Ithaca Hires Mike Blakely-Armitage as Swimming and Diving Head Coach
Ithaca College on Friday announced the hiring of alum Mike Blakely-Armitage as the program’s new head coach. He replaces his former mentor, Kevin Markwardt, who retired in May after 42 years coaching the Ithaca swimmind squads.
Blakely-Armitage swam for and worked with Markwardt. He graduated from Ithaca in 2000 and was in the midst of his second stint as an associate head coach on Markwardt’s staff.
“I want to thank Susan Bassett and the entire search committee for entrusting me with the responsibility of guiding our current and future Bombers towards academic and athletic excellence,” Blakely-Armitage said in a university statement. ”Their commitment to excellence while supporting a robust student-athlete experience was evident throughout the entire search process.”
With Markwardt, Blakely-Armitage helped lead the Ithaca women to four straight Liberty League Championships. The men’s team was the runner-up in the conference last year, and the Bombers qualified 14 swimmers for the 2023 NCAA Division III Championships. They garnered seven All-American honors.
Blakely-Armitage coached as his alma mater shortly after graduating. He then spent 10 years at Ithaca High School, leading the boys team from 2009-19 and the girls from 2015-19. He didn’t lose a boys dual meet in that time, the Little Red going 72-0, winning eight Section IV titles, breaking three state records and garnering 17 All-American honors. His swimmers won four individual and three relay state titles. The girls team went 27-1 in his fourth seasons, three times winning Section IV.
“It is with great pleasure, confidence and Bomber pride that I announce the promotion of Mike Blakely-Armitage ‘00, as our next head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach,” athletic director Susan Bassett said. “Since rejoining our staff in 2019, Mike has demonstrated exceptional effectiveness in recruiting and coaching. Through the search process, Coach Blakely-Armitage painted a vision for the future of the program that aligns with the vision and mission of Ithaca College Athletics’ aspiration to consistently compete at a high level while providing a meaningful educational experience for our students. I look forward to seeing how Coach Blakely-Armitage will build on our tradition of success in swimming and diving.”