CAMPBELLSVILLE, Kentucky, October 12. AFTER a more than 10-year absence, men's swimming will return to Campbellsville University in 2012, the university announced this fall. Beginning this winter, eight current CU students will compete as club team members in hopes of laying a foundation for the reinstatement of the program next fall. Former swimmer and new swim coach Casey Smith will coach the men's team in addition to her duties with the women's team.
"We are excited to reinstate the sport of men's swimming during the 2012-2013 academic year," said Rusty Hollingsworth, athletic director. "Our newly hired coach, Casey Smith, will spend the next year recruiting her first class of male swimmers to begin competition during the fall semester of 2012. We have a great facility and a new coach that is enthusiastic about the future of Tiger swimming."
The men's program was disbanded in 2000 after an 11-year history in which CU collected numerous Top 3 finishes in conference meets and claimed three NAIA individual national champions. Brendan Ward, Maxim Ivanov and Richard Blake were CU's first-ever national champions for any sport from 1997 to 1999, respectively. The women's program built off that tradition in 1999 with Cassie Trotter becoming the first-ever CU female athlete to win an NAIA national title.
"I'm really excited about going back to our roots … I know what our history is. That is an encouragement to me when I walk past that trophy case every day. It's encouraging that it's doable to return to that one day, even if it may take a few years," Smith said. "I'm really grateful for the work and effort that was put into the program before, and I am doing my best to not let our alumni down and make them proud."
Smith hopes to addition of men's swimming as Campbellsville's 24th sports team will create a buzz around campus about the sport and bring a boost to the morale of the whole program. She hopes to use the club team this winter as a foundation for the program's future.
"I'm really excited about using a club team as a way to tell people it's coming and hopefully have a little bit of a foundation for next year," Smith said. "My very favorite thing about talking to any perspective students is letting them talk to a current athlete. Being able to have that connection, even if they were on the club team, is helpful."
Prospective students for the 2012-2013 swim team can contact Smith by email at email@example.com or by phone at 270-789-5260.
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