Darlene Renie completed her 14th year as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Purdue women's program in 2010-11. In the summer of 2011, she made the transition to supervisor of swimming and diving operations for both the men's and women's teams. The 2015-16 season marks her fifth year in a that role.
As the main recruiter for the Purdue women's program, Renie was responsible for all aspects of both on- and off-campus recruiting.
Since joining the Purdue staff, Renie has used her expertise, personal example and excellent recruiting skills to help take Purdue from the lower half of the Big Ten Conference to placing among the top-six teams eight out of the past nine years, including a program-best-tying fourth-place finish in 2010 that earned head coach John Klinge the conference's Coach of the Year award.
Nine NCAA Championships qualifiers and five new relay records established at the Big Ten Championships highlighted the 2010-11 season. The nine NCAA qualifiers - seven swimmers and two divers - matched a program record established in 2010. Lisa Butler, Kara Cook, Emily Fogle, Lauren Gustafson, Caitlin Hamilton, Ariel Martin, Erin Mertz, Lauren Nichols and Allie Smith represented the Boilers at the national championship meet in Austin, Texas.
Joining divers Erin Mertz and Kara Cook as Honorable Mention All-Americans were Hamilton (1,650 free) as well as the 400 and 800 relay teams. Butler, Martin and Gustafson swam on both scoring relays along with Smith (400) and Fogle (800).
Purdue scored 36 points at the NCAA Championships to place 25th nationally.
Purdue set new records in all five relay events at the Big Ten Championships. Individually, new program records were established in seven events at the Big Ten Championships. Martin (100 & 200 free), Cook (platform diving), Fogle (200 breast), Hamilton (500 free), Mertz (3-meter diving) and Smith (100 back) all set a new benchmark in Purdue history. Fogle's time in the 100 breast was also a freshman record.
Freshman Caitlin Hamilton took down Purdue records in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events multiple times each throughout her first collegiate season. She finished second in the 1,650 at the Big Ten Championships in a time of 16:02.61 that obliterated the previous record of 16:26.31 that had stood since 1998. She then went on to finish eighth at the NCAA Championships in 16:02.01 to earn All-America status and record the highest national finish in Purdue history. Both 1,000 splits set a new program standard, as well, and the 500 record was broken twice at the Big Ten Championships.
The Boilermakers also had All-American swims from Allie Smith in the 100 backstroke and the 400 and 800 freestyle relays and the 200 medley relay. The 16th-place finish stands as the best in program history, and the nine different All-Americans, as well as the five different scoring events, also rank as program highs.
Renie's recruits have proven to be among the best in Purdue history. The all-time performance lists for all 19 events have been completely rewritten in the past 13 seasons. Only 13 of the 95 names that collectively make up the top-five fastest swimmers in each event were placed there before Renie joined the coaching staff, including her standing in fifth in the 200 butterfly, and she has been on staff and personally coached each and every school record holder.
Since her arrival to Purdue's coaching staff in 1997, Renie has coached two Big Ten champions and guided 18 different student-athletes to either All-America or honorable-mention All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. Renie's most consistent performers at the national meet were Lisa Dolansky, Patricia Finnerty and Lindsay Lange, each of whom qualified for three straight meets from 2001-03.
Together on both medley relays and the 200 freestyle relay, these three competitors combined for 15 honorable-mention All-America citations. Kim Paradeise shared in their relay success in 2002 and 2003, earning four honorable-mention All-America certificates on her own. Gyongyver Lakos was part of the 400 medley relay team that also placed among the top 16 at the national championship meet in 2001.
Lakos and Theekshana Ratnasekera also went on to represent their countries at the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney, Australia. Lakos competed for her home country of Hungary, and Ratnasekera was part of Sri Lanka's delegation to the Games.
Renie, formerly Darlene Warta, was an outstanding swimmer and student-athlete at Purdue from 1986-90. A two-time team captain, Renie became Purdue's first female individual to be selected as an All-American after she placed fifth in the 200-yard butterfly at the 1989 NCAA Championships. In 1990, Renie earned All-America honors again in the 200 butterfly and honorable-mention recognition as a member of the 400 medley relay team. Renie also captured two Big Ten titles by winning the conference's 200 butterfly race in 1988 and 1990.
She left Purdue as the school-record holder in the 200 butterfly. Her personal-best clocking of 1:59.27 still ranks her as the third-fastest in Purdue history in that event. Along with teammate Jill Groff, who still stands as the fourth-fastest 1,650 freestyle swimmer in program history, Renie ranks as the longest-tenured Boilermaker on any of the all-time top-five lists.
She was a Senior Nationals consolation champion, a Junior Nationals qualifier, a four-time NCAA qualifier and the first woman in Purdue history to score individually at the NCAA Championships. She was named Purdue's Outstanding Senior Athlete by Mortar Board and the John Purdue Club's Chicago Athlete of the Year her senior year. By the time she finished her illustrious career, she held school records in the 100 and 200 butterfly, 800 freestyle and 400 medley relays.
A native of Chicago, Renie and her husband, Jeff, live in Lafayette. Jeff, also a Purdue swimming alumnus, was a member of the 1986-87 Boilermaker squad under current head coach Dan Ross. The couple has one daughter, Jessica, 17, and two sons, Jake, 14, and Joshua, 11.