Southwest Minnesota State University, located in Marshall, MN, announced Monday that it will add women’s swimming and diving to its list of varsity sports programs for the 2019-2020 season. The university will begin searching for a full-time head coach this spring.
The new team will become the eighth to compete in Division II in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, alongside Minnesota State University-Mankato, University of Sioux Falls, Saint Cloud State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Augustana University, Northern State University, and University of Mary.
For 10 seasons from 1970-1980, SMSU sponsored both men’s and women’s swimming and diving.
A press release from SMSU reads:
Southwest Minnesota State University Director of Athletics Chris Hmielewski announced today the school will add women’s swimming and diving as a varsity program and begin competition during the 2019-20 season.
A search for a full-time head coach will begin this spring.
“We are excited to reinstate the women’s swimming and diving program at SMSU,” Hmielewski said. “This is a great opportunity for SMSU Athletics to support the University’s enrollment while increasing student opportunities to compete in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.”
SMSU sponsored women’s swimming and diving for several seasons in the 1970s.
The team will compete in the Don Palm Natatorium, which has six, 25-yard lanes and a separate 13-foot diving well. The facility hosted four NAIA Men’s National Championships in the 1970s.
“The addition of women’s swimming and diving will allow SMSU to reach a new group of students and grow the numbered of sponsored sports to 18. Our goal is to have a roster size of 32 student-athletes in the program.” Hmielewski said. “Adding swimming and diving will allow us to increase the utilization of our swimming pool, provide community outreach with camps and recruitment efforts and reconnect with a very loyal and supportive group of swimming and diving alumni.”
With the addition of SMSU, a total of eight schools will sponsor women’s swimming and diving in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. SMSU joins Augustana, U-Mary, Minnesota State, MSU Moorhead, Northern State, St. Cloud State and Sioux Falls with swimming and diving programs.
SMSU sponsored men’s swimming and diving for 10 seasons from 1970-80.