The Morning Swim Show, Oct. 31, 2011: Kelly Kremer Looking to Break Minnesota Through “Glass Ceiling”

PHOENIX, Arizona, October 31. KELLY Kremer joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show to talk about his work to continue Minnesota swimming and diving's tradition of building champions.

Kremer talksa bout the past coaches he is working to emulate, and how having a top-notch facility works in his favor. He also talks about NCAA champion Haley Spencer and how she is one to watch next year. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)

Peter Busch: Welcome to The Morning Swim Show for Monday, October 31st, 2011. I'm your host, Peter Busch. In the Finis Monitor today, we'll talk to Kelly Kremer. He is the head swim coach for men and women at the University of Minnesota, definitely one of the up-and-coming programs right now. Coach Kramer joins us right now in the Finis Monitor from Minneapolis. Coach, welcome to The Morning Swim Show. How are you?

Kelly Kremer: I'm doing really well. Thanks for having me.

Peter Busch: And Happy Halloween. What are you going to be today?

Kelly Kremer: What am I going to be? I'm going to be a swim coach today.

Peter Busch: Well, that will scare the kids on the team [cross-talking] –

Kelly Kremer: Yes, exactly.

Peter Busch: Well, as I mentioned in my intro, you are certainly one of the rising programs in college swimming right now, and it's — I mean when you got two girls sweeping the breaststroke events at NCAAs and some of the success you've had on relays, kind of take us back to when you felt the turning point was for the program.

Kelly Kremer: Yes, you know, I think the — if you go way back, we had just storied success for a long, long time. I mean you know, the founder of our program, Jean Freeman, on the women's side, is a Hall of Fame coach, and on the men's side, Dennis Dale is a Hall of Fame coach, and so we've had storied success and I think I am just fortunate to now have an opportunity to continue my career and ultimately have a long-term career at Minnesota as the head coach of both programs and kind of see through a vision that hopefully helps us kind of break through some of the competitive glass ceilings that we've had. We, long-term, would like to do some — we consistently contended for Big Ten titles on both the men's and women's side, and we've consistently gotten to the top ten on the men's side, numerous times on the women's side. And now we've finally broken back into the top ten, and I think we want to break through some of those competitive glass ceilings and see if we can push things further as we go forward.

Peter Busch: Last year, as I mentioned, Women's swept the breaststroke events. Jillian Tyler wins the 100; Haley wins the 200. Haley is back. How is she looking this year?

Kelly Kremer: She looks great. We went to PanAms down in Guadalajara last week and she, really going into that meet, I thought if she could break 2:30, I was going to be thrilled. It's — add altitude in October — and she did that twice, both in prelims and finals, and so she looks fantastic. And I think what's really exciting about Haley is she has become a pro in certain rights, certainly not by finances but how she carries herself, how she acts and responds to both great swims and swims that she wished had gone better, how she interacts with her teammates and her coaches. She is just — she is doing a great job for us right now. We're really excited that she's got two years to go on the college side.

Peter Busch: Well, she is swimming tough. She could be certainly in that mix for that second spot on the team on the 200 breast.

Kelly Kremer: Yes, and we've talked about that. I think every breaststroker in the country right now that is going to Olympic trials in the United States probably feels like there is a spot that — at least that second spot in the 100 and 200 seem somewhat open, and so there is a lot of excitement to see which swimmers will contend for it. And Haley is one of them who will certainly be contending for it.

Peter Busch: Tell me about the coaching situation at Minnesota because it's sort of shaken up the past year or two where you are now the official head coach of both teams, and it was kind of an, I don't know, interim tag or a co-head coach before but it's all changed now, right?

Kelly Kremer: Yes, it's changed a little bit. You know, what's nice is there hasn't been a shakeup really at all because the staff members are all in place still and it's the same staff that we've had. We're just fortunate to have a little bit different structure that's allowed us probably to maximize our strengths a little bit better, minimize our weaknesses a little bit better. We've hired another coach in Ryan Purdy, who is now acting obviously as a great on-deck coach and our women's recruiting coordinator. It's just given us an opportunity to probably utilize our resources better so — But yes, I was the co-head coach for women for the last seven years with Terry Nieszner, and then prior to that, I was Dennis Dale's associate head coach on the men's side. And so like I said, I'm entering year 14 here and it's just, for me, exciting to be able to really go from where we've been and continue to build for the future, and I've been a part of both and it — this new structure should give us the opportunities to do the things we haven't done in the past performance-wise.

Peter Busch: With the recent success you've had, have other big schools tried to lure you away?

Kelly Kremer: You know, not really. I wouldn't talk about that if they did. I just, you know, kind of made it really clear that Minnesota is my dream job. And that's what's so exciting and unique about our staff. The thing I see is a bunch of coaches who have experienced a lot of success, and every one of them have had opportunities to not be at Minnesota and every one of them has chosen to stay. And it really is, it's the dream job of everybody on our staff, the position they currently hold, and I think that's really a unique situation in college athletics and I'm just really fortunate to be a part of this staff.

Peter Busch: There are a lot of great facilities now in the country. A lot of universities have upgraded. I like the NCAAs at Minnesota the best though just because of the — it's so close to the main hotel. The kids can just walk over instead of having a ten-minute drive. I really like the atmosphere there.

Kelly Kremer: Yes, we like it too. In fact, we book into the hotel as well when we have major meets. Whether it's the Big Ten Conference Championships or NCAAs, we book in that hotel as well because it, like you said, the convenience is second to none. You can — wake-up swims, you don't have to load up a van and drive for a period of time. You can just roll out of bed and into the pool. So we like that too and I appreciate you commenting on our pool because there are a lot of great facilities being built but I — I'm extraordinarily biased, obviously, but it's still my favorite. I like two-side seating. I like the lighting in our pool. And as soon as — we're building a new rec center right now on the south side of our Aquatic Center and as soon as that's done and the construction is cleared away, this is going to continue to be a perfect venue really to host NCAAs in the future.

Peter Busch: Well, it's great that you have an athletic department that's really supporting your aquatics teams, it sounds like, not just from a facility standpoint but with the coaching, resources that they are giving you guys. I mean we love to see that because it's so sad to see schools cutting back on swimming programs.

Kelly Kremer: Yes, we feel the same way. I think, you know, if our athletic director Joel Maturi or Marc Ryan, who is my direct supervisor, if they were sitting here and doing this interview, the thing they would tell you is in terms of the Olympic sports, Minnesota carries 25 sports and our administration, literally from the top down, kind of carries the philosophy that if we're going to have a program, they're going to give them all the resources necessary to compete at the national level. And I think you know in the swimming world, if you're in the North, you already have a little bit of an uphill battle to land some of the top talent across the world, and it takes great resources to be able to fly in perspective students. It takes great resources just to be able to travel to competitions. And it takes great resources just to maintain a program that caters to some of the best athletes in our sport. And so like I said, Minnesota is my dream job and that, the resources, is one of the primary reasons why we have a chance to really, to really provide our student athletes with a positive and meaningful experience, and I'm very fortunate.

Peter Busch: Well, Coach, thanks a lot for coming on. Good luck this season.

Kelly Kremer: Thanks so much. I appreciate being here. Thanks.

Peter Busch: All right, that's Coach Kelly Kremer joining us from the University of Minnesota. And that is it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.

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