Building on the success of its women's swimming and diving program, the Allan Hancock College athletics department announced Friday the addition of an intercollegiate men's swimming and diving team for the 2019-20 academic year. