Lea Loveless

PositionMedals: Gold x 1 Bronze x 1

1992 Olympic Team

Barcelona, Spain

  • Women’s 100 metres Backstroke – Bronze Medal
  • Women’s 4 × 100 metres Medley Relay– Gold Medal

Lea Loveless Maurer is one of seven Loveless children and she has been a Badger since the age of 10. She swam with John Collins from the age of 11 to 29. She was lucky enough to win a national championship for John and the Badgers but not until AFTER she had won an Olympic Gold Medal. Lea is inspired daily by reading the paper, she still believes that Ladybugs are her lucky charm, and she knows that being a Badger is like the hotel California – you can check out anytime, but you can never leave.

Lea’s top three (+1) motivational talks from John Collins are:

      Pinky and the Brain – What are we going to do today Brain? Same thing we do everyday – try to take over the world. – or in the world of Badger swimming – Try to be the best in the world
      Bacon and Eggs – you have to ask John about that one
      The Badger Poem – We fight to the death
      To all my peers – the goal to avoid being a Bozo

Being a Badger changed my life for the better. John Collins made swimming a sport in which you wake up at 5 AM and dive into a cold pool and it ends up being the best part of you day if not your life. John is one of the best if not the best coach in the country. I was so inspired by him that I followed in his footsteps and became a coach. I recently stepped away but I still meet John on the deck sometimes. I am glad to know that the Badgers still go to the Montreal Meet and they still do the Grand Prix workout.

About Lea Loveless Maurer’s Coaching / Swimming Achievements:
During her seven-year tenure, the Cardinal have never finished lower than fifth at the NCAA Championships (fifth in 2006, fourth in 2007, third in 2008, fourth in 2009, second in 2010 and fourth in 2011 and 2012). Stanford won back-to-back Pac-10 titles in 2010 and 2011.

Maurer has coached at least 15 top-15 finishes at the NCAA Championships in each of her seven championships, leading to 13 NCAA champions and top-16 finishes in all five relays each season. She has coached a combined 37 conference champions.
During her first seven years on The Farm, Maurer has coached swimmers onto teams representing the United States at the World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, World University Games and the Olympics. In 2008, two of Maurer’s charges – Elaine Breeden and Julia Smit – combined to win three relay medals for America at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Breeden and Smit were also both first team Academic All-Americans, Breeden, earning the award two times.

In her six years upon the Stanford pool deck, she has guided her teams to a 66-5 dual meet record. Her 2006-07 team finished a perfect 10-0 in dual meets and was tabbed the top dual meet team in the country by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) for the first time in program history. The 2011 senior class lost just two dual meets during their careers (once their freshman year and once in 2011).

The 2009-10 was her best to date, featuring Breeden and Smit, swimming their senior seasons. The seniors led the Cardinal to just short of the national title (2.5 points), with Breeden winning both butterflies and Smit, winning both individual medleys. The Cardinal also closed out the meet by winning the 400 free relay. The Cardinal, which was ranked No. 1 for much of the year and won the Pac-10 title, also featured five national runner-up finishes. The Cardinal also won six individual Pac-10 titles and the last three relays.

Maurer’s coaching influence can be seen throughout the Stanford record books, as nine members of the last year’s Cardinal combined to own 31 spots in the school’s all-time top-10 lists entering the season.

The 2007-08 campaign included a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships, as Stanford finished the regular season ranked second in the CSCAA’s poll, a mere two points behind Georgia. Maurer’s 2006-07 team went 10-0 in dual meet competition, finished second at the Pac-10 Championships and concluded the season with a fourth-place showing at the NCAA Championships. In her first season in 2005-06, Maurer led the Cardinal to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Since arriving on The Farm, Maurer coached Stanford alum Tara Kirk (2004) to American records in both the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke in 2006 with times of 57.77 and 2:05.73, respectively. Kirk also won a silver at the 2007 World Championships. Breeden set an American and NCAA record in the 200 fly and Smit set world, American, U.S. and NCAA records int the 200 and 400 individual medleys throughout her career.

Maurer was a member of Team USA’s coaching staff for the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, helping Smit swim away with five medals (four gold, one silver). Smit’s meet was highlighted by her 200 IM victory with a Pan American Games record performance.

Maurer began her collegiate coaching career in 1994-95 as an assistant at Northwestern, which placed 11th at the NCAA’s and third in the Big-10 in her only season.

The following year, she began a prep dynasty as the head boys’ and girls’ coach at Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, Illinois, leading the boys’ squad to the 2002-03 mythical national championship and the girls’ team to the mythical 2003 public school national championship. She coached 2003 National High School Swimmer of the Year Matt Grevers, who recorded the second-fastest prep time ever in the 50 free and went on to become a two-time NCAA champion at Northwestern before winning three medals at the 2008 Olympics.

During her 10-year run at Lake Forest, her girls’ team also won a pair of state titles (2002, ’03) while her boys’ squad earned the honor in 2003, which were all unprecedented accomplishments for the school. In addition, she was named the Illinois Swimming Association Coach of the Year on eight occasions (five girls, three boys) while coaching her swimmers to 85 All-American and honorable mention All-American awards, as well as nine individual and seven relay state titles, and six high school state records.

A former Stanford swimmer from 1991 to 1994, Maurer (formerly Loveless) swam on three of Stanford’s national championship squads (1992, ’93, ’94). Maurer won three consecutive wins in the 100 back (1992, ’93, ’94) as well as a 200 back victory in 1993. She was also a member of six winning NCAA relay teams. Maurer added 15 Pac-10 titles (seven individual, eight relays) and 21 All-American honors (19 at Stanford). She was inducted into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame in November of 2006.

Maurer continued to compete until 2000, spending a total of 11 years (1989-96, 1998-2000) on the U.S. National Team. Maurer held the American record in the 100 meter back from 1992-2001, originally setting the mark on the leadoff leg of a gold medal 4×100 American medley relay team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where she also earned a bronze medal in the 100 back. She broke her own 100 back record during the preliminaries at the 1998 World Championships and went on to win the gold medal. Maurer earned a spot on the USA Swimming All-Century team in the 100 back.

Maurer graduated from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a Master’s in education in 1994. She is married to her current volunteer assistant coach Erik Maurer, who won the 1992 NCAA title in the 50 free and four relay crowns while competing for the Cardinal from 1989-93. The couple has two children, Luke and Rex.