Bridgewater College approves addition of men’s swimming program

bridgewater eaglesThe Bridgewater College board of trustees has approved the addition of men’s swimming as an NCAA sport beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year. Recruiting for the program will begin immediately.

“The addition of men’s swimming enables the college to utilize existing facilities to better serve student interests and complement an already-strong women’s program,” said President David W. Bushman, “We’re glad to be able to offer this new program to our current students and interested prospective students.”

The vibrant, local-area high school swim atmosphere offers a solid recruiting base for men’s swimming. The College already has several current students interested in the program and anticipates a roster size of 10-12 the first year and 20-25 within two years.

Current head women’s coach Gwynn Harrison will also handle coaching duties for the new men’s program. Harrison won NCAA Division III men’s national championships as an assistant coach with Kenyon University in 1997 and 1998.

“I am thrilled that Bridgewater College will be adding a men’s swim team in the fall of 2017 and honored to be entrusted to build the program from the ground up,” said Harrison. “A men’s swimming team will help draw many students to Bridgewater each year for this opportunity and will help elevate the existing women’s program in numerous ways.”

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference is sponsoring men’s swimming for the third year this season. The conference currently has five teams: Hampden-Sydney College, Randolph-Macon College, Washington and Lee University, and associate members Ferrum College and Greensboro College.

Emory & Henry College will also start men’s swimming next year, with Roanoke College and Virginia Wesleyan College adding both men’s and women’s programs. This will give the ODAC nine teams in men’s swimming next year, including seven of the 12 full-time ODAC schools.

“It is great to see that Bridgewater College, and the ODAC, has made a commitment to our sport,” said Harrison.

Men’s swimming is the ODAC’s 24th championship sport. With this addition, Bridgewater will compete in all 24 conference offerings.

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