WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.
– Minnesota alumna and former Manhattan head coach Molly Belk
has joined Purdue women's swimming & diving as the program's new assistant, head coach John Klinge
Belk has been the head coach of the men's and women's programs at Manhattan since July 2017. The Jaspers broke 25 school records during the 2017-18 season. Along with coaching both teams, she was also responsible for all their administrative duties.
"We are beyond excited to welcome Molly to the Purdue Swimming & Diving Family," Klinge said. "Molly's passion, background and infectious attitude will make an immediate impact on our program in a positive fashion. As a student-athlete, she competed at a high level at the Big Ten and NCAA Championships. She's gained valuable experience early in her coaching career at multiple levels, most recently as a head coach at a Division I university. Molly will be a huge asset to our swimmers and team."
At Minnesota, Belk was a three-year NCAA Championships qualifier and also raced at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2008 and 2012. As a junior, she competed at the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center twice as Purdue hosted both the 2010 Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships. The Gophers won the Big Ten title her freshman year and finished second the other three seasons. She was a versatile swimmer that competed in butterfly, breaststroke, Individual medley and freestyle events during her college career.
"I am beyond thrilled for the opportunity to join Purdue's staff of extremely experienced coaches and wonderful people," Belk said. "At every point in this process, it has been clear how much of a family Purdue truly is. I am so thankful to John and the Purdue staff for their support. I know that together we can continue to add to the success and growth that the program has already has under his tutelage. I'm so excited to work with the high achieving and dedicated student-athletes at Purdue. They are doing great things in and out of the pool, and I can't wait to join the team."
Belk's sister Rory is a Purdue swimming alumna, graduating in 2007 as a four-year letterwinner that excelled in the breaststroke and individual medley events.
Belk also began her coaching career at Minnesota, serving as a volunteer assistant with the Gophers during the 2011-12 school year while pursuing a master's degree in elementary education. She earned both a bachelor's of science and master's of education in elementary education. In 2012, the Minnesota women won the Big Ten title and finished 15th at the NCAA Championships.
Prior to becoming the head coach at Manhattan, Belk spent two years working with Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics in New York City. She served as the lead coach of just under 100 athletes while also assisting the national group. Additionally, she worked directly with the program's Silver Medal Club and was the coordinator of the Parent Education of Sport and Nutrition group.
Belk was an assistant swimming coach for a season at the renowned 92nd Street YMCA after moving to New York in the summer of 2014.
While serving as an elementary school teacher in St. Paul, Belk was the varsity head coach at North St. Paul High School from July 2012 until the Minneapolis native decided to move to New York two years later. She coached six swimmers to state championships after the team had only one qualifier the year before she arrived. Every summer from 2008 to 2014, she also served as a head counselor at the Minnesota Swim Camps.
Belk was Minnesota swimming & diving's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient as a senior and also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Away from the pool, Belk has served as a board member for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. She attended the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as a volunteer with the organizing committee. Additionally, she established the Ra'ey Youth Soccer Organization, which has helped to empower Ethiopian youth through academics and soccer.
The Manhattan men's team was tops in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and ranked tied for fourth nationally with a 3.47 grade-point average during the 2018 spring semester. Both programs earned Scholar All-America Team honors from the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America in the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018. The team GPAs rose for both teams from the fall to the spring.