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Jeana Kempe

Jeana Kempe

Jeana Kempe was the final assistant swim coach hire by Jeff Poppell for his new staff at South Carolina on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. 

Kempe brings eleven years of collegiate coaching experience with previous stops at Northern Arizona (2010-11), LSU (2012-18) and Auburn (2019-21).  
She most recently spent three years as an assistant coach on the plains where she worked primarily with the middle-distance men and women. In 2019, Kempe helped lead Auburn’s women’s team to a 15th place finish at the NCAA Championships, its highest team finish in seven years. All five of Auburn’s women’s relays scored points at NCAAs as well earning All-America honors that season. During her time at Auburn, she was instrumental in the development of one SEC champion in the 200 freestyle, two All-Americans in the 200 backstroke, and a new program recordholder in the 200 breaststroke. In total, Kempe helped the Tigers register 11 individual All-American performances.

Prior to Kempe’s arrival at Auburn, she spent six years in Baton Rouge where she served as an assistant coach for LSU before being promoted to the associate head women’s coach her final year with the program. While with the Tigers, Kempe worked with the middle-distance stroke groups. From 2012-2014, her athletes broke ten school records and eleven swimmers qualified for the NCAA Championships. She helped lead LSU’s women to its highest finish at the SEC Championships as it took fifth in 2015. The program also sent a program record 11 swimmers and divers to the NCAA Championships in back-to-back years during her tenure.
Kempe has also participated in the USA Swimming Women’s Leadership Summit and National Team Camps in 2015 and 2017.

“I am absolutely thrilled that Jeana has agreed to join us at South Carolina,” said Poppell. “She has nearly ten years of experience in the SEC at both LSU and Auburn and has done a phenomenal job at both institutions. Having been able to watch Jeana from afar, I have always been impressed with the improvement of the swimmers under her tutelage but more importantly what has stood out to me the most are how rock solid the relationships are that she has developed with her student-athletes. To me, that trait is what I have always felt was the foundation for effective coaching and mentorship. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to work with her.”

Kempe, a native of Lebanon, Ill., was a former US National Junior Team Member and a five-time Illinois state champion prior to attending UCLA. While with the Bruins, she was a team captain and a PAC-10 Championship finalist. She earned her bachelors in sociology from UCLA in 2007 and then completed her master of arts in education psychology and human relations from Northern Arizona in 2009.