THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Jan. 13. CAL Lutheran University has announced plans to add an intercollegiate aquatics program, which will include men's and women's swimming, men's and women's diving, and men's and women's water polo, in 2003. The announcement was made by Athletics Director Bruce Bryde.
"CLU has been looking forward, for a long time, to having an aquatics program," said Bryde. "We're looking forward to being successful in this program and this will hopefully be a very positive addition to our school and our conference."
Currently, CLU is the only Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) member without an aquatics program. The conference has historically been strong in aquatics.
The program will officially kick off in the fall of 2003 with men's water polo. Swimming and diving (one and three meter) are considered a winter sport and women's water polo takes place during the spring season.
CLU does not currently have an aquatics venue on campus and the teams will train and compete at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village until a new facility is completed on school grounds.
"We have a fine relationship with Oaks Christian and we know they will be excellent hosts," said Bryde.
"Oaks Christian has already become one of the premier schools in Southern California for both academics and athletics, and their first-rate facilities are second to none."
During the fall semester, an e-mail survey was conducted among about 1,000 residential students at Cal Lutheran and the response to the addition of an aquatics program was very positive. A significant amount of current students participated in aquatics while in high school.
"This will be a great fit for the area we are in as the interest level is extremely high," said Bryde. "We expect to fill our rosters just about right away."
The addition comes at an exciting time in CLU's history as it is just about ready to break ground on a brand new athletic complex called North Campus. Plans call for the construction of an entire aquatics center.
"There's excitement already on campus about the new facilities, and this will just add to the momentum," said Bryde. "We're adding a new dimension and we should be able to attract students that weren't considering CLU before."
Cal Lutheran is a NCAA Division III institution, which competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The school currently sponsors 15 intercollegiate athletics programs, which will increase to 19 once the aquatics teams are in place.