The University of California San Diego’s swim and dive teams are joining the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, effective immediately for the 2018-2019 season, the school announced Friday.
Both the men’s and women’s programs have both dominated their former conference – the Pacific Collegiate Swiming and Diving conference – over the past decade, as both are winners of the past 10-straight conference titles. 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s swim team head coach David Marsh took over the program in the 2017-2018 season, and notably is eligible to coach the 2020 Olympic squad.
The interesting caveat with the move is that every other member of the MPSF is already Division I, whereas UCSD announced that it will transition from Division II to Division I in the fall of 2020. While the other sports at UCSD will join the Big West conference, the conference hasn’t offered swimming since 2010, and most of the former Big West swimming & diving programs have moved over to the MPSF.
“The MPSF welcomes UC San Diego into our 2019 swimming and diving championship,” said MPSF Executive Director Al Beaird in a press release Friday. “Our coaches showed strong support for UCSD’s future membership. Despite its current NCAA Division II status, we expect the Tritons to be competitive as they are very well coached and are ramping up for NCAA Division I and Big West Conference membership in 2020-21.”
At the 2019 MPSF Championships in February, UCSD will be one of six men’s and eight women’s teams: the others include co-ed programs from BYU, Cal Poly, Pacific University, Hawai’i, UC Santa Barbara, and women’s-only teams from UC Davis and the University of San Diego.
“We are very excited to join the MPSF and step up to the challenge of competing in one of the strongest conference (championship) meets in the West,” said Marsh. “The depth and quality of the swimming and diving events in the MPSF will present a big challenge to our student-athletes. We look forward to joining these great academic and athletic programs in spirited and healthy competition.”
At the 2018 NCAA DII Championships, UCSD’s women placed seventh overall, and the men 21st.