(Posted January 23, 2017)

Greg Curley, Juniata athletic director
Photo by J.D. Cavrich
Greg Curley, Juniata athletic director
Photo by J.D. Cavrich

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College has decided to add men’s swimming as a new varsity sport, beginning with the 2017-2018 season. Men’s swimming will complement the college’s existing women’s swimming program and will give Juniata 23 varsity intercollegiate sports.

            “By adding men’s swimming, we will be able to recruit more great student-athletes who want to extend their careers beyond high school at a high-quality academic institution such as Juniata,” says Greg Curley, Juniata athletic director and head coach for men’s basketball. “Logistically, this also will help Juniata compete in the Landmark Conference. We already have a swimming facility in place and because many of our conference schools already field men’s swimming teams, it will become easier to schedule meets and other events at our pool.”

            The potential enrollment gain from having complementary swim teams could be more than 20 students, because, according to NCAA statistics, the average size for a men’s swimming team is about 17, while more statistics reveal that women’s teams from colleges sponsoring men’s teams average 18 members. Juniata’s women’s team has averaged about 11 members.

            “Fielding a men’s swim team has the potential for great impact both athletically and from an enrollment perspective,” says Matthew Damschroder, vice president for student life and dean of students at Juniata. “NCAA statistics show us that the performance of men and women swimmers improves when they can compete against one another. Men and women swimmers tend to prefer colleges that offer combined programs because of this competitive edge, which would give us the opportunity to attract more female student athletes as well as male swimmers.”

 Juniata’s swimming teams will compete in the Landmark Conference. Five of the eight members of the conference feature women’s and men’s swimming teams. In addition Goucher College has recently announced it will add men’s swimming.

Men's swimming will help Juniata compete in the Landmark Conference. Because many of our conference schools already field men's swimming teams, it will become easier to schedule meets and other events at our pool."

Greg Curley, athletic director

The addition will bring Juniata’s number of men’s varsity teams to 11. Currently there are 12 varsity sports available to women.

            The addition of men’s swimming comes just a year after Juniata added three new varsity sports: men’s and women’s golf, and women’s lacrosse. Those teams will start competing for the college in fall semester 2017.

There are 222 Division III varsity men’s swimming teams across the country out of 442 Division III programs. Of the 253 institutions that offer women’s swimming, only 32 schools do not offer men’s swimming.

Previously, Juniata competed in men’s swimming starting in the 1986-1987 academic year. The sport was discontinued in the 1994-1995 academic year.

            Current Juniata swimming coach Nathan Smith, who came to the college in 2013, will add coaching the men’s team to his portfolio of duties. Smith came to Juniata after coaching at the private swim team, the Brentwood Barracudas, of Nashville, Tenn., and at DePauw University. Smith was a five-time All-American at Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.