Mike Blum is in his third year as head coach of the Florida Southern men's and women's swimming teams and has already won four national or conference coaching awards, conference titles on both the men's and women's side, and has led the men's team to a pair of top-five finishes at the NCAA Division II National Championships. During his first two years, Blum has produced 23 different All-American swimmers (14 men and nine women) who have combined to win 33 individual All-American or honorable mention All-American awards in addition to further success on various relay teams. Two of those relay teams, the men's 200-medley and 400-medley, brought home national titles in 2016.
Blum took charge of the Florida Southern swimming program on June 26, 2015 after spending seven years over two different time periods as an assistant coach under Duncan Sherrard. He was also a student-athlete at Florida Southern as a member of the swimming team in 2004-05 during the program's second year of existence, making him one of five members of the Florida Southern athletic staff who are now head coaches at their alma mater. Chris Bellotto in softball, Jill Stephens in volleyball, Ben Martucci in cross-country and track & field, and Lance Niekro in baseball are the others.
Following his promotion to head coach, Blum led the Moccasin women's swimming team to its first ever Sunshine State Conference championship in 2016, and the men's team to its fourth straight. The women won seven gold medals at the SSC Championships that year along with two silvers, and six bronzes; meanwhile, the Moccasin men claimed four gold medals, five silvers, and nine bronzes. A total of 12 Florida Southern swimmers (six men and six women) were on their respective all-conference teams, and Sean Kim was selected as the SSC Men's Freshman-of-the-Year. All of that helped Blum become the first coach to sweep the SSC Coach-of-the-Year awards since the league added the sport during the 2010-11 school year.
As a rookie head coach, Blum had 16 of his swimmers (eight men and eight women) qualify for the Division II National Finals, including five freshmen, and all 16 came home with at least one All-American or honorable mention All-American certificate. Nine other Moccasins (five men and four women) had NCAA provisional qualifying times throughout the season.
At the National Finals, the men's 200-medley and 400-medley relay teams won national titles (becoming the first school in nine years to win both medley relays), and Marco Palacios was a national runner-up in the 100-backstroke. The men's team would set seven school records during their time in Indianapolis en route to a third-place finish overall, which marked the fifth year in a row the Moccasins were in the top-five. For Florida Southern's performance at the National Finals, Blum was selected as the 2016 CSCAA National Men's Swimming Coach-of-the-Year.
On the women's side, the eight selections for the National Finals was a new school record, which resulted in another record when all eight of them earned All-American or honorable mention All-American honors. Even more impressive for Blum and the Moccasins, four of those eight were freshmen competing in their first collegiate season as the Mocs finished 15th overall in the women's standings.
Last year saw the Moccasins again challenge for the SSC titles where the men finished as runner-up in a tight race with Nova Southeastern featuring a lineup that included nine sophomores or freshmen, along with two other newcomers. The women's team placed third at the 2017 SSC Championships with a lineup of 10 sophomores or freshmen. Many of those underclassman went on to compete at the National Finals too, with the men's team sending 10 swimmers to Birmingham and the women's team sending seven.
Six of the men's swimmers who advanced to the 2017 National Finals were first-time selections for the Moccasins, and along with the four veterans they led Florida Southern to a fourth-place finish. That made Florida Southern the only Division II swimming team in the country to place in the top-five at nationals each of the last six years. The Moccasins brought home four medals as well, which surpassed their total of three from the 2016 Finals. All 10 of the Moccasin men who qualified for Nationals won at least one All-American certificate in either an individual event or relay. That performance at the National Finals, along with their runner-up finish at the conference meet, gave Blum his second SSC Men's Swimming Coach-of-the-Year award in as many seasons. The women's team had four swimmers pick up All-American awards, giving Blum a total of 14 All-Americans in year two of his tenure.
Before he was elevated to the head coaching position, Blum spent a total of seven seasons as the Moccasins' assistant coach, running from 2007-10, and 2012-16. In between those two stints, he was a head age group coach, assistant senior coach, and aquatics coordinator for the Sarasota YMCA Sharks in Venice, Florida in 2010-11. He then spent the 2011-12 season as an assistant coach at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, before moving back to Lakeland and Florida Southern College in time for the 2012-13 season.
After his return to Florida Southern, Blum helped lead the Moccasin program to new heights as they recorded back-to-back national runner-up finishes in men's swimming in 2013 and 2014, and won three Sunshine State Conference championships. During that same time, the women's program had two top-10 national finishes and was the SSC runner-up in 2014 and '15.
During his first tour with the Mocs from 2007-10, Blum helped the Mocs send eight swimmers to the NCAA Division II National Championships in 2010, the first ones to ever make it to the championships since FSC adopted the sport in 2003. All four men and all four women that season ended up earning All-American honors in at least one event. The following year, the Mocs had their first first-ever top-10 finish as a team, with the women placing seventh and men eighth.
In his seven seasons as assistant coach, Blum, who primarily coached the distance swimmers, helped coach 56 Division II All-Americans, seven Division II national champions, 17 CSCAAA First-Team Scholastic All-Americans, four SSC Athletes-of-the-Year, four FSC Athletes-of-the-Year, one Polk County Female Collegiate Athlete-of-the-Year, two 2013 World Championship qualifiers, and one Olympic qualifier (Allan Gutierrez in the 2012 London Olympics).
While at Gardner-Webb, Blum helped the program sign the most decorated recruiting class in men's team history and was responsible for coaching the distance swimmers and the 400 individual medley. In his one season at Gardner-Webb, he assisted in the coaching of six school records, a third place men's team finish and a fourth place women's team finish at the 2012 Coastal Collegiate Conference Championships.
During Blum's time with the Sarasota YMCA Sharks program, his 2011 team won the Florida Swimming Junior Olympic team championship and the 2011 Short Course YMCA National Championship. He also coached several YMCA national champions and had a number of others qualify for nationals at both the junior and senior levels.
In addition to his work with the Sharks, Blum has also coached a USA Swimming age group with the New Port Richey/Tampa Bay team.
Along with assisting the Moccasin swimming program, Blum also serves as the head coach of the Lakeland Area Swimming program. He is the head coach of all senior level swimmers and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the program. In his time with Lakeland Area Swimming, Blum has coached several Polk County High School Swimmers of the Year, numerous Florida High School State Swimming qualifiers, Florida Age Group qualifiers and champions, NCSA Junior National qualifiers and Florida Senior Championship qualifiers and champions. He was an area representative to the Board of Directors of Florida Swimming in 2014.
A central Florida native, Blum graduated from Ridgewood High School in New Port Richey in 2004, before earning his bachelor's degree in physical education from Florida Southern College in 2008. Blum is a member of both the College Swim Coaches Association and the American Swim Coaches Association.
updated July of 2017