Follow along with the senior as he blogs about the Gopher's experience in Hawaii!
Both seniors earned individual High School Championships this year
Ryan Purdy joined the Gopher Swimming staff in 2011, and is currently serving his second stint at the University of Minnesota, after beginning his collegiate coaching career as a volunteer assistant with the Golden Gopher women's program beginning in 2005.
While he has been on staff, the team has won five Big Ten Women’s Team Championships (2008, and 2012-15), as well as achieving a top-10 NCAA team finish three times with the women's team in 2013, 2014 and 2017. At the end of the 2014-15 season, Purdy was promoted to head assistant coach of both the men's and women's teams.
Since rejoining the U of M staff in 2011, Purdy has been the primary coach of the distance group and a middle distance group. He has also served as the program's recruiting coordinator. In 2012 Purdy's group produced a Big Ten individual champion when Hannah Whitehead won the 200-yard freestyle. Since 2011, he has coached five different individual qualifiers to the NCAA Championship meet. Purdy was the primary coach to Jessica Plant, an eight-time NCAA All-American and Minnesota’s 2015 Big Ten Medal of Honor winner.
On the national scene, Gopher swimmers have experienced success under Purdy's leadership, as his coaching has produced multiple United States and Canadian Olympic Trials qualifiers. Distance swimming specialist Samantha Harding progressed each year and capped off her summers by becoming a Canadian National Champion four times in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyle events. In 2015, Purdy coached Harding to selections to Team Canada for the Pan American Games in Toronto and the FINA World Championship in Kazan, Russia, in the open water swimming Events. In the next World Championship Selection, Breanne Siwicki followed suit, qualifying to be a part of the Canadian Open Water National team that will compete at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary and the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan.
Purdy was then selected by USA Swimming to be a part of the staff for the 2016 Open Water Select Camp based in Fort Myers, Florida. Purdy has accompanied National Team swimmers from USA Swimming and Swim Canada to FINA Open Water World Cup races in Mexico, Hungary and Portugal.
Prior to coming to Minneapolis, Purdy spent three seasons as the assistant coach at California State University-Fresno. In his time with Fresno State, Purdy served as the primary sprint coach and recruiting coordinator for the women's swimming team. While with the Bulldogs, Purdy recruited and coached one of Fresno’s top athletes, Dani Yoho, a multiple Western Athletic Conference finalist who contributed to breaking six school records at the 2011 WAC Championships.
Before Fresno State, Purdy spent two seasons (2005-06 and 2007-08) as the volunteer assistant coach for the Minnesota women's swimming and diving team, assisting co-head coaches Kelly Kremer and Terry Ganley. While coaching the middle distance and distance groups with Kremer, Purdy was significantly involved in the day-to-day operations of coaching a Division I program. The team made huge strides during these seasons, breaking numerous school records, winning the 2008 Big Ten championship in 2008 and placing 13th at the NCAA Championship meet.
Serving under legendary head coach Bill Rose, Purdy was the associate senior director and coach with the Mission Viejo Nadadores in Mission Viejo, California, from 2006-07. He was the primary coach for numerous senior sectional qualifiers and was selected as the coach for the Southern California Swimming All-Star Team that won the 2006 Western Zone Championship title.
From 2002-05, Purdy served as the senior coach of the North Shore Swim Club in Duluth, Minnesota. In addition, he was head coach of the girls' swim team at Two Harbors High School in Two Harbors, Minnesota, and the assistant coach for the boys' and girls' swimming and diving team at Superior Senior High School in Superior, Wisconsin.
A native of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Purdy graduated from the Minnesota-Duluth in 2005 with a B.F.A. in Art Education. He is also a University of Minnesota alum, having completed his Master’s of Education in Applied Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport and Exercise Science in 2015.
US Nationals Start on Tuesday
Eleven Golden Gophers, including several program record holders, will compete in Indianapolis this week.
Gophers Receive CSCAA Scholar All-America Recognition
Both the men's and women's teams earned academic distinction from the coaches association.
Former swim coach Eckelkamp Passes Away
Gopher Athletics is saddened to learn that former assistant men's swimming and diving coach Steve Eckelkamp has passed away at his home on June 10, in Mount Juliet, Tenn.