"We are excited to bring a women's swim team back to UNC Asheville," stated Cone. "Based on our assessment of interest in competitive swimming across Western North Carolina with club teams and high school programs, as well as available collegiate competition, we determined that the addition of women's swimming would be ideal. We have wanted to add another women's program and believe swimming is the perfect sport for us at this time."
The university had previously fielded a co-ed swimming and diving program from 1972 through 1976 that was coached by Asheville native Betsy Montgomery.
UNC Asheville has formally applied to compete in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association, which is a combination of four conferences in the Southeast: Atlantic Sun, Big South, Mid-Eastern and the Southern. There are 13 schools in the league, including fellow Big South members Virginia Military Institute, and Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Liberty, Radford universities, along with Southern Conference schools such as the College of Charleston, Davidson College and Georgia Southern University.
"We are conducting a national search for our new head coach, and the interest has been tremendous," explained Cone. "People recognize that UNC Asheville is committed to excellence in academics and athletics and women's swimming has the potential to be very competitive fairly quickly. Asheville is also a great place to live. We hope to have our new coach hired in early November."
The Bulldogs will practice and compete in the university's Justice Center swimming pool. The Justice Center is part of the complex that includes the Student Recreation Center and the newly completed Wilma M. Sherrill Center, which houses the Kimmel Arena and North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness.