Southern Illinois University has announced the hiring of program alum Laura Carver as its new assistant coach.
Carver swam for the Salukis from 2016-2020, where she was a three-time All-MVC team member and a four-time MVC Scholar-Athlete. As a senior, she was named a team captain and as the team’s MVP. That senior season was a year of overlap as an athlete with the team’s current head coach, Geoff Hanson, who was hired in summer 2019.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Laura back to the Saluki swimming and diving family!” Hanson said. “Her experience as a top level swimmer at SIU and leader of this program will benefit the current team greatly. She is a great addition to this coaching staff.”
In her four seasons on the varsity team at Southern Illinois, she finished in the A-final every time, including three top-three finishes (2020 – 400 IM, 2019 – 400 IM, 2019 – 200 breast).
As a student, Carver was named to the Dean’s List in all four years and graduated with a 3.95 GPA.
After graduation, Carver joined the National Guard and is currently serving in the 163rd Field Artillery Regiment. Carver brings to Southern Illinois coaching experience, serving as the assistant coach at Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana. In her first year, she helped lead both the CHS girls and boys swimming and diving team to an undefeated record in season, winning conference and sectional titles, while sending multiple qualifiers to compete at the IHSAA State Championships.
Carver also served as the Assistant Lead Coach for the Newburgh Sea Creatures swim club, where she worked with multiple state finalists, 5 junior national qualifiers, and a Paralympic gold medalist, Mikaela Jenkins. The Sea Creatures is the youth club of World Record holder Lilly King.
Carver’s addition gives the program four full-time swim coaches and a full-time diving coach. That is an expansion from prior years, where the program has carried only three full-time coaches. In fact, prior to Hanson’s arrival at Southern Illinois, the program had just one full-time swimming assistant and one graduate assistant.
The SIU women finished 4th out of 8 teams at last year’s MVC Championships, while the SIU men finished 2nd out of 6 teams at the MAC Championships.