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].