By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Athletics Communications and Media
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced a one-year extension with the Columbus (Ga.) Sports Council to host the 2018 NAIA Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving National Championships. The event will take place at the Columbus Aquatic Center from Feb. 28 – March 3. The 2018 championships will mark the third-straight year in Columbus. The Columbus Sports Council also hosted the NAIA Softball World Series in 2013 and 2014 and the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round in 2010.
“The NAIA is excited to continue its partnership with the Columbus Sports Council,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “Columbus has already displayed a first-class atmosphere for our student-athletes and we are confident they will do so in 2018. Every individual on the local organizing committee and in the greater Columbus community need to be recognized for their commitment in offering our student-athletes, coaches and fans a great championship experience."
Opened in 2013, the Columbus Aquatic Center is a 57,000 square foot natatorium that features a 10-lane, 50-meter Olympic swimming pool, and a diving well with multiple springboards, including 1-meter and 3-meters. Additionally, there is a mezzanine level that has raised seating for 900 fans. The venue serves as the home of the Columbus Hurricanes and the Southwest Aquatic Group, both are year-around USA Swimming affiliated clubs, as well as local high school teams.
“Columbus is thrilled to be chosen by the NAIA to host the 2018 NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships!” said Merri Sherman, Columbus Sports Council Director. “The Columbus Aquatic Center is an excellent venue with an amazing staff that is eager to welcome back the NAIA. We appreciate the NAIA's trust and partnership to make the 2018 NAIA National Championships a future success for each of the student athletes and the many family members that will be cheering them on. The Columbus Sports Council, along with our partners Columbus Parks and Recreation and the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, look forward to seeing you all soon!”
Founded in 1995, the Columbus Sports Council is an organization that fosters economic development through the recruitment and facilitation of sporting events in the City of Columbus. The flagship event for the group since its inception was the first-ever Olympic softball competition, which took place as part of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. To learn more about the Columbus Sports Council, click here.
The NAIA has sponsored men's swimming and diving since 1957, when the inaugural championship was held in Edwardsville, Ill. The NAIA began sponsoring sport for women in 1981. The 1981 meet, which was the first combined men's and women's swimming and diving national championships, was held in Liberty, Mo. The current men's and women's national titles live with Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). The Tigers won their first-ever women's national title, while the men's program captured its second-straight banner.
Currently, 27 institutions sponsor men's swimming and diving and 32 sponsor women's swimming and diving. For the complete list of participating men's schools, click here. For the complete list of participating women's schools, click here. To learn more about NAIA Men's Swimming and Diving, click here. For additional information on Women's Swimming and Diving, click here.
The NAIA, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in balance with the overall college educational experience. The student-athlete is the center of all NAIA experiences. Each year more than 65,000 student-athletes have the opportunity to play college sports at NAIA member institutions.
Host: Columbus (Ga.) Sports Council
Event: Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving National Championships
Dates: Feb. 28 – March 3, 2018
Facility: Columbus Aquatic Center
City: Columbus, Ga.
Duration: 1-year extension (2018)