Rita Kalmikova has been named Head Men's and Women's Swimming Coach for Tiffin University. Tiffin University will add men's and women's swimming and diving to its athletics mix for the 2013-14 athletic season.
Kalmikova arrives at Tiffin after coaching last season at Bowling Green State University. Prior to that, she had coached for four years at Western Kentucky University.
"I am excited about this opportunity," said Kalmikova. " I want to thank Athletic Director Lonny Allen for seeing the potential in building a great program. Tiffin University has a lot to offer and I cannot wait to start building a new culture for swimming here."
"We are excited about having swimming at Tiffin University," said Athletic Director Lonny Allen. "We are also excited to have it under the direction of Rita. With swimming being a conference sport, we feel her experience at the conference, national, and world level prepares her well to build our program. With her being a former GLIAC swimmer and collegiate coach, she knows what type of student athlete we need."
At WKU, Kalmikova was responsible for the individual medley and breaststroke swimmers as well as developing mental preparation techniques for all swimmers and divers. She designed, planned and implemented workout regimens while also serving as recruiting coordinator.
Kalmikova's teams enjoyed conference and national success during her four seasons. The women's swimming and diving team won three consecutive Sun Belt Conference championships from 2008-2010 and finished second in 2011. The men's team won the SBC championship in 2010.
At the 2011 SBC Championships, Kalmikova's swimmers won the men's 100 breaststroke, men's 400 medley relay and women's 200 medley relay. They also won silver medals in the women's 100 breaststroke, women's 400 IM, men's 200 medley relay and women's 400 medley relay.
Kalmikova's swimmers set 11 SBC and 53 school records during her four year tenure. She also helped train butterfly swimmer Claire Donahue, who was the silver medalist in the 100 butterfly at the 2011 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Donahue, who finished fourth at the NCAA meet in 2010, set a school record while setting a new WKU standard for highest-ever finish at an NCAA meet.
Prior to coaching at WKU, Kalmikova was an assistant coach at Union (N.Y.) College. While there, she helped the Union women's team set a school record for most points scored at an NCAA championship meet. The team also broke several records under her watch. She helped develop strength programs at Union and was the Head Master's swimming coach.
She also has experience as a volunteer coach for the Latvian National Swim Team (1997-2001) and as a senior swim coach for the Bolingbrook Swim Club (2001-2004).
Kalmikova's amateur career included collegiate swimming at Lewis (Ill.) University, where she graduated in 2005. At Lewis, a GLIAC swimming and diving institution, she was named Most Valuable Swimmer twice and served as the team captain. She finished in second place in the 200 breaststroke at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships, as she qualified for the national meet three times. She was also named All-American five times.
Kalmikova is a two-time Olympian for Latvia. She was a world championship team member and a four-time World Cup team member. She was named "Best Latvian Female Swimmer" in 1996 and 2000. She also holds the Latvian national record in the 200 breaststroke.
Tiffin, a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, joins nine other GLIAC schools in sponsoring women's swimming and diving, while seven GLIAC schools currently offer men's swimming and diving. Wayne State, Grand Valley State, Indianapolis, Northern Michigan, Ashland, Hillsdale, Findlay, Lewis, and Lake Erie offer women's programs, while Wayne State, Grand Valley State, Indianapolis, Ashland, Lewis, Lake Erie, and Findlay offer men's programs. Wayne State was the NCAA Division II Women's National Champion last season.