Men's Swimming & Diving
For nearly a quarter of a century Mike Dickson has guided
Chaffey College’s aquatics programs, coaching some top notch
swimmers and water polo players. Dickson started at Chaffey College
as the men’s and women’s swim coach along with the men’s water polo
coach. During his nine seasons as Panthers water polo coach Dickson
led them to three state playoffs appearances and their most recent
Foothill Conference title in 1980.
Chaffey College has won swimming titles for men’s in 1984, 1985,
1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995. The women won conference championships in
1983, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1994 and 1995.
"We need to have good high schools and a good, competitive
facility," said Dickson about running a successful swimming program.
"We need to be able to draw in the club swimmers."
Dickson has been blessed with more than his share of talented
swimmers. In the past 23 years a total of 150 individuals or relay
race teams have been named All-American, based on having one of the
top 16 times in a particular event. From this year’s squad eight
individual and one relay time made the qualifying marks. Ati Yuliani
led the women’s squad at the state finals by finishing third in both
the 500 freestyle and 200 individual medley, as well as garnering
second in the 1,650 freestyle. Because of her split time she was
named all-American also in the 50 butterfly. All three men’s relay
teams placed in the state finals: 800 free, 400 free and 400 medley.
Elsa Masution, who swam at Chaffey, still holds the junior college
record for the 100 and 200 individual medleys. Dave Chaves was a
diving champion in the 3-meter springboard back in 1985-86 for
"The problem in recruiting divers is that the high schools have done
away with it because of the liability," he said.
Currently the Panthers have two men and one woman who dive. This
year the swimming program had 15 men and 13 women at the end of the
season, which is the biggest team Dickson has had in several years.
Dickson said he hoped to see a resurgence in the Panther’s men’s
water polo program. That will attract more of the top swimmers in
the area. If the Panthers start a women’s water polo program, high
school girls who compete in both swimming and water polo would be
more apt to attend Chaffey College.
When Dickson recruits swimmers he talks about the benefits of
attending a community college. Another selling point is that Chaffey
College as its own academic counselor for athletes. They also get
priority for class registration.
"Good high school swimmers can be competitive here," said Dickson.
"When you quote them the qualifying times for races they know
exactly what you’re talking about. A few swimmers go on from here to
compete at the university level."
Jeff Miller, a Chaffey College alum is a good example of that.
Miller helped lead California State University, Bakersfield to two
Division II national championships. Most of his swimmers, however
end on concentrating on academics. Chaffey College has had great
success in placing its swimmers and other athletes into four-year
Born in Spokane, Wash. Dickson and his family moved to Montclair
when he was seven. He graduated Montclair High in 1967 and competed
primarily as a diver and also swam the breaststroke and freestyle.
In 1968 and 1973 Dickson dove for the Panthers swim team under the
direction of Chaffey College Hall of Fame coach Howard Theurer.
During the intermittent years Dickson served in the U.S. Army,
stationed in Germany. He came back to Cal Poly Pomona, where he dove
in 1974. Dickson coached various levels of swimming and diving for
Montclair High between 1967 and 1978.
As a member of the Indonesian coaching staff Dickson currently has
the opportunity to mentor and prepare Indonesian swimmers for the
Southeast Asian Games and Pan-Pacific Games. This has given him the
opportunity to travel quite extensively.
Currently Dickson keeps busy teaching aquatics classes. He’s the
water safety chairman of the American Red Cross Inland Valley
Chapter, instructs life guard training, teaches water safety
courses, first aid and CPR. His responsibilities also include
teaching weight lifting classes, swimming and diving classes.
Dickson and his wife of 24 years, Bonni, live in Ontario. They have
two children. Randy, 29 heads up the drama program at Etiwanda High.
Rob, 34 has two children of his own, Robbie, 10 and John, 8.
In his spare time Dickson likes to collect dust jackets from the lat
1930s and early 1940s. He likes to travel as he’s hitch hiked across
Europe and also thumbed his way from California to New York. After
this semester is over Dickson plans to vacation in Texas.
This summer Dickson will run a swim program for 1,500 children
between 8 and 17 with one camp for instructional swimming and
another camp for more competitive swimming.
Assistant Coach -
Assistant Coach - Women's Swimming