Under the guidance of Terry Ganley, the University of Minnesota women's swimming and diving team has risen to the top of the Big Ten Conference and is a constant force within the national rankings. In her tenure at Minnesota, more than 100 women’s student-athletes have earned more than 450 All-America certificates.
Ganley and current men's and women's head coach Kelly Kremer have led the Gopher women to five Big Ten titles (2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). The swimming and diving team became the first Minnesota women’s program to capture four consecutive conference championships. Ganley and Kremer were named Big Ten Coaches of the Year in 2006.
Ganley has served as the associate head coach for the men’s and women’s teams since the 2014-15 season. When Kremer, her co-head coach for the women from the 2004-05 season to the 2010-11 season, became the joint program’s head coach, Ganley remained in the role of women’s head coach. Prior to becoming co-head coach in 2004, Ganley was an assistant coach under the legendary Jean Freeman for 27 years and was named interim head coach upon Freeman’s retirement.
The Gopher women’s team posted 10 consecutive NCAA finishes of 13th place or better from 2006 to 2015, including a program-best ninth-place showing in 2011. The 2011 Gophers had three individual national champions in Jillian Tyler (100-yard breaststroke), Haley Spencer (200-yard breaststroke) and Kelci Bryant (1-meter diving). Bryant had won 3-meter diving in 2010. In 2017, the Gophers tied their second-best NCAA finish of 10th, earning 14 All-America honors.
In 2015, Minnesota again boasted multiple NCAA gold medalists as Kierra Smith won the 200-yard breaststroke and Yu Zhou won 3-meter diving. Minnesota’s previous NCAA champions, Chris Curry in 3-meter diving in 1981 and Gretchen Hegener in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1997, also came with Ganley on staff.
During Ganley’s time as head coach or associate head coach, beginning in 2004-05, she has overseen 46 different women (38 swimmers and eight divers) earning 234 All-America certificates. Eight women’s swimmers have earned 10-plus All-America accolades.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS AND AWARDS
Ganley has been on staff for all seven of the Gopher women’s Big Ten titles. She was an assistant coach for the first two in 1999 and 2000. Minnesota won again in 2008, and rattled off four straight championships from 2012-15.
The Gopher women have collected 127 total Big Ten individual event and relay titles. Sixty-seven of those championships have been during Ganley’s time as a head coach or associate head coach, dating back to 2004-05.
Minnesota women have collected four Big Ten Swimmer of the Year accolades, most recently Kierra Smith in 2015. The Gophers have also boasted two Swimmers of the Championships in Jenny Shaughnessy (2009) and Jillian Tyler (2011). Yuen Kobayashi (2006), and Jillian Tyler (2008) and Tevyn Waddell (2017) were named Big Ten Freshman of the Year under Ganley’s watch. Eight members of the women’s swimming and diving program have won the Big Ten Medal of Honor.
Three Olympic Games competitors competed for Minnesota women’s swimming and diving. Olga Splichalova swam for the Czech Republic in 1992 and 1996. Breaststroke specialist Jillian Tyler represented Canada at both the 2008 and 2012 Games. In the diving well, Kelci Bryant earned silver at her second Olympics.
GOPHERS IN THE CLASSROOM
The Gophers’ success has not been limited to the pool. Minnesota regularly earns CSCAA Scholar All-America Team status, including both the men’s and women’s teams for both semesters of the 2015-16 season. The Gophers have posted at least a dozen women’s Academic All-Big Ten selections in each of Ganley’s 13 seasons as head coach or associate head coach.
Kaylee Jamison became the first Gopher to earn GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team honors in 2011. Jenny Shaughnessy was a second team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2009. In 2015, both Jessica Plant and Chris Johnson received the Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship. Plant also collected the Wayne Duke Award and Big Ten Medal of Honor. She was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year for her excellence as a student-athlete.
Before beginning her coaching career, Ganley was the first woman to earn All-America honors at the University of Minnesota. As a student-athlete, Ganley was a four-time All-American (1974, twice in 1975, 1976) and a two-time Big Ten champion (1974, 1977). She was inducted into the Minnesota Aquatics Hall of Fame in 1984, the “M” Club Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Minnesota Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1994. She graduated in 1977 with a degree in physical education.
Ganley’s two sons both graduated from the University of Minnesota, Joseph in 2008 and Patrick in 2010.