Julie Hermann's first major hire - an outside search for a very visible sport - has brought a Terrapin to the Banks.
Rutgers announced that Petra Martin has been named head swimming and diving coach, replacing Phil Spiniello, who stepped down from the helm of the program in March.. Martin arrives at Rutgers following a five-year stint as head coach at Bowling Green State University, where she guided the program to a top-three finish at the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships in three consecutive seasons. At the MAC Championships, the Falcons have increased their point total, despite competing without any divers in all three seasons.
"We are thrilled that Coach Martin has become our new head swimming and diving coach," said Hermann. "During our national search, Petra became our number one target to lead our program into Big Ten contention."
Aside from success in the pool, Martin brings a strong academic focus, something Rutgers - and the Big Ten - expect. Her first year at the helm at Bowling Green, the Falcons compiled a team GPA ranked sixth amongst Division I Women's Swimming and Diving programs by the College Swim Coaches Association of America. The team maintained its academic excellence throughout her tenure, ranking fifth amongst all DI programs following the fall 2014 semester. From 2013 to 2015, BGSU was also a Scholar All-America team.
In 2010, Martin began as head coach at BGSU. The 2012-13 MAC Coach of the year guided the program to back-to-back third place finishes at the conference championships in 2013 and 2014, marking the first time since 1992 and 1993 the team registered back-to-back years with a top-three finish. She expanded the streak with a third-place showing at the 2015 MAC Championships.
"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to lead the Scarlet Knights' swimming and diving team," said Martin. "The program has so many great opportunities ahead and it is clear to me that Rutgers is on the verge of something great. The institution has a lot to offer academically and athletically and I cannot wait to be part of that. There is also a strong drive and commitment to excellence on all levels. I love the energy and direction from everyone in the department and look forward to building a very special team."
A former Maryland Terrapin from 2000-02, Martin earned Honorable Mention All-America Honors in 2001 for the 200 and 400 meter freestyle relay. Following her undergraduate career at Maryland, Martin remained involved with the Terps as an assistant coach. The team registered a fourth-place finish at Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships and an undefeated dual season with her assistance. In addition, she coached four NCAA qualifiers and ACC top performers, along with four Olympic Trials Qualifier.
Prior to BGSU, Martin served as an assistant coach to the men's and women's programs at George Mason University. She guided the women's squad to back-to-back appearances at NCAAs, highlighted by a 21st-place team finish at the 2010 NCAA Division Swimming and Diving Championships. Additionally, she saw two top-10 finishes in the women's 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
Martin is, herself, an academic. After earning separate Bachelor of Science degrees in both marketing and finance, accompanied by a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the Maryland, Martin added a B.S. in physical education at the Oxford College of Emory University in 2004.