BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Bowling Green State University Director of Athletics Chris Kingston has announced that the University will establish a diving program, effective for the 2013-14 academic year. Adding diving to the current swimming program will enhance the strength of a program that is already competing at a MAC Championship level and expand opportunities for female student-athletes.
"Head Coach Petra Martin has developed a championship caliber program and deserves the resources necessary for reaching our goal of winning a MAC Championship," BGSU Director of Athletics Chris Kingston said. "Petra is a results-oriented leader who demands excellence in the classroom as well as the pool. We are pleased to have divers join the talented young ladies who currently swim for Falcon Athletics and look forward to their future achievements at both the MAC and NCAA Championships."
The BGSU swimming program, under the leadership of fourth-year head coach Petra Martin, has developed into one of the stronger programs in the Mid-American Conference, finishing third at the MAC Championships a year ago. But the program was at a competitive disadvantage by not having the opportunity to score points in diving. That will be eliminated by reintroducing diving.
"We are extremely excited to bring a full-time diving program on board," Martin said. "I would like to thank Athletics Director Chris Kingston and Sport Administrator Lesley Irvine, as well as others in Athletics and the University who were involved, for making this a reality."
In 2013, Martin was named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the program to a third place finish, a big step over an eighth place finish the year prior. The team had not finished as high as third at the MAC Championships since 2004. However, the program was unlikely to climb much higher in the MAC standings without being able to score points in the diving events.
"Our team has been improving rapidly and having a strong diving program is crucial for our success in the MAC and on a national level," Martin said. "We have been the only school in the conference without a diving program and we can't wait to see what we can do with this fantastic addition. The commitment is a clear message to our program, alumni, supporters and to the overall swimming and diving community that we want to achieve at the highest level possible. I am thrilled to start the process of incorporating the diving portion of our program into what we already have and achieve some great things together."
Over the past few years, the Falcons, under Martin, have developed a strong swimming program. In 2013, freshman Daniela Carrillo became the first BGSU swimmer to qualify for the NCAA Championships since 1996, competing in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Alexa Harris earned first team All-MAC honors and five other swimmers were named to the second team. Jen Beatty earned back-to-back Capital One Academic All-American honors in 2012 and 2013, while four swimmers were named Academic All-MAC a year ago.
BGSU's women's swimming program began as a club sport in 1968 and was added as a varsity intercollegiate sport in 1974. Throughout history, Bowling Green has had strong divers as Lisa Fry and Mary Jane Harrison were co-recipients of the MAC's Diver of the Year award in 1981. Mary Pfeiffer earned the same honor for four years from 1985-88. In addition, the Falcons twice earned the MAC Diving Coach of the Year award (Chuck O'Brien in 1991 and Michael Poindexter in 1992). BGSU last fielded a women's diving team in 2009.