Oct. 18, 2004
(Denver, CO) - The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) announced Monday that invitations for affiliate membership have been issued to and accepted by the University of San Diego and Northern Arizona to join the conference effective for the 2004-05 season. The 2004-05 WAC Championships will be held in San Antonio, Texas at the Palo Alto College Natatorium, February 23-26, 2005. USD had previously been a member of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference (PCSC) since 1976.
The University of San Diego Swimming and Diving program enjoyed tremendous success as a member of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference. The Toreros captured the Conference championship three times, including back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001. Each year, there are 20 total events at the PCSC Championships and USD currently stakes claim to conference records in six of the 20 events. All six of the records have come under the direction of seventh-year head coach Mike Keeler.
"I would like to thank the WAC, and the member schools, for this invitation," said head coach Mike Keeler. "It is definitely a step in the right direction for our program. This move will greatly increase our national exposure and improve our recruiting base."
San Diego is just one year removed from placing 38th nationally at the 2003 NCAA Division I National Championships.
"Moving into the WAC is an excellent opportunity for our Swimming and Diving program," added USD Athletic Director, Dr. Jo-Ann Nester. "We have reached the point under Coach Keeler's leadership where this important step for our program was appropriate. We are ready to compete at this next level and we are very pleased that the WAC is in agreement."
Northern Arizona is a member of the Big Sky Conference, but its swimming and diving team competes in the National Independent Conference (NIC). It has done so since the 1998-99 season. The Lumberjacks have finished outside the top three at the NIC Championships only once, finishing second four times. Head Coach Andy Johns was named the 2003-04 NIC Coach of the Year.
NAU was 32.5 points short of winning the NIC Championships in 2004, but the Lumberjacks posted seven individual conference champions, tying the team record for the most champions in a single conference meet. The Lumberjacks also set 10 school records, and earned two other honors besides Johns, assistant coach Nikki Kelsey-Huffman earned her fourth Diving Coach of the Year honor and sophomore Blair Buder was named the Female Diver of the Year.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to swim in the WAC Championship meet", said Johns. This is going to be a great challenge for our program, and it's one we're looking forward to. We're pleased to become a member of a name-recognizable conference for the region in which we compete and recruit, and this is really big for us. Hopefully we can perform well enough to add to the already great swimming and diving in the conference."
2004 WAC Championship Team Scores - San Antontio, Texas
1. SMU (911)
2. Hawai`i (711)
3. Nevada (661)
4. Rice (551)
5. San Jose State (329)
6. Fresno State (166)
-USD Media Relations/WAC-