PHOENIX, Arizona, October 4. GRAND Canyon University has begun the first year of its four-year transition into the NCAA Division I ranks, and the school announced this week that men’s and women’s diving would be added to the athletic roster for the 2014-2015 season.
Tracey Berghian comes in as GCU’s diving coach after just one year as head diving coach at the University of New Mexico. Before that, she was Mountain West Conference champion for UNM and after graduating, moved back to her hometown of Phoenix to earn a Master’s degree in Science in Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Though many Division I programs have done well without strong diving teams (read: California), swimming head coach Steve Schaffer said the athletic department’s decision to add diving to Grand Canyon’s list of sports signals strong support that will carry into the school’s official Division I debut in the 2017-2018 season.
“We have done well in the past even though we had to compete without divers and we will be an even more competitive program as we add divers for the 2014-15 season,” Schaffer said.
During the transition period, the Grand Canyon University men’s and women’s teams will not be able to participate in the NCAA championships. As a result, Schaffer was behind the creation of an invitational meet in March that will allow not only swimmers who just missed qualifying for the NCAA meet, but schools in transition, such as GCU and the University of the Incarnate Word. That meet will be held March 23-25.
Grand Canyon currently trains at the pool run by the Phoenix Swim Club a few miles from GCU’s campus. That pool does not have diving boards, which will require the team to search for a location that will serve as a training facility for its divers, as well as for its swimmers if the pool is demolished as planned next spring.