ASHEVILLE, N.C. - For the first time in more than 35 years, the Justice Center pool hosted a practice for a UNC Asheville swimming team this morning.


The Bulldog women's swimming team held two practices today as the school gets ready to compete in intercollegiate swimming for the first time since 1976.


Ten Asheville swimmers worked out as they prepare for the 2012-13 season, which begins with an exhibition meet in September against Mars Hill and a full schedule that starts in October and ends in late February.  


"We're really excited to get started," stated Asheville coach Elizabeth Lykins. "I am looking forward to bringing intercollegiate swimming back to the Asheville community."


Asheville has 11 swimmers on its roster. They include one senior in Ferriss Roberts and four juniors in Liz Acker, Hallie Gillespie, Kristen Lawson and Eliza Ritchie. The sophomores are Chloe' Carr, Ashley Ireland, Amanda Larsen and Emily Marett. Rounding out the squad are freshmen Galen Broido and Alessandra Troncoso.


"Our roster is a little smaller this year than what we will have in the future," commented Lykins. "However, we have a great group of young ladies who are going to work hard and get our program going again."


The Bulldogs host Mars Hill in Justice Center Pool on Sept. 22 in an exhibition match. They'll begin the regular season in Greensboro at the North Carolina Collegiate Kick-Off Classic.


"The Mars Hill exhibition meet should be a lot of fun and allow us to host an event before the regular season," declared Lykins. "The North Carolina Collegiate Kick-Off Classic is a great meet for us to start the season. Every school that has a swimming program in the state will be there."