The Wyoming Cowboys will be making their return to their former longtime home of the WAC. In Men's swimming and diving that is. While the WAC has seen it's football days end this year it is growing as home for western based schools that need a spot for a team or two.
The Mountain West only sponsors women's swimming and diving and so that left a number of schools looking for other options. Similar to the wrestling program which is a member of the Western Wrestling Conference. For the last two years Wyoming men's swimmers has been a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
"We are excited to have the men back in the WAC in swimming and diving," Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson said. "We are very grateful that the WAC is sponsoring men's swimming and diving again and we are happy they reached out to us."
The WAC was able to bring back men's swimming this year thanks to the addition of Wyoming, UNLV and Air Force. The conference had to stop sponsoring it when eight schools left to form the Mountain West back in 1999.. The seven member conference will include: CSU Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, Seattle, Air Force, UNLV, North Dakota and Wyoming.
I'm not certain on the difference in competition but head coach Tom Johnson is certainly pleased with the move.
"One major decision behind us making this move is the conference championship facility," Johnson said. "For the two years we were in the MPSF we thought we were going to be in Belmont Plaza (competition pool) in Los Angeles, Calif., but both years we ended up swimming at East Los Angeles Community College. I do need to thank them for providing us a place to be, but I just didn't feel like it was a facility that was conducive for the best situation for our athletes. The WAC hosts its championship at the same place as the Mountain West and on different weekends, which makes it possible for all of our coaches to go to both the men's and women's meets."
Johnson has dedicated himself to the Wyoming swimming program and hopefully this will be a help to him. I'm sure a bigger boost to the program would be renovations to the Corbett building or a whole new natatorium. With just a 25 meter pool it makes it harder to practice and bring in top recruits.