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Jane Figueiredo

Jane Figueiredo
Name: Jane Figueiredo
Sport: Diving
Role: Head Coach for GB Diving and coach to Tom Daley
Nationality: Zimbabwe

Check out Jane’s updates from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – HERE


Olympic Games performance as an athlete… Olympic Games experience as a head coach… NCAA Coach of the Year awards… Conference USA Coach of the Year honors… National Independent Conference Coach of the Year accolades… Award-winning athletes… All of these awards and more can be found on Figueiredo’s amazing resume.

International Coaching Experience

In addition to Figueiredo’s accomplished NCAA coaching career, she also has an established coaching history at the international level. She has served as an Olympic diving coach for two different countries, Russia and Great Britain.

Figueiredo was the Russian diving coach at the 2004 Athlens Olympic Games, where she guided former Cougar Pakhalina and the other Russian divers. Pakhalina and Vera Ilyina combined to win a Silver Medal in synchronized diving, while Pakhalina captured a Bronze Medal with her performance on the 3-meter springboard.

During the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she guided one of her current student-athlete divers Anastasia Pozdniakova and Pakhalina to a silver medal in the 3-meter synchronized springboard event. Pakhalina also took silver in the 3-meter springboard event.

At the 2000 Sydney Games, Figueiredo was the coach of Russia’s Pakhalina and Ilynia, who captured gold medals in the women’s 3-meter synchronized diving. Pakhalina and Ilyina placed second and third, respectively, at the World Championships in Japan in July 2001, with Pakhalina taking second in synchronized diving at the 2001 Goodwill Games.

Figueiredo was chosen to coach Great Britain’s divers at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

After the 2008-09 collegiate season, Figueiredo coached Pozdniakova and Pakhalina to a third place finish in the 3-meter synchronized diving event at the World Championships. In addition to their bronze medal, Pakhalina won the 1-meter event and Pozdniakova finished seventh in the 3-meter event.

During the UH offseason in 2002, she coached Pakhalina and Vera Ilyina to a silver medal at the 2002 European Championships in Berlin with Pakhalina also taking a gold medal in the 3-meter board.

As a competing athlete

It’s no surprise that Figueiredo has continued the excellent UH diving tradition after concluding her own stellar career at the collegiate, national and international levels. As a Cougar from 1982-86, Figueiredo established herself as one of the top divers in school history, winning the 1984 Southwest Conference title on the 3-meter springboard.

Figueiredo was a five-time All-America competitor for Houston and finished second on the 1-meter springboard at the 1985 NCAA Championships. She represented her native Zimbabwe in international competitions for five years and competed in the 1982 and 1986 World Championships. As a member of the Portuguese national team, Figueiredo competed in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where she finished 22nd in the preliminaries.

Upon graduating from Houston in 1987 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, Figueiredo worked in the restaurant business for four years.

She also fostered an interest in coaching by serving as an assistant for the Cougar Diving Club. As head coach of the Cougar age-group divers, she was awarded the National Age Group Coach of the Year award by USA Diving for the 1991-92 season. She was the USA National Team age-group coach in 1994 for a team that participated in Waldkraiburg, Germany. She also coached at the World Age Group Diving Championships in China in 1995, where Kathy Pesek, a member of the Cougar Diving Club, finished fifth. She coached four Junior Olympic National Champions.


The Houston divers went out in style at their last Conference USA Championships sweeping the top-three spots in all three events. Julia Lonnegren earned her second consecutive C-USA Diver of the Year award while newcomer Danielle Shedd picked up Freshman Diver of the Year accolades. Along with Natasha Burgess, all three represented Houston at the NCAA Zone D Diving meet.


Julia Lonnegren became the fourth diver in C-USA history to sweep the three diving events at the conference championships en route to being named the Diver of the Meet and Diver of the Year. Natasha Burgess finished second to Lonnegren in the three events to take runner up honors and both posted NCAA Zone scores. Lonnegren qualified for the NCAA Championships and turned in three top-30 finishes to represent Houston.


Figueiredo claimed another C-USA Diving Coach of the Year award after leading her two divers to C-USA titles. Lacey Truelove won the 3m and platform competitions en route to being named the C-USA Diver of the Year. Julia Lonnegren finished as the runner up in the 1m and took two third-place finishes in the 3m and platform competitions.

Both divers advanced to the NCAA Championships where Lonnegren finished in 24th place (Platform) 28th (1m) and 29th (3m). Truelove claimed 9th place in the 3m and 18th in the platform event.

In December of 2010, Figueiredo was inducted into the University of Houston Hall of Honor.


The 2009-10 season was business as usual as Figueiredo guided Anastasia Pozdniakova to her second-straight NCAA championship in the 1-meter competition as well as her second-consecutive NCAA runner-up mark in the 3-meter event. Pozdniakova set the NCAA Meet Record with her score of 356.20.

Prior to taking her to the NCAA Championships, Figueiredo guided her All-American through the C-USA Championships, where she took both the 1-meter and 3-meter titles.

Figueiredo coached Lacey Truelove to her a C-USA title in the platform competition.

She also guided Julia Lonnegren to the 2010 C-USA Freshman Diver of the Year award, the eighth Cougar in nine years to take home the honor. Lonnegren and Jessalyn Almond also earned Scholar All-American honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, proving her words that she is more proud of her divers becoming good people than good athletes.


