Men’s Swimming Becomes Newest Addition to BC Sports

Men’s Swimming Newest Bridgewater College Sport for 2017-2018

Philip Meador, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- After boasting five national championships in the 2016-2017 year and having twenty-one teams competing annually, Bridgewater College has added a twenty-second team for competition in the 2017-2018 season. A men’s swimming team has been added to compete this year alongside the women’s swim team.

The program was officially approved during a Bridgewater College Board of Trustees meeting last year and has since been gaining momentum. Bridgewater College already boasts a Women’s swim team under the direction of Coach Gwynn Harrison who was previously the head coach for James Madison University and is an eight-time national champion at Kenyon College.

In an interview, Harrison expressed how great of an opportunity it was to be able to start a men’s swim team.

My main goal for this season is for our men to build the foundation for what Bridgewater Swimming means and the values it upholds.

“In a time when men’s swimming, and swimming in general, has been on the chopping blocks in college athletic departments across the country, I am thrilled to see Bridgewater College and the ODAC conference’s commitment to our sport. Adding a men’s team will elevate our women’s team as well in terms of training, and it will be a boost to recruiting efforts. And adding a men’s team into the mix will be a lot of fun for everyone associated with BC Swimming.”

Practices have yet to begin, but Harrison has already set goals that she would like to see out for this season.

“My main goal for this season is for our men to build the foundation for what Bridgewater Swimming means and the values it upholds. We want our team to be founded on a strong work ethic, swimmers who are invested in the program, a cohesive team identity, committed in the classroom and team members who are outstanding campus citizens.”

Harrison also wants the men’s team to be measured as the best new men’s team in the ODAC.  Four other schools such as Emory & Henry, Randolph-Macon, Roanoke College and Virginia Wesleyan have started competitive men’s swimming teams in the ODAC this year as well. Bridgewater will compete against these schools as as well as others once their training begins on Sept. 18.

Currently, there are ten swimmers on the men’s roster and many more have expressed interest in

joining the team since it was announced last year. The current swimmers on the roster have been participating in off-season voluntary workouts with the women’s team this past spring and again in the first weeks of classes.

Harrison expressed one of the challenges with adding this new team was integrating, blending and getting the men’s and women’s team to interact well with each other. Several team building activities such as dodge ball have been used to increase team comradery and according to Harrison there is already a great atmosphere and energy between the two teams.

The men’s swimming team is still accepting any swimmers looking to join the team. Swimming is a large roster sport, and Coach Harrison is looking to have the most depth in the ODAC conference. Even if you have little to no experience in swimming, the team has a wide range of swimming backgrounds and are willing to work with anyone who is willing to make a solid commitment to the team. Men’s Swimming is a Varsity sport and will be a huge, but worthwhile time investment. If interested in being a part of this historic season, swimmers can contact Gwynn Harrison at [email protected] before Sept. 29 for more information.