April 4, 2012

W&L Athletics Announces the Promotion of Kami Gardner

LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee Director of Athletics Jan Hathorn has announced that current Women's Swimming Coach Kami Gardner will take on responsibilities as director of aquatics and has also been named head men's swimming coach effective immediately.

As director of aquatics, Gardner will be responsible for maintaining the Cy Twombly Pool, including scheduling athletics practices and user groups.  She will also be in charge of training and scheduling lifeguards and overseeing the University's spring swimming lesson program for community youth.

"I am pleased to offer these additional responsibilities to Kami, as she has a proven record of successful leadership in all of these areas," said Hathorn.  "I am confident she will continue the excellence we have come to expect of our men's and women's swim teams, and of the management of Twombly pool for our campus and community. This appointment represents a change in our coaching structure and I am certain this is the best direction for the student-athletes whom we serve, given Kami's past and current accomplishments in these roles. I am excited that Kami has accepted our offer and I look forward to working beside her for years to come."

Gardner had been serving as the interim aquatics director and head coach for both programs since December, helping lead the W&L women's swimming team to its fifth straight Old Dominion Athletic Conference title in February and the men's swimming team to a 16th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships last month.

"I am excited for the opportunity that Washington and Lee has given me to head both the men's and women's swimming programs," stated Gardner.  "We had one of the best seasons in school history as a combined program this past year, so I have every confidence that we will continue to build upon that success.  A combined program is a dynamic that is special and unique to the sport of swimming, and I am happy to lead W&L through this transition.  I am grateful in the confidence that Director of Athletics Jan Hathorn and President Ken Ruscio have shown in appointing me to this position."

Gardner arrived at W&L as the head women's swimming coach in the summer of 2007 and has guided the Generals to a 43-22 (.662) overall record and five ODAC titles in her five seasons.  The three-time ODAC Coach of the Year, she has helped mentor her athletes to 70 All-ODAC citations, while four athletes have been named the ODAC Swimming Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  Additionally, three of her swimmers have been named the ODAC Rookie of the Year, while two have been selected as the ODAC Swimmer of the Year. 

The 2011-12 W&L women's team received its first national ranking in program history, while Lindsey Strachan '09 became the program's first All-American in 10 years when she finished 11th in the 200 backstroke at the NCAA Championships in 2009.

Prior to W&L, Gardner spent 13 years as the head men's and women's swimming coach, aquatics director and instructor at the State University of New York at Oswego. She guided the women's swimming team to three straight conference titles and an undefeated record from 2005-07. Her men's teams finished as the SUNYAC runner-up five times and combined, the teams totaled 188 individual SUNYAC titles, 26 SUNYAC records, 144 team records, six SUNYAC Swimmer of the Year Awards, 43 NCAA Division III Qualifiers and 49 NCAA Division III All-American Awards.

Gardner's Oswego teams also achieved great things in the classroom, with 14 athletes earning Academic All-America honors and several teams garnering highest GPA awards. Individually, Gardner received the SUNYAC Men's Swimming Coach of the Year Award on three occasions and was presented the Women's Swimming Coach of the Year honor eight times, including following each of her final seven seasons.

Gardner is a 1991 graduate of Kenyon College, where she graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor of arts in psychology. She helped the swimming team to four NCAA Division III Championships and was a 27-time All-American. A total of 17 times she was a National Champion and was named an Academic All-American on two occasions. Additionally, she broke five national records and was named the 1991 NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Year. Gardner participated at the 1984 Olympic trials in the 100 and 200 backstroke.

A 1991 Honda Award Nominee and 2002 inductee into the Kenyon College Athletic Hall of Fame, Gardner graduated from Western Illinois University in 1994, serving as an assistant coach while earning a master's degree in sports management.

Gardner has been a member of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America since 1994 and, in 2003, she was awarded the American Swim Coaches Association Certificate of Excellence. In 2001, Gardner was the Assistant Meet Director for the Men's and Women's Division III Championships. Active in the sport, Gardner has been involved in numerous camps, both as a counselor and as a lecturer.

-- GENERALS --