Augustana University and the University of Sioux Falls are adding swimming and diving as a varsity sport. Both schools are searching for swimmers as they look to start completing next fall.
The University of Sioux Falls has a swimming coach, but no pool or athletes yet. Josh Snyder is the athletic director at USF. He says when the city of Sioux Falls started building plans for the indoor aquatic center at Spellerberg Park, he had an idea.
“I was told, the city is going to start building a pool and we wanted to look into adding the sport. So I met with our conference commissioner and had some discussions with her about where the conference was at, and that there was some interest from other schools, Mary (Bismarck) and Augustana (Sioux Falls). They both also subsequently decided to add the sport, so with the addition of our three schools the conference is now a full-fledged swimming program,” says Synder.
With the aquatic center set to open next fall the timing couldn’t be better. But Synder says there’s another benefit too. A swim team could help the school meet title IX requirements that colleges must have equal opportunities for female athletes. With a student body that is 60% women, USF falls short in providing a proportional number of women's sports to men.
Synder says one prong of title IX is interest and ability.
“So we have to determine if we’re servicing our women’s interests on our campus and in our region. And if there are a suitable amount of females who would like to play a sport that we don’t offer, then we may have an obligation to look at adding that sport, so those are some things that we have to look at as we go forward,” says Synder.
Synder says he’s open to adding other women sports in the future.
Augustana and USF are both in the recruiting stages. Each team hopes to have about 15 swimmers by next fall.