Wayland Baptist University Adds New College Swimming program in Texas

Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas (in the panhandle, about midway between Lubbock and Amarillo) announced earlier this week that they would be adding both men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs to their school’s varsity athletics selection. WBU competes at the NAIA level.

This will ring in as the 16th collegiate program in the state of Texas (that we could count on CollegeSwimming.com, at least) – a shockingly small number. With a vast majority of the state’s division I universities (Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas State, Sam Houston State) not having swim teams, the state is severely underdeveloped in intercollegiate swimming given the bredth and depth of participation at the high school and junior level. For comparison’s sake, California has over 80 programs, and even many much smaller states like Wisconsin have just as many (15).

“In keeping with our goal of providing a broad-based athletics program that encourages opportunities for a wide variety of students, the university is pleased to announce that swimming and diving for men and women will be added to our intercollegiate athletics program in the fall of 2013,” Feris said. “We’re excited about the announcement and believe that this is another milestone for Wayland athletics.”

Though Wayland Baptist will be at the NAIA level (overall, the lowest level of college swimming, though there are always exceptions), keep in mind that each men’s and women’s team has 8 full scholarships to give, so these programs certainly shouldn’t be scoffed at.

The program will begin in the 2013-2014 school year, and the teams will practice at the Plainview YMCA.

The Wayland Baptist athletics program has a history of success, which will be encouraging for the swim team. They’ve recently reinstated their football program, and their women’s basketball program is one of the most historic programs in college history at any level – in the 1950’s they won 131 straight games.

The program is still seeking applicants for its first head coach. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Direcotr of Athletics Dr. Greg Feris at 806/291-3801 or [email protected].

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8 years ago

You are correct by calling it “severly underdeveloped”. I grew up in Austin, swam for Longhorn Aquatics, and my high school team in the 80’s. Unless you were good enough to swim for UT, or could afford TCU, SMU your choices were few.

Did you know that not one single high school, or school district in the Austin area has an indoor natatorium? And there is plenty of talent here, as I’m sure you know.

8 years ago

Why is it that Texas only has 16 collegiate programs? Can someone comment on reasons for that? AG swimming is big here and there are so many tallented swimmers (you need AAAA time just to make finals at the TAGS). Is it because football is the king in Texas and nobody cares about swimming at that level? You would think if football is that successful, football programs would be able to support swimming programs?

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

As a SHSU grad I don’t see Sam Houston State adding a swimming team any time soon. They recently had the opportunity to add another women’s sport to the the athletics program about four years ago and the final 3 choices were Lacrosse (active club sport at Sam with over 40 members), Equestian, and Bowling. Sam Houston State decided to go with Bowling. I am big proponent of active sports for female athletes and I’m sorry, but bowling just doesn’t cut it.

Reply to  PsychoDad
8 years ago

Title 9 combined with football has been a large reason for it. University of Houston used to have a Men’s team, Texas Tech used to have men’s and women’s teams.

Charlie Johnson
8 years ago

Always terrific to see a new team formed. Congratulations! Do feel a need to provide more accurate info about the number of colleges with teams in California.

D1 – men = 7, women = 15
D2 – men = 3, women = 4
D3 – men = 11, women = 11
NAIA – men = 5, women = 5
Total Public schools – men = 6, women = 12
Total Private schools – men = 20, women = 23

Between the Calif State Univ system and Univ of Calif system there are 33 campuses with an estimated 647,000 students. Six men’s swim teams and 12 women’s teams with approximately 150 men and 350 women… Read more »

Eric Skelly
Reply to  Charlie Johnson
8 years ago

The maximum alloted scholarship totals for NAIA swimming programs is 8 for men & 8 for women. Not every team has that many mainly because all institutional aid (academic scholarships, etc.) counts towards our over all total.

Eric Skelly
Head Swim Coach
University of the Cumberlands

Jeff O.
8 years ago

Not to rain on everyone’s parade here, but having just escaped a similar coaching situation, I can tell you this is going to be an absolute nightmare for someone.

1) There using the city Y’s 25-meter, six-lane pool that will be available to Wayland student-athletes during off-peak hours, including before the facility opens to the public at 6 a.m. and between 2-4 p.m.

OK, so that’s a 4:30-6 a.m. practice if you want to get in doubles? Sure. Oh, and it’s the YMCA so you know they’re keeping their pool at a comfortable 85 degrees for swim lessons and old ladies’ water aerobics.

2) Feris said the number of athletes that collegiate swimming and diving programs attract varies among schools.… Read more »

Jeff O.
8 years ago

They’re, not there. Mea culpa.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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