HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College will add men's swimming as a new varsity sport, beginning as a club sport in 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. Previously, Juniata competed in men's swimming from 1986-1987 to the 1994-1995 season when it was discontinued.
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.
"By adding men's swimming as a varsity sport in 2018-19, 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."
"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."
The men's swimming team will compete in the Landmark Conference. Five of the eight members of the conference feature women's and men's swimming teams while Goucher College has recently announced it will add men's swimming.
With men's swimming coming aboard, Juniata's number of men's varsity teams will be 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 in the fall of 2017.