Wayland Baptist University (Texas) has announced that it plans to add swimming and diving for both men and women, beginning with the 2013-14 school year.
"The decision to add swimming and diving not only will enhance our overall athletics program, but will continue to strengthen enrollment as well as add another element of excitement and energy to the campus," said Wayland Baptist athletics director Greg Feris.
The addition of swimming and diving brings the number of intercollegiate athletic programs at Wayland Baptist to 21. In the past three years, Wayland has introduced men's soccer, men's and women's wrestling, co-ed cheer and dance, and football.
Oklahoma Baptist University, the defending men's national champion in the sport, is the only school in the Sooner Athletic Conference that currently offers swimming and diving, although Feris noted that one or two other schools in the league are considering it. Oklahoma Baptist will host the 2013 NAIA national championship meet in Oklahoma City.
Feris noted that research suggests that swimming and diving is an extremely popular sport, with thousands of young people swimming competitively in high school and club programs.
"In Texas' University Interscholastic League Region I alone, there are more than 50 high schools competing in swimming," Feris said.
Applications are now being accepted for a head coach to lead Wayland Baptist's program.