The inaugural season may not be until fall of 2018, but already George Fox University is recruiting athletes interested in competing in swimming at the NCAA Division III level.
The university has announced it will add men’s and women’s swimming as intercollegiate sports during the 2018-19 academic year. Those interested in participating in the “zero year” phase of the program in 2017-18 are encouraged to apply at apply.georgefox.edu. Students who apply by the early application deadline of Nov. 1, 2017, waive the $40 application fee and are eligible to compete for academic scholarships as part of George Fox's Scholarship Competition.
The addition of swimming brings the number of sports offered at the university to 19. George Fox will be the only Christian college in Oregon to offer the sport and is the final Northwest Conference school to field a swim team.
The announcement comes as Chehalem Park and Recreation District embarks on a renovation of the Chehalem Aquatic and Fitness Center, which will serve as the Bruins’ home venue. A $19.9 million bond, passed by voters in November of 2014, will fund needed basic infrastructure updates and the installation of more modern features, equipment and amenities. George Fox University committed half a million dollars toward the project as they parter with CPRD to bring collegiage swimming to the city of Newberg. The groundbreaking on the facility began in October of 2016, and will open the spring of 2018.
George Fox recently hired head coach, Natalie Turner, to lead the Bruins. She's eager to begin recruiting as the Bruins ready for their inaugural season in the pool.
“This addition gives us the full complement of sports that the Northwest Conference offers, so it rounds out our athletic offerings to be consistent with the rest of the league,” former Athletic Director Craig Taylor said. “And those who wish to swim in college who in the past might not have considered us will consider us now. The timing for us, both from an athletic standpoint and with the renovation of the aquatic center, is ideal.”
While the final design has yet to be announced, the Chehalem Aquatic and Fitness Center project will involve adding additional space for school swim meets; redeveloping the facility to meet current demand and reduce overcrowding; improving pool design to provide better safety for students and seniors; replacing out-of-date machinery to improve energy efficiency; and replacing structurally deficient cement and rebar infrastructure. Parking for the 46-year-old facility will also be increased from 70 spaces to 148. The natatorium and deck is projected to be 25,000 square feet in size, while the competition pool itself will take up 6,900 square feet of space.
Taylor said swim teams typically carry about 45 athletes who compete over 16 dates at the NCAA Division III level. The season is split, with the first dates of competition set from September through November and the second from January through March.
Questions about the program, recruiting, and the hiring timeline can be sent to [email protected].
George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian universities in the country and is a Christian college classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier regional university. More than 3,900 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem and Redmond, Ore. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, six seminary degrees, and 13 master’s and doctoral degrees.