Kami Gardner will be in her sixth season as the director of aquatics and head men's and women's swimming coach at W&L. 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 nine seasons coaching the women has resulted in a 77-31 overall record and nine Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championships. Additionally, her athletes have gone on to set 53 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. For her efforts she has been recognized as the ODAC Coach of the Year four times in the past eight seasons.
Gardner's swimmers have received 123 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 eight 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.
While coaching the men, Gardner helped lead the Generals to a 33-9 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 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
||ODAC Champions, ODAC Coach of the Year
||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|
||77-31 (.713)||9 ODAC Titles, 4 ODAC Coach of the Year Awards
|2011-12||3-3||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|
|5 YEARS||34-9 (.790)||2 ODAC Titles