Women's Head Swimming Coach
John Klinge has helped elevate the national profile of the Purdue women's swimming & diving program in his nine years as head coach. He was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Boilermakers to historic highs in 2009-10, his second season at Purdue.
Diver Casey Matthews' 2013 national championship and 2014 Big Ten title have highlighted the recent seasons for the Boilermakers. She won the Purdue women's first-ever national title and first Big Ten crown since 2009.
The Boilermakers have had at least six NCAA qualifiers each of the last five seasons. Purdue has finished in the top 25 at the national championship meet in seven of Klinge's first nine seasons, earning a place in the athletics department's prestigious 25/85 club in the process. It recognizes teams that finish among the top 25 in NCAA competition with an 85 percent (or greater) graduation success rate.
The Boilermakers are 53-29 in dual meet action under Klinge, including a 50-22 mark since the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
Kaersten Meitz finished in 13th place in the 500 freestyle at the 2017 NCAAs Championships to earn honorable mention All-America accolades for the second year in a row, becoming the first Purdue swimmer to repeat as an All-American since 2010 and 2011. She qualified for the national championship meet as an individual for the third year in a row. Lexi Vincent and Emily Meaney made the Boilermakers the only school with two divers in the platform final at NCAAs.
The 2017 Boilermakers also had an opportunity to host the Big Ten Championships for the first time since 2010. Three new program records were established and Meitz medaled with a third-place finish in the 500 free.
In 2015-16, Allie Davis, Emily Fogle and Nika Karlina Petric all closed out their careers as four-time NCAA Championships qualifiers. Mary Beth Dunnichay, Kaersten Meitz and Fogle teamed up for five All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. Fogle became Purdue's first swimmer to earn full-fledged All-America honors in an event since 2010. The breaststroke record holder was later named Purdue's Female Athlete of the Year, the first swimmer to win the award since 1994.
Of the five swimmers in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships four times, four of them have raced during Klinge's tenure. The Purdue women were represented by 10 student-athletes (eight swimmers and two divers) at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Davis and Meitz both posted a top-30 finish in an event.
The Boilermakers have continued to excel academically as well. Purdue's 3.59 team grade-point average for the 2015 spring semester ranked sixth nationally among NCAA Division I programs. Within Purdue athletics, Klinge's program won the President's Cup twice for having the best team GPA in both the fall and spring semesters of the 2014-15 school year.
Individually, Carly Marshall became the first Purdue student of any kind to be a finalist for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to the University of Cambridge in England. Marshall was later selected as Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, joining Lauren Gustafson (2013) as recent members of the program to receive the honor.
Michelle Cabassol and MacKenzie Tweardy accounted for 33 team points to help the Boilermakers finish 25th of the 53 scoring teams at the 2014 national championship meet. Purdue has finished among the Top 25 at the NCAA Championships in five of Klinge's first seven years. The Boilermakers were represented by a program-high 10 student-athletes -- seven swimmers and three divers -- at the national championship meet.
Allie Smith was selected as the Big Ten's female recipient of the prestigious Wayne Duke Postgraduate Scholarship Award in 2011. She was the second Boilermaker to be selected for the honor, which is awarded to only one male and one female student-athlete from around the Big Ten each year. As a team, the Boilermakers ranked seventh nationally with a 3.51 team GPA during the 2010 fall semester.
In 2015, Purdue's 800 free relay team of Rhiannon Sheets, Abby Jagdfeld, Petric and Davis established a new program record at Big Tens and later earned Honorable Mention All-America acclaim at NCAAs with a 12th place finish. Together they became the Boilers' first All-America relay team since 2011.
Sheets closed out her career as a four-time NCAA Championships qualifier and a Purdue record holder in the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly. After missing most of the last two seasons due to injury and personal adversity, Fogle returned to the active roster in the fall of 2014 and went on to qualify for NCAAs for the third time. The Purdue record holder in three events was recognized with the N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award in June 2015.
