Blake Braden enters his second season at the helm of the men’s and women’s swim teams after the announcement to add the program in the spring of 2017.
During the 2018-19 campaign, the men's swim team registered a third place finish at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, while the 400 freestyle relay garnered All-Conference honors. On the women's side, Braden guided the program to a fourth place finish at the HCAC Championship with five swimmers recording new personal best times.
Swimming returns to the College after a 40-year absence, as it began as an intramural program in 1967. Using the former pool in the J. Graham Brown Campus Center, Hanover sported an intercollegiate club program from 1969-77, competing against such opponents as Louisville, Butler, DePauw and Berea (Ky.).
“I am honored and excited to be named the head men’s and women’s swim coach at Hanover College,” stated Braden. “The positive energy, the beauty, and the wonderful campus atmosphere really made it easy for me to commit to such a wonderful school.”
Braden will join the athletics staff at Hanover after spending the last four seasons as an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s swim programs at Millikin (Ill.), where he was also a three-year letter winner for the Big Blue from 2006-09. During his time in Decatur, Braden also spent three years as the head swim coach for the Decatur Swim Club.
During his tenure at Millikin, Braden assisted with the implementation of workouts, while also dealing heavily with recruitment. Since 2013, he has assisted in the coaching of nine new school records at Millikin.
As the head coach of the Decatur Swim Club, Braden managed the team operations for the Age Level, Swim Lesson and Masters Level programs. At the Age Level, his new training program helped result in 40 new club records, while also producing four Speedo Sectional swimmers and three Illinois Swimming Zone qualifiers.
Braden began his coaching career at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis from 2009-2013. In his four seasons with the Flashes, he was named sectional coach of the year by the Indiana High School Athletic Association twice, while producing 12 new school records. Braden also sent 20 swimmers to the IHSAA State Championships, with five swimmers logging top-10 finishes.
“I want to thank Hanover College for presenting me with this opportunity to establish a strong culture and tradition for Panther swimming. Hanover has a strong commitment to excellence, which I will gladly continue with the swim program moving forward.”
Braden spent his first three years at Millikin before graduating from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2012 with a bachelor of arts degree in general studies, adding advanced course work in education, sport psychology and sports ethics.