NAIA Bethel University (TN) Cuts Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Programs

Bethel University out of McKenzie, Tennessee has dropped its men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs for the upcoming school year. The school competed in the Mid-South Conference and sent two men to the 2024 NAIA Championships.

The team practiced out of the Gaines Pool which is located on campus inside of the Baker field house that was built in 1969. The school’s pool announced, “Bethel has decided to close the Gaines Pool. The cost to maintain is just too much at this time.” The pool will be drained later this week on June 1st.

Not only was the pool home to the school’s men’s and women’s programs but it also was a place for the community. According to the school’s athletics website, the pool is listed as “available to be rented for birthday parties or for other occasions.” The most recent census stated that McKenzie had a population of 5,529.

The men’s and women’s programs have seen a decline in its team size over the last few years. During the 2021-2022 season, the team had eight women compared to just four this past season. The men’s team had 13 athletes in 2021-2022 compared to nine this past season.

The men finished 5th out of seven teams at the 2024 Mid-South Championships while the women were 7th out of seven teams. The men were represented at the 2024 NAIA Championships as Jakub Loboda scored 14 points as he was 5th in the 100 fly in a 49.07 helping the team to a 19th place finish. Artem Dzun also competed at the NAIA Championships swimming in prelims of the 100 and 200 butterfly events.

According to the school’s website, Bethel University was home to 3119 students during the 2019-2020 school year. The school’s athletics website has already removed both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs from its offerings. It now offers 10 men’s sports, nine women’s sports, and five co-ed sports.

Recent years have had swimming and diving programs cut at some smaller schools but also added at others. Last offseason, six schools in New York cut their programs. Other schools, such as the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut), Dordt University (Iowa), and William Carey University (Mississippi) will add programs in the coming years.

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22 days ago

The AD, rubbing his hands together quickly, with a sardonic smile, “Sweet, the pool costs too much. Finally a way to dump the swim and dive team!”

22 days ago

Where is the source for the cut announcement?

There is a 6 lane 25 yard facility at the Paris Civic Center (20-minute drive from Bethel’s campus) that could surely support a small collegiate program

22 days ago

It does not sound like there was a club team or lessons available at the pool, wonder if that would have made a difference?

I guess they are turning that part of the facility into something different?

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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