Tricia Tuntland | Staff Writer | 02-05-2013
Alyssa Stewart is a sophomore and founder of the new Bemidji State University swim club. Stewart said they may be eligible to be considered a Division I swim team in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) next year.
“NCAA has time trials and, if we qualify, we can be considered a D1 swim team next year,” said Stewart. “We just need more members because you have to have 15 people per meet.”
Stewart, along with her co-captain Emily Senta, a junior at BSU, would enjoy seeing their club become a competitive swimming team. However, Bemidji State University is a Division II school.
“We cannot go Division I,” said BSU’s Director of Athletics Rick Goeb. “We are multi-divisional right now, but across the board we sponsor Division II sports. The fact we are able to go Division I in hockey is because there is no Division II [for hockey].
“I think if we can prove that ‘Hey we got NCAA times’ and we’re better than the swim team they used to have, that I think potentially they could pick us up,” said Stewart “I don’t think we will see that in the four years we are here, though.”
“There would have to be a lot of discussion,” said Goeb. “We have three different prongs that we would have to meet, and the one we follow is making sure the men and women are balanced on the athletics … and financially you have to be able to support the team.”
Even though the club may still be able to be considered a NCAA Division I team, with no school athletics association, the club still hopes to participate in some competitions around the state.
“I have actually talked to several coaches around the state who are willing to compete with us just as a club,” said Stewart. The club has gained 24 members since its inception last October and continues to grow.
“It is completely free for people to do,” said Stewart. “We have people who didn’t know how to swim, and we are teaching them, we just ask they help with some fundraising.”
“We eventually want to start getting swim gear,” said Stewart. “We want to get swimsuits with the Beaver logo, sweatshirts, caps and goggles.”
Members of the club joined for an extra way to exercise and meet new people. “I swam for a year in high school and since football didn’t work out for me, I decided to do something with my off-time,” Sophomore Alex Berge said.
“It’s definitely a stress-reliever. You can just come in, and if you have had a bad day and just feel so much better after a hard workout,” Senta commented.
The club can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BemidjiStateUniversityClubSwimteam and on Twitter by following @BSU_SwimTeam.