Head men's and women's swimming and diving coach Mike Schnur continues his lifelong devotion to Red and Blue swimming, as he recently completed his 27th season involved with the program and 14th as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s squads.
The 2013-14 season saw the sprinters break all of the relay and individual records. Between the men and women combined, 26 school records have been broken. The season also saw the men’s program place third at the Ivy League Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships -- its best finish in 42 years. Sophomore Eric Schultz was the first member of the Red and Blue to win the title in the 50 freestyle since 1942, while sophomore Chris Swanson set a new Ivy League Meet Record with his time in the 1650 free. Swanson won a second title in the 500 free. With his times, Swanson competed at the NCAAs in both events, recording a new school record in the 1650 free with a ninth place finish, earning All-America Honors. Senior Shelby Fortin, the most decorated women’s swimmer in the history of the program, won her seventh title at the 2014 Ivy League Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, recording a new Ivy League Meet Record in the 200 freestyle. Her time in the 100 free, 200 free, and 500 free at Ivies qualified her to compete at NCAAs, where she placed 55th, 43rd, and 49th in the nation, in the respective events.
In the 2012-13 season, both the men and women’s squads placed first out of six schools in the Total Performance Invitational. The men also placed first out of six at the Cavalier Invite, while the women finished second. Both teams finished sixth at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships. Junior Shelby Fortin earned her third consecutive 500 freestyle title while freshman Chris Swanson took the title in the 1650 free; both swimmers qualified for NCAAs. Fortin placed 58 in the nation in the 500 free, while Swanson placed 33 in the 1650 free.
The 2011-12 season saw Penn rack up some impressive accomplishments on both the men's and women's sides. The men went 8-4 in dual meets, their best winning percentage since the 2000-2001 season, and were also champions of the Total Performance Invitational. Brendan McHugh set numerous school records as a senior and became the first Quaker in nearly 20 years to qualify for the NCAA Division I Men's Swimming & Diving Championships. Led by Shelby Fortin, the women's team collected six dual meet victories and also claimed the Total Performance Invitational title.
On the men's side, McHugh continued his dominance in Ivy swimming, winning one event and finishing second in two others to help Penn to its second consecutive top-five finish in the Ivy League Championships. It marked the first time that happened since the 1972-73 teams finished in third and fourth. The Quakers also set six new school records in 2011, highlighted by McHugh's Ivy League record in the 100-yard breast.
Schnur led the Red and Blue to new heights during the 2009-10 season. The men's finished with two All-Ivy performers for the second consecutive year and took fourth in the Ivy League Championships, a feat which was last accomplished in 1974. Leading Penn in the Championships was senior James Fee, who had two second place finishes and a third place finish. Seven different individuals recorded top-eight finishes, while Penn broke two school records in the event. The men also finished with a winning record in Ivy dual meets, with a 4-3 mark.
On the women's side, Penn took fourth at the Ivy League Championships for the second consecutive season. The Red and Blue had six different individuals swim to top eight performances, while senior Melissa Gardel was Penn's first All-Ivy performer in two years. The Quakers also set two school records at the Ivy Championships, in the 200 and 400-yard I.M, by Laura Klick and Melissa Parratto.
The Red and Blue finished 6-5 record in the 2008-09 season, including a 3-4 record in Ivy action on the way to a sixth-place finish in the EISL Championships, matching their highest finish since Red and Blue took sixth during the 2004-05 season. The Quakers also broke 12 records over the course of the season, including all five relay events.
On the women's side, the Red and Blue finished with a 3-4 Ivy record and 5-6 record overall. However, the Quakers broke several school records in the Ivy League Championships to propel them into a fourth-place finish, their highest in three years. Eight different school records were broken on the season, including two by Klick, who set records in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke.
During the 2007-2008 season the Penn men's team battled through an exhausting EISL season, finishing 2-5, 8-6 overall, and came away with a second-place finish at the Kenyon Invitational. The women's team had a spectacular showing, finishing the season 8-6 and eclipsing seven team records, five coming in individual events and two in relays. Sara Coenen swam both the 100 and 200 backstroke to Ivy gold medals, while Chaz Maul received a silver medal at the EISL Championships in the 100 breaststroke.
Schnur's success was also evident in the 2003-04 campaign. The women's team captured a 3-3 record in Ivy League competition and a winning mark on the season at 7-5 - the fifth-straight feat for this program. Kathleen Holthaus, C'04 was named Academic-All Ivy League for the third-straight year.
Under Schnur's guidance, three Quakers were named second-team All-Ivy in 2003-04. Andrew Trout in the 50 free, Pat Maloney in the 200 fly and Holthaus in the 1000 free. The Quakers ended the season with four top-ten finishes at the men's EISL Championships, while the women captured 12 top-ten places at the Ivy Championships.
Schnur had his most successful season in 2002-03, leading the women's team to a program-record 10 dual-meet wins, while the men's team brought home its third-best finish at the EISL Championships and best since the 1988-89 season. The Quaker women also broke 13 records, including nine at the League meet en route to scoring the most points (366) in program history at the Ivy League Championships.
Holthaus and then-sophomore Kathryn Stores were both named second-team All-Ivy for their silver medal performances at the championships. At the end of the 2002-03 season, Holthaus swam the 30th-fastest 1000 freestyle in the country. Her time in the 1650 freestyle ranked in the top 75, while Stores' time in the 100 freestyle was also ranked in the top 75.
In 2002, Schnur's tutelage spread through the entire swimming and diving program as Penn had its first swimmer ranked in the nation's top 50, earned its first win over Columbia in 11 years and the women's team established 14 Penn records, nine of which were set at the Ivy League Championships.
These past successes were no fluke for the Quakers. Schnur has been building upon the swimming and diving program since he took over as interim head coach in 1999, and then as head coach the following year. In the year as the interim head coach, Schnur guided the men's team to a 7-5 record and its first victory over Army in 25 seasons, while a win over Cornell for the women snapped a 42-meet Ivy losing streak.
Schnur has produced six Ivy League champions, 16 All-Ivy selections and 11 Academic All-Ivy honorees. In 1999-00, Kenneth Goh took home the gold in the 100 breaststroke in a school-record time of 55.8 seconds, while Stores grabbed the gold in the 200 freestyle event two years ago. Stores was the first woman swimmer to earn that distinction since 1983.
Prior to his appointment as head coach, Schnur served as an assistant coach for six years at Penn under Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert, who was the first female head coach in the nation to coach both a men's and women's collegiate swimming program.
Schnur served as co-captain of the 1987-88 Quaker team that recorded the second most-successful dual-meet record in the 100-year-plus history of the program (6-5 overall, 5-2 Ivy League). As a four-year member of the Penn swimming program, Schnur earned numerous team awards including Outstanding Freshman, Most Valuable Swimmer, and the prestigious Class of '88 Team Spirit Award. His accolades were well deserved as Schnur was a four-year varsity record holder in the 1000 and 1650 freestyle events and was an Eastern qualifier in the 200 butterfly and the 400 IM.
Schnur and his wife Audrey have one son, Nick, and reside in Lafayette Hill.