Ten Championships.
In 2012, Li helped guide Amanda Lohman to two NCAA All-America honorable mentions, the first U-M diver to receive two honors at the same NCAA Championships meet since 1994. On the men's side, he coached Jack Lee to an eighth-place finish on platform and a 10th-place finish on three-meter.
Li has spent his entire 20-year career as a head coach. Prior to coming to Michigan, he was co-head coach of the U.S. Elite Diving Academy in Columbus, Ohio, for the last two years. Before that, Li led the National Training Centre of Diving in Melbourne, Australia, from 2006-08. In Melbourne, Li's divers won 14 gold medals at the 2007 and 2008 Australian Elite Junior National Championships and two bronze medals at the 2008 Junior World Championships. His divers also won one gold and two silvers at the 2008 Australian Open (Senior) National Championships, with one diver finishing as high as fifth at the 2008 FINA World Championships.
He has Big Ten experience, as he was the head diving coach at the University of Minnesota for seven years (1996-2003), where he produced eight NCAA All-Americans, six Big Ten champions and 45 Big Ten Championships finalists. In addition, three of his divers won Big Ten Diver of the Year and four were selected as Big Ten Diver of the Championships. Li is a two-time Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year, winning the honor in 2001 (men) and 1998 (women). Li's coaching career began in 1991, as the head coach of Texas Aquatics (Austin, Texas) before heading up Team Orlando (Fla.) Diving in 1993. While in Orlando, his team won the 1996 USA Diving Junior National Championships and placed second at the same event in both 1994 and 1995. He coached four USA Senior National champions and 10 USA Junior National champions during his four-year tenure.
Li has served as a head coach or coach for the USA Diving National Team on more than 20 occasions, including his instruction of divers at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In addition, he has twice coached at the World Championships (1998, 2001), three times at the World Diving Cup (1993, 1995, 1997) and once at the 1995 Pan-American Games. For his efforts, Li was named USA Diving Junior Olympic Coach of the Year in 1994 and earned the Coach of Excellence Award at the USA Diving Senior National Championships in 1996.
As a major advocate for the sport of diving, Li has served on many boards and committees for USA Diving. He served as a member of the Diversity Committee (1992-98), the Rules Committee (1997-99) and the Olympic International Committee (1998-2000). In addition, he was also the Senior Chairman of the Minnesota Diving Association (from 1998-2003) and held the same post for the Pacific Diving Association (Southern California) from 2004 to 2006.
A distinguished diver, Li was a three-time member of the Chinese Olympic Team, and won a bronze medal on the platform at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. From 1975-88, Li participated in more than 50 international competitions, winning 25 gold medals, 14 silver medals and 10 bronze medals.
Li graduated from the Beijing Institute of Physical Education.
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This Week in Michigan Women's Swimming & Diving #10
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