The 2008-09 season was another success for Figueiredo and her divers. Anastasia Pozdniakova continued to dominate the C-USA ranks as she swept all three events at the C-USA championship meet en route to being declared the C-USA Diver of the Year. Pozdniakova scored 46 points at the NCAA championships for Houston and took home All-American honors in all three events. Pozdniakova became the NCAA champion in the 1-meter event while finishing as the runner up in the 3-meter springboard and placing 9th in the platform competition. Houston finished 17th NCAA Championships, marking their highest finish since 1986.

Jessalyn Almond emerged onto the scene in 2008-09 by taking home the C-USA Freshman Diver of the Year award. Almond was the only freshman diver to score points in all three events at the C-USA Championships. More school records fell under Figueiredo’s guidance in 2008-09 as Pozdniakova smashed both the 1-meter and 3-meter records at the NCAA Zone Diving meet with scores of 676.15 and 763.55, respectively. In addition to the accolades earned by her divers, Figueiredo fared very well herself. She earned her third NCAA Diving Coach of the Year award and her eighth consecutive C-USA Diving Coach of the Year award.


The 2007-08 season was a success for Figueiredo. The three divers; Ginni van Katwijk, Lacey Truelove and Courtney Forcucci received All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. With their performance, the Cougar trio earned 24 points to help lead Houston to a final team score of 29 points and placing them 28th in the NCAA Championships.


In 2006-07, divers Pozdniakova and van Katwijk combined to score all of the Cougars’ 38 points at the NCAA Championships, giving the Cougars their seventh finish among the Top 25 team leaders at that meet. Pozdniakova finished as the National Runner-up on the 3-meter springboard and placed fifth in the 1-meter competition, while van Katwijk placed 10th on the platform.

The Cougars swept all three events at the C-USA Championship with Pozdniakova claiming both Diver of the Meet and Diver of the Year honors and Figueiredo being named C-USA Diving Coach of the Year for the seventh consecutive season.

Every Cougar diver was named C-USA Diver of the Week at least once during the regular season with Pozdniakova’s five weekly honors leading all performers.


In 2005-06, divers Anna Kiess and Tania Cagnotto scored all 34 points for the Cougars at the 2006 NCAA Championships to help lead UH to a 23rd-place finish at that meet.

Cagnotto swept all three events at the 2006 Conference USA Championship, joining former Cougar and NCAA national champion Pakhalina as the only league performers to accomplish that feat. Teammate and Freshman Diver of the Year Pozdniakova was a close second in all three events at the C-USA meet, as the Cougars swept the top two places.


Figueiredo’s divers earned all 47 points for Houston at the 2005 NCAA Championships to lead the Cougars to a 20th-place finish at the nation’s top collegiate meet. It tied as the best performance by UH at the nation’s top collegiate meet since 1986-87.

All three of her divers – Anna Kiess, Azul Almazan and Rachel Gitelson – earned All-America honors at the 2005 NCAA meet with Kiess finishing as the national runner-up on the 10-meter platform.

Almazan took home two C-USA titles in the 3m and platform competitions while Kiess earned a conference crown in the 1m diving event.


In 2003, Figueiredo was awarded her profession’s highest NCAA honor, when she was recognized as the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year. It was the second time in a three-year span that she received that award. In 2002-03, Pakhalina wrapped up her outstanding Cougar career by sweeping the 1- and 3-meter springboard national championships, becoming the winningest student-athlete in program history.

However, Pakhalina wasn’t the only Cougar diver to be honored. Almazan was a finalist in the 3-meter and 10-meter events at the NCAA Championships. Almazan also was honored as the C-USA Freshman Diver of the Year


In 2001-02, Figueiredo helped lead Pakhalina to the NCAA Championships, where she claimed top honors on the 3-meter springboard for the second straight season.

In addition, Figueiredo was honored as the first-ever Conference USA Diving Coach of the Year and tutored Lindsay Harvey, who captured C-USA Freshman Diver of the Year honors.


After tutoring Pakhalina, who won the 2001 national championships on the 1- and 3-meter boards, the NCAA made official what the University of Houston already has known for some time. Figueiredo was named the 2001 NCAA Diving Coach of the Year by her coaching peers at the national championship meet.

Before 2000

Yolanda Hernandez-Casas won two NIC titles on both the1- and 3-meter springboard (1999 & 2000). Hernandez-Casas was named the NIC Diver of the Year, an honor that earlier had been won by Figueiredo’s pupil and two-time Honorable Mention All-American Noel Lewandowski (who scored for the Cougars at the 1998 and ’99 NCAA Championships.

Under Figueiredo’s direction, Lewandowski was honored as the 1998-99 UH Athlete of the Year for all sports. Both were NCAA qualifiers.

In her first year as a collegiate coach, Figueiredo also coached First-Team All-American Olivia Clark, who finished fifth in 3-meter diving. Clark — a three-time All-American — completed her career with nine Top-16 finishes at the NCAAs and participated in the NCAA Championships all four years from 1991-95.

Figueiredo guided Linda Pesek to All-America honors and Hanneke Faber to honorable mention All-America status in 1991. Pesek finished third in the three-meter event and seventh in the 10-meter diving at the NCAA Championships.