Carly Mercer (100 free) and Alex Todd (100 fly) established new program records in 2013-14. Mercer also became the first Boilermaker to win Big Ten Swimmer of the Week three times in the same season.
Matthews' national championship in 3-meter diving as one of eight Boilermakers to qualifying for the NCAA Championships highlighted Purdue's 2012-13 season. The diving duo of Cabassol and Matthews accounted for 44 team points at the national championship meet in Indianapolis, helping the Boilers place 19th among the 43 scoring teams. It was Purdue's third-best showing in program history.
Matthews was the only women's swimming and diving athlete from the Big Ten to win an NCAA title at the 2013 national championship meet. She was later named the Purdue Female Athlete of the Year.
Along with being among the six swimmers to qualify for the NCAA Championships, Gustafson closed out her career with a bevy of academic honors. As one of the most recognized Purdue student-athletes during the 2012-13 school year, she was the recipient of NCAA and Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarships. Graduating with a 3.99 GPA earned Gustafson First Team Academic All-America recognition, the program's first such First Team honoree. In the pool, she broke the program record in the 50 free at the 2013 Big Ten Championships and finished as the runner-up in the 100 free. Gustafson finished her career part of Purdue record-setting teams in all five relay events.
In addition to success in the pool, Klinge is adamant that his team live up to stringent academic standards. The Boilermakers have annually been recognized as a Scholar All-American Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Numerous Boilers have also earned individual recognition from the CSCAA. Purdue has had hundreds of Academic All-Big Ten honorees and dozens of Big Ten Distinguished Scholars during Klinge's tenure.
The all-time performance lists have undergone massive reconstruction during Klinge's tenure. All 19 individual swimming events as well as all five relays have new record holders since Klinge started prior to the 2008-09 season. The Top 10 lists for every event are populated with names of many recent Boilermakers.
Three individual NCAA Championships qualifiers and 16 new school records highlighted the 2011-12 season for Purdue. Lauren Roth and Fogle both made their second appearances at the NCAA Championships, where they were joined by Sheets as a freshman. One day after scoring in the 100 breaststroke, Fogle won the consolation final of the 200 breaststroke at the national championship meet to garner her second Honorable Mention All-America award of the weekend.
The Boilermakers' 16 new records established in 2011-12 featured seven individual team benchmarks, seven individual freshman bests and two relay records. Purdue has now set new school records in every swimming event during Klinge's tenure. Nine swimmers also represented the program at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha.
Fogle, Roth and Sheets accounted for 10 of the 14 new individual marks. Sheets broke school benchmarks in the 100 and 200 butterfly, times that doubled as new freshman records. Her season-best swims in the 100 and 200 freestyle were also first-year marks.
Fogle was part of a record-setting event on all four days of the 2012 Big Ten Championships. She set new records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 IM. The sophomore posted NCAA automatic qualifying times in both breaststroke events, officially punching her ticket to the NCAA Championships.
Nine NCAA Championships qualifiers and five new relay records established at the Big Ten Championships highlighted the 2010-11 season. Lisa Butler, Kara Cook, Caitlin Hamilton, Ariel Martin, Erin Mertz, Lauren Nichols, Allie Smith, Fogle and Gustafson represented the Boilers at the national championship meet in Austin, Texas.
Mertz scored from all three boards at NCAAs, highlighted by a career-best third-place showing in the 3-meter competition that earned the senior All-American honors. Joining Mertz as Honorable Mention All-Americans were Cook (platform diving) and Hamilton (1,650 free) as well as the 400 and 800 relay teams. Butler, Martin and Gustafson swam on both scoring relays along with Smith (400) and Fogle (800).
Purdue set new records in all five relay events at the Big Ten Championships. Butler, Martin and Gustafson were each part of four of the five new relay records. Roth (three), Fogle (two) and Smith (two) also contributed to multiple record-setting relays.
Capped by a program-record nine different All-Americans, which nearly doubled the previous best of five, at the NCAA Championships held in their home pool, the 2009-10 season went down as the one that began the Boilermakers' rise up the national standings.
