UMSL Athletics to reinstate men’s and women’s swimming and diving
The University of Missouri–St. Louis Department of Athletics has announced the reinstatement of men’s and women’s swimming and diving as a varsity sport. Both programs will begin competition in the 2014-15 academic year.
Men’s swimming and diving was initially added in 1971, while women’s swimming and diving was added in 1977. Both programs were eliminated after the 1995-96 seasons.
“The university and our department have carefully considered the reinstatement of swimming and diving and we feel the time is right to make this move,” Director of Athletics Lori Flanagan said. “This addition will serve as a great benefit to the university in general in attracting prospective students.”
The men’s program produced 13 national qualifiers and seven all-Americans from 1984-1996. They finished among the top 20 at the NCAA Division II national swimming and diving championships five times and scored a school-record 200 points to place seventh at the 1991-92 NCAA Division II national championships, while a school-best six swimmers earned all-America honors that season.
College swimming and diving competitions in the regular season include dual meets, as well as additional meets featuring three or more teams. The season occurs over the winter, with the first meets of the year starting each October and the postseason beginning in February.
Swimmers compete individually and in relays, and the different strokes include freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. The distances for each race vary from 50 to 1,650 yards. Diving competitions are judged at the one and three meter heights. Points are then awarded to each team based on each individual’s finish in each event.
The UMSL Tritons will compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which began sponsoring swimming and diving as a championship sport this season.
Six GLVC schools currently sponsor both men’s and women’s swimming and diving, including Bellarmine, Drury, Indianapolis, Lewis, Truman State and William Jewell. In addition, Missouri S&T currently fields a men’s squad and Maryville fields a women’s squad.
The NCAA has been awarding national championships in Division II women’s swimming and diving since 1982 and in men’s since 1964. Fellow GLVC member Drury has won nine straight NCAA Division II titles and 11 overall on the men’s side, while the women are owners of nine NCAA Division II titles and have claimed the national championship in four of the last five years, including 2013.
The addition of both swimming programs will bring the total number of UMSL varsity teams to 13, including seven women’s (basketball, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball) and six men’s (baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis).
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