By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Athletic Communications & 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 2019 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving National Championships. The event has been hosted by the sports council since 2016. Swimmers and divers will compete at the Columbus Aquatic Center from Feb. 27 – March 2, 2019.
In early March, Keiser (Fla.) captured the 2018 men’s swimming & diving team national championship, its first in school history. On the women’s side, SCAD (Ga.) claimed its fourth swimming & diving national championship and second in the past three years.
In each of the past three years, the event has drawn an average of nearly 1,000 spectators at the Aquatic Center. It is estimated the event brings in more than $600,000 to the community each year.
“The NAIA is excited to partner with the Columbus Sports Council in this event for another year,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “Columbus has proven to deliver a best-in-class experience for our student-athletes and teams and we look forward to another fantastic national championship.”
Founded in 1995, the Columbus Sports Council is an organization that strives to make a positive impact on the greater Columbus region through sporting events. 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.
“We are thrilled to have been chosen to host the 2019 NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships at the beautiful Columbus Aquatic Center!” said Merri Sherman, Columbus Sports Council Executive Director. “We truly enjoy hosting your event and look forward to seeing everyone back in Columbus!”
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 USA Swim Team and Southwest Aquatics of Georgia (SWAG), a USA Swimming affiliated club team.
“Columbus Parks and Recreation is excited to host the 2019 NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships here in Columbus, Ga.,” said Holli Browder, Columbus Parks and Recreation Department Director. “We have enjoyed the level of competition and sportsmanship displayed by the athletes, coaches, staff and families we have met over the past three years while hosting the event and look forward to providing an exceptional experience for all who attend the event here in Columbus, Ga., in 2019!”
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.
Currently, 27 institutions sponsor men’s swimming and diving and 32 sponsor women’s swimming and diving.
Hosts: Columbus Sports Council
Event: Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships
Dates: Feb. 27 – March 2, 2019
Facility: Columbus Aquatic Center
City: Columbus, Ga.
Duration: 1-year (2019)
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About National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA):
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 65,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $500 million in scholarships and compete in 25 national championships. www.naia.org | @NAIA