Conference USA brings a new level of competition and exposure for North Texas' swimming and diving program, as it is set to join the expanding league in 2013-14. Including North Texas, six of the 13 full C-USA members sponsor women's swimming and diving.
The Mean Green swimming and diving foes will consist of East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, Rice, and Tulane.
Louisiana Tech, UAB, Charlotte, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UTEP, and UTSA do not sponsor women's swimming and diving.
"It's going to be great having regional conference rivals. Teams like Rice and Tulane, who we already compete against every year, will make those meets more meaningful," said North Texas Head Swimming and Diving Coach Joe Dykstra.
North Texas defeated both Tulane (Oct. 15) and Rice (Nov. 5) at home during the 2011-12 season, topping the Green Wave 172-123 and the Owls 165-129. The Mean Green swimming team also edged-out FIU on the road in December, stealing a 113.5-109.5 victory.
Switching to Conference USA also provides a great deal of exposure for the program. With the Mean Green having never competed against three of its six future conference opponents, North Texas can extend its geographical presence to North Carolina (East Carolina) and West Virginia (Marshall).
"The stronger conference brand recognition should help us get more looks by recruits. On the road, our conference meets will be in new states, which will inevitably spread our image for the betterment of our program."
The Mean Green finished with a 1-1 record against C-USA in 2011, defeating Rice (C-USA runner-up) and falling to the eventual conference champion SMU 44-69, who also finished 16th at the NCAA Championships and is departing for the BIG EAST.
"We'll be coming to Conference USA in a very strong position to win league titles not once or twice, but on a yearly basis. The conference meet will be very competitive, but we'll be in it to win it every season."
Coach Dykstra will be at the Fort Worth stop of the Mean Green Club Coaches' Caravan on Wednesday, May 16th at the River Ranch Stockyards from 6-8 p.m., talking about his program, the move to Conference USA, and socializing with guests.