Kami Gardner will be in her eighth season as the director of aquatics and head men's and women's swimming coach at Washington and Lee in 2018-19. She had previously served as the head women's swimming coach for five seasons and was the interim men's coach for much of the 2012 season. The 2012-13 season was her first as the head coach for the combined men's and women's program.
Gardner's 11 seasons coaching the women has resulted in an 90-32 overall record and 11 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championships. Additionally, her athletes have gone on to set 66 new school records over the past six years, including setting new bests in all five relay events. Her 2013-14 team set 10 school records alone in posting a 9-3 overall record, while the team broke 10 more school records in 2014-15 and went 8-1 overall. The 2015-16 squad produced a 7-2 overall dual meet record and spent much of the season ranked in the College Swimming Coaches Association Division III Top 25.
The 2016-17 squad produced one of the finest seasons in program history, recording a perfect 7-0 mark in dual meets. W&L captured its 10th consecutive ODAC title and had eight swimmers qualify for the NCAA Championship, including all five relays. This was the most W&L women invited to the championships in a single year in school history. The Generals finished seventh out of 56 teams at the NCAA Championship, which is the best finish in program history. The Blue and White also posted eight school record times and had nine All-America swimmers. For her efforts she has been recognized as the ODAC Coach of the Year five times in the past 10 seasons.
The 2017-18 season was another successful campaign for Gardner's women as the Generals claimed their 11th ODAC title under Gardner after going 6-1 in dual meets in the regular season. The Generals finished in a tie for 21st place out of 51 squads at the NCAA Division III Swimming Championships and eight different swimmers garnered at least one All-America citations. Gardner secured her sixth ODAC Women's Coach of the Year award as her swimmers set five different school records over the course of the season and 18 placed on the All-ODAC teams, including sophomore Emily Hageboeck and first-year Mattie Grant who were selected as the Swimmer of the Meet and the Rookie of the Meet, respectively. Hageboeck also garnered ODAC/Va. Farm Bureau Insurance Women's Scholar Athlete laurels.
Gardner's swimmers have received 158 All-ODAC citations during her tenure and the Generals have claimed either the ODAC Swimmer, Scholar-Athlete or Rookie of the Year Awards across the last 10 seasons. Gardner helped mentor Lindsey Strachan '09 to Honorable Mention All-America honors in the 200 back in 2009, W&L's first women's swimming All-American in 10 years. In 2016, Gardner coached Emily Rollo ’17 to two First Team All-America accolades in the 100 and 200 back, and one Honorable Mention All-America laurel in the 200 IM. Rollo was the first female swimmer to obtain three All-America honors in the same year since 1996. Gardner helped mentor seven swimmers to All-America honors during the 2016-17 campaign. Rollo earned First Team All-America honors in the 100 back, 200 medley relay, and 400 medley relay and an Honorable Mention All-America accolade in the 200 back. Emily Hageboeck ’20 garnered First Team All-America honors in the 200 breast, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. Elle Chancey ’19 earned First Team All-America honors in the 400 medley relay and 400 free relay, while also garnering Honorable Mention accolades in the 200 free and 800 free relay. Ali MacQueen ’20 earned an Honorable Mention All-America accolade in the 100 fly, while also earning First Team All-America honors as a member on the 200 medley, 400 medley and 400 free relay squads. Cassidy Fuller ’18, Elisabeth Holmes ’17 and Kelly Amar ’20 also earned All-America accolades as members of the different relay teams.
While coaching the men, Gardner helped lead the Generals to a 46-12 overall record and seven Top 30 finishes at the NCAA Championships. The 2014-15 team claimed the inaugural ODAC Championship and had 18 swimmers earn All-ODAC honors. In 2015-16, the squad posted a 6-1 overall recorded and claimed the ODAC Title for the second consecutive year. She helped guide Rick Sykes '13 to First Team All-America laurels in the 50 free and Tommy Thetford ’18 to First Team All-America accolades in the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free. Gardner mentored Thetford to five All-America honors. In 2016, Thetford was a National Champion in the 100 and 200 free, and the runner-up in the 50 free. He garnered All-America accolades in the 50 and 100 free events at the national meet in 2015. Gardner has also coached seven other athletes who have received Honorable Mention All-America status in her five seasons. Gardner helped lead the 2016-17 squad to a 5-1 dual meets record. The Blue and White claimed its third consecutive ODAC title and had 18 swimmers earn All-ODAC honors.
In 2017-18, Gardner was named the ODAC Men's Swimming Coach of the Year for the first time in her career, leading the Generals to their fourth straight ODAC title and a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Swimming Championships. For the year, 18 different swimmers were named to the All-ODAC teams, led by senior Tommy Thetford and first-year Patrick Sullivan who took home Swimmer of the Meet and Rookie of the Meet accolades, respectively. Thetford was also honored as the ODAC/Va. Farm Bureau Insurance Men's Scholar Athlete as well as a Google Cloud Academic All-District selection.
Gardner came to W&L following 13 seasons 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.
Prior to taking the helm at SUNY Oswego, Gardner was an assistant swim coach at Western Illinois University from 1993-94. While at WIU, she helped to lead the Leathernecks' men's team to back-to-back Mid-Continent Conference championships. In 1994, she assisted in coaching both the conference's Swimmer of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, in addition to being a part of the Western Illinois staff that was honored as the conference's Coaching Staff of the Year.
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 with a master's degree in sports management and also served as an assistant swimming coach. She was also a member of the inaugural Troy High School Athletics Hall of Fame, which was inducted on September 9, 2013.
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.
GARDNER YEAR-BY-YEAR AT W&L
|2008-09||9-6||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year|
|2009-10||6-5||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year|
|2011-12||7-2||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year|
|2015-16||7-2||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year|
|2016-17||7-0||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year, 7th at NCAA Championships|
|2017-18||6-1||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year, T-21st at NCAA Championships|
||90-32 (.738)||11 ODAC Titles, 6 ODAC Coach of the Year Awards
|2011-12||5-4||4th at BMC Championships, 16th at NCAA Championships|
|2012-13||8-2||6th at BMC Championships, 30th at NCAA Championships|
|2013-14||8-2||10th at BMC Championships|
|2017-18||6-1||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year, 13th at NCAA Championships|
|6 YEARS||46-12 (.793)||4 ODAC Titles, 1 ODAC Coach of the Year Award