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NAIA Swimming & Diving National Championships Preview

March 03, 2014
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By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — (Psych Sheet) The 58th Annual Men’s and 34th Annual Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships kick off Wednesday, March 5, at the Oklahoma City Community College Natatorium in Oklahoma City, Okla. This is the third-straight year that both National Championships have been held at the site. 

Competition begins at 11 a.m. CST Wednesday, with the 1-Meter Women’s Diving and 3-Meter Men’s Diving preliminaries and finals. The National Championships will continue on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with preliminaries beginning each morning at 10 a.m. and finals commencing each evening at 6 p.m.

On the men’s side, two-time defending national champion and consensus No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist is looking for its third-straight national championship, in the program’s third year of intercollegiate competition. Since the program’s inception during the 2011-12 season, Oklahoma Baptist has topped nine-of-11 Coaches’ Polls, including all three regular-season editions in 2013-14.

The Bison broke seven national championship records and collected 13 All-America honors at last year’s event. Heading into this year’s national championships, they own NAIA top times in four-of-five relays: the 200-Freestyle, 200-Medley, 400-Freestyle and 400-Medley. Individual Oklahoma Baptist swimmers also hold the top times in the 100-Freestyle, 200-Freestyle, 100-Backstroke, 100-Breaststroke, 200-Breaststroke, 100-Butterfly and 200-Butterfly, while the Bison divers sit atop every diving category.

No. 2 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) and No. 3 St. Andrews (N.C), which have been ranked among the top three in every 2013-14 poll, will challenge Oklahoma Baptist for the title. Defending national runner-up and No. 4 Concordia (Calif.), No. 5 (tie) Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 5 (tie) Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) were the only other programs to garner top five mentions this season.

In all, 20 programs will be competing for the 2014 NAIA Men’s Swimming & Diving National Championship. Nineteen of the 20 programs will be searching for their first national title, with Oklahoma Baptist (2012, 2013) being the lone exception.

On the women’s side, defending national champion and consensus No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist is searching for its second-straight national championship after finishing as national runners-up in 2011-12, the program’s first year of intercollegiate competition.  Since the program’s inception during the 2011-12 season, Oklahoma Baptist has been ranked among the top three in all 11 Coaches’ Polls, including all three regular-season editions in 2013-14.

The Bison broke two national championship records and collected 13 All-America honors at last year’s event. Heading into this year’s national championships, they own NAIA top times in two-of-five relays: the 200-Freestyle and 400-Freestyle. Individual Oklahoma Baptist swimmers also hold top times in the 50-Freestyle, 100-Freestyle, 100-Breaststroke, 200-Breaststroke, while the Bison divers sit atop two-of-three diving categories.

Defending national runner-up and No. 2 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) and No. 3 Cumberlands (Ky.), which have been ranked among the top three in every 2013-14 poll, will challenge Oklahoma Baptist for the title. No. 4 Brenau (Ga.), No. 5 Concordia (Calif.), Union (Ky.), Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and Biola (Calif.) were the only other programs to receive No. 5 mentions this year.

In all, 22 programs will contend for the 2014 NAIA Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championship. Twenty of the 22 programs will be searching for their first national title, with Oklahoma Baptist (2013) and SCAD Savannah (2009, 2010) being the only exceptions.

NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company for select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all four days of the 2014 Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla. Don't miss the free live video stream of all of the action running from March 5-8. For more information and to pre-register, click here.