The NCAA has chosen a bit of a peculiar choice to host the 2014 Division II Swimming & Diving Championships: Cleveland’s SPIRE Institute.
The choice isn’t peculiar because of the quality of SPIRE’s facilities. The 10-lane, 50-meter pool with a separate 25-yard warm-up/cool-down pool is more than adequate to host a meet of this size; rather it is because the NCAA yanked this same meet from the SPIRE Institute in 2013. After concerns over the location of the pool, and specifically the location of the hotels that were 45 minutes away, the NCAA instead moved the event clear across the country to Birmingham, Alabama.
The difference would seem to be that this event, at least as was announced yesterday, doesn’t appear to be a “Winter Sports Festival,” rather it will have these Winter sporting events spread out at different spots around the country.
The Festivals have been used off-and-on by the NCAA’s lower divisions for the last few years with varying degrees of success; the biggest challenge has been the logistics of housing so many athletes and support staff within close proximity of a multi-sport event.
The 2013 event was slated to include Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field (in 2014 – held in Raleigh, N.C.); and wrestling (also to be held in Cleveland, but at a different venue an hour away).
The pool is brand new, and has been considered by USOC officials as a possible training and competition venue. That’s specifically because it is a full-service training center, competition center, research and nutrition center on a 280,000 square foot piece of land. Really, it is too nice of a venue for the NCAA to pass up giving it a second hosting chance.
For a full listing of the 54 (out of 89) championships announced for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, click here.