As a freshman, Hamilton took down Purdue records in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events multiple times each throughout her first collegiate season. She finished second in the 1,650 at the Big Ten Championships in a time of 16:02.61 that obliterated the previous record of 16:26.31 that had stood since 1998. She then went on to finish eighth at the NCAA Championships in 16:02.01 to earn All-America status and record the highest national finish in Purdue history. Both 1,000 splits set a new program standard, as well, and the 500 record was broken twice at the Big Ten Championships.
The Boilermakers also had All-American swims from Smith in the 100 backstroke and the 400 and 800 freestyle relays and the 200 medley relay. The 16th-place finish stands as the best in program history, and the nine different All-Americans, as well as the five different scoring events, also rank as program highs.
At the Big Ten Championships, the Boilermakers broke 17 program records and five freshman records while recording 94 season-best times during the four-day meet. Purdue also earned five second-place finishes, taking runner-up honors in nearly one-quarter of the 21 contested events.
Martin led the charge as she took down the 50 and 200 freestyle records twice, the 100 freestyle record once and swam on record-breaking 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays as well as the 200 medley relay. Freshmen Seraphina Van and Emily McIlrath became the fastest first-year Boilermakers. Van bettered freshman records in the 100 butterfly and 200 breaststroke, while McIlrath took down the 100 breaststroke standard.
Klinge's background includes time spent serving his country with the United States Marine Corps in addition to coaching stops at the collegiate, club and high school coaching levels. This unique resume builder helped boost his appeal among the athletics department administrators.
Klinge is the seventh head coach in program history and the first male since Fred Kahms was at the helm from 1981 through 1985. He has a vision for success at Purdue, which is, "To establish and ensure an environment where motivated and talented student-athletes strive for excellence in swimming and diving and in the classroom, and work together to consistently challenge for Big Ten and NCAA championships."
Klinge, a native of Richmond, Ind., graduated from Purdue in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He returned to his home state after spending five years as an assistant to men's head coach Bill Wadley at Ohio State. Wadley promoted Klinge to associate head coach in May of 2008, shortly after the Buckeyes posted their second straight top-20 showing at the NCAA Championships. The Scarlet and Gray were 12th in 2007 and 16th in 2008.
Klinge's last Buckeye squad finished 13th in the national dual-meet rankings and broke a total of 10 school records before sending 11 student-athletes to the NCAA Championships. Senior sprinter Matt Voelker placed 15th in the 50 freestyle to capture honorable-mention All-America honors and was part of three Ohio State relay teams (800 freestyle, 200 medley and 400 medley) that finished in the top 16 to earn honorable-mention All-America accolades.
While at Purdue, Klinge qualified for the 1992 United States Olympic Trials and went on to place 15th in the 200 backstroke. The former team captain also earned U.S. Swimming All-America honors in 1991 for placing fifth in the 200 backstroke and was awarded All-Big Ten honors in 1990 and 1994.
Klinge left Purdue as its second-fastest swimmer in the 100 and 200 backstroke events and 200 and 400 IM. He also held the Lambert Pool record in the 200 backstroke (1:49.68) and 200 IM (1:51.47) when he concluded his collegiate career. More than 14 years later, Klinge's lifetime-best 1:46.36 in the 200 backstroke still holds up among the five-fastest times in Boilermaker history even though Purdue moved into a much faster and improved facility at the start of this decade.
Klinge made an immediate transition into coaching following his senior year, serving as an undergraduate assistant coach to Purdue men's head coach Dan Ross for the 1994-95 season.
Klinge joined the Buckeyes after serving as the head coach at both Bozeman High School and Bozeman Barracuda Swim Club in Bozeman, Mont. During his tenure at Bozeman, Klinge led the Hawks to five state championships and coached multiple National Age Group Top 16, Junior National, United States Open and high school All-American swimmers.
Klinge is a commissioned officer for the United States Marine Corps. He has received two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals for various outstanding performances.
Klinge is married to the former Chris Anderson, who also swam for Purdue. They have three children -- sons, Jack and Matthew, as well as a daughter, Madison.