If all goes according to plan, Tabor College will have the first and only colligate level coed swim team in the state of Kansas, starting in the 2014-2015 academic year.
“We will begin advertising for a head coach next week,” Vice President for Athletics Rusty Allen said Monday. “We plan to hire one by the middle of October.”
Allen said once they find a coach, they will begin recruiting a full year before competition begins.
Swimming is a winter sport, and the competitive season follows the same approximate timeframe that basketball does, Allen said.
“We are expecting to start with a squad of about 12 to 15 swimmers, half men, half women,” Allen said. “In three or four years we hope to have a squad of 30.”
Allen said the Tabor plans to use using USD 408 Sports and Aquatic Center in Marion for practice and completion.
Allen and USD 408 Superintendent Lee Leiker have been working out the finer points of the agreement.
“The devil is in the details,” Allen said. “But we have confidence we will be working together. We have the wording where we want it.”
The agreement in principle is set to be finalized in September when the Marion Board of Education votes on it at the next school board meeting.
USD 408 doesn’t want the swim team to interfere with early morning lap swimmers or water aerobics, Leiker said.
“Marion’s facility has the indoor capability,” Allen said. “In all of our minds it is a step forward in progress and growth.”
Allen said he sees this decision as nothing but positive for both Marion and Hillsboro because of the potential revenue it could generate for the communities and the networking opportunities it will provide.
“The addition of a swim team to our program is also likely help increase our enrollment,” said Allen. “It feels like a low risk high reward endeavor.”
As far as recruiting goes, Allen said there should be many opportunities due to increased popularity in the sport.
Many high schools, especially in 5A and 6A, sponsor swim teams, Allen said, not to mention all the summer swim programs communities like Marion and Hillsboro have.
Allen expects Tabor should have the swim schedule after the first of the year.
Much of Tabor’s competition will be in neighboring states like Oklahoma.
The University of Kansas women’s team is the only other college swim team in Kansas.
Furthermore, according National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rules swim meets can include NCAA Division 1 competitors.