COLLEGE STATION, Texas, January 23. IN 2009, Texas A&M University will become just the second school in NCAA history to host both the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in successive weeks.
The NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships will take place on March 19-21, 2009, and the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships will follow on March 26-28. Both meets will be held at the Student Rec Center Natatorium.
"We are excited to bring both swimming national championships to College Station," Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne said. "Our swimming program is on the rise and we have one of the finest facilities in the country with which to host this event. We are serious about 'Building Champions' at Texas A&M and we believe that hosting this event is one of the steps we can take to get that job done."
The selections mark the second time the NCAA has selected Texas A&M to host each of the men's and women's championships, but the first in the same calendar year. A&M hosted the men's meet in 2001 and the women's meet in 2004. Since the turn of the century, no school will have hosted more NCAA Division I Championship swimming meets than Texas A&M.
"I think it's a great thing for our program to have everybody coming to our pool," A&M head men's swimming coach Jay Holmes said. "Our pool is well-known as one of the fastest in the country. Everybody around here is very excited. The eyes of the world's swimming community will be on Texas A&M for half the month of March. To go after and put something on like this on takes a great commitment from our entire athletic department as well as our recreational sports staff. We, as a department, are vested in swimming & diving and look forward to putting on one of the top swim meets in the world."
Both NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships, as of yet, have never been hosted in the same location. That will change in two months, however, as the University of Minnesota will be the first to attempt the feat.
"It's very exciting that we're getting to host it again," A&M head women's swimming coach Steve Bultman said. "The decision to host shows the support of our athletic department for our sport. The fact that we were selected highlights the quality of our facilities and how well we host big-time swim meets."
The selections add even more magnitude to what already was going to be the most highly anticipated spring in Texas A&M athletic history. Texas A&M is also slated to host the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships as well as the 2009 NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championships, meaning that six NCAA team titles will be awarded in a span of three months in College Station. There will be four team trophies alone awarded over the course of three successive weekends in March, making College Station NCAA Championship Central.
The Student Rec Center Natatorium has hosted a plethora of championship meets since opening in 1995. It began by hosting the final Southwest Conference championship meet in 1996 and since has hosted Big 12 Championships in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2005. It will host yet another in three weeks as the conference's teams descend on College Station for the 2007 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships. The facility hosted the initial FINA World Cup event in the United States in 1998 as well as the U.S. Open meet that same year.