Wayland Baptist, a Top NAIA Program, to Axe Men’s & Women’s Swimming and Diving

Wayland Baptist University, situated in Plainview, Texas, will eliminate their men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams after only four seasons. The Pioneers announced the addition of swimming to the WBU athletic lineup in January of 2013 and the men’s and women’s teams launched with the 2013-14 school year.

SwimSwam spoke with head coach Alyson Hannan who learned about the decision four minutes before the athletes received an email from Rick Cooper, Director of Athletics, this afternoon. Coach Hannon was told the decision was made based on “facility and budgetary issues.” The team trains at the Plainview YMCA, and for the last four years its travel and scholarship budgets have been whittled away every year.

The email from the Athletic Director to the team read as follows:

From: Rick Cooper
Date: Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 12:54 PM
Subject: WBU Swim and Dive Program
To: Rick Cooper
Cc: Alyson Hannan

This communication is to let you know that after much examination, deliberation and prayer with Athletic and University Administration, we are making the difficult decision to immediately discontinue our Swimming and Diving program.

We will not field a team or compete in Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Dive.

This has been a very difficult decision, but one we believe is both necessary and best at this point in time.

As a former student athlete, and the father of two college student athletes, I can empathize with how stressful this is for the families and members of our Swim and Dive team.

Please be aware that the University is honoring the athletic scholarship for all impacted student athletes who want to continue their studies at Wayland Baptist University for the 17-18 academic year, and who remain eligible in accordance with University and Athletic department policies. In fact, while we know it is unlikely, we hope that all affected student athletes will continue their education as Wayland Baptist University students.

We will give affected student athletes permission to contact any other schools for purposes of transfer, and we will grant full releases to any affected student athlete who wishes to transfer and pursue other intercollegiate athletic opportunities.

Members of the Athletic and Admissions administration and staff are available to discuss scholarship and transfer information as well as provide academic advisement.

I will be attempting to contact each member of the 17-18 team by telephone, but wanted to get this information out to you so you can begin planning accordingly.

Please do not hesitate to call me with any questions at the number listed below, and please leave your name and a phone number in the event I am not able to take the call at that time.

Rick Cooper
Director of Athletics
Wayland Baptist University

In her short time at the helm, Coach Hannan has built a nationally-recognized program in the NAIA, drawing swimmers from California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Arkansas, and of course Texas, as well as from Barbados, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, Venezuela, and Croatia. She increased the size of the team from 10 men and 7 women in 2013-14 to a combined roster of 29 in 2016-17. She has developed 7 All-Americans (All-American honors are only awarded to top-3 finishers in each individual event at NAIA Nationals) and was recognized by the American Swimming Coaches Association as Coach of Excellence three times.

Wayland Baptist’s four season culminated in four trips to the NAIA National Championships, with four top-10 finishes for the men and four top-20 finishes for the women.

NAIA Nationals Men’s team Women’s team
2017 6th 19th
2016 8th 10th
2015 8th 11th
2014 8th 16th

The elimination of swimming and diving at Wayland Baptist leaves the state of Texas with just 10 men’s and 13 women’s collegiate swimming and diving programs.

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Well that’s not vert Christian.


No, no, no. Didn’t you read that he prayed about it! Don’t blame Rick, Jesus said it was OK…


This saddens me that we have lost another program to budgets, with no consideration of the amount if tuition Each swimmer brings in.


The athletes don’t bring in any tuition, they come to Wayland on full scholarships.


Dumbest statement yet.

Shocked at comment

That is the most uneducated comment made.


Ugh this is terrible.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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