Gardner-Webb Hires Kristina Henkel and Travis Kiser as Swimming Assistants

Gardner-Webb head swimming coach Mike Blum has added 2 assistants to his new-look staff for the 2019-2020 season. Kristina Henkel and Travis Kiser will join Blum on deck as first-year coaches for the Bulldogs.

Henkel comes to the team from nearby Converse College (NCAA Division II) in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In her 2 seasons as head women’s swimming coach there, the team finished 2nd in the Conference Carolinas: which tied for the highest finish in program history. The team set 4 school records and 4 conference records in that time period.

Prior to that, she spent a season as a volunteer assistant at Converse College and part of a year as an assistant coach with the Performance Aquatics Swim Team in Boca Raton, Florida.

Henkel is a Gardner-Webb alumnus, where she was a four-year letter winner and All-Academic honoree in each season from 2012 through 2016.

Kiser comes to the program after working for 3 years as a volunteer assistant with the men’s team at Texas A&M. Part of a rebuilding stretch for the Aggies, he helped lead the team to a 17th-place finish at last year’s NCAA Championship meet. While volunteering with the NCAA program, he also worked as a paid assistant (and head dryland coach) for the College Station-based Aggie Swim Club.

Blum replaces Scott Teeters, who left one season after replacing longtime coach Mike Simpson. Gardner-Webb competes in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association, where last season the men placed 4th out of 7 teams, and the women’s team placed 8th out of 9 teams.

Gardner-Webb has historically only listed 1 full-time assistant coach for the program, so having 2 assistants is a step up for the program.

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2 years ago

Big hires for Blum. Good luck DAWGS!

GWU Alum
2 years ago

Fantastic hires! Excellent coaches! Really excited about the future of the program!

2 years ago

Kiser is also a former Marine serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m pretty sure he’s the only combat veteran coaching at the D1 level!


Runnin Dawgs
2 years ago

Thanks Braden!

2 years ago

Awesome hire! Don’t forget that Travis was a US Marine who served in the infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan. Total tally awesome dude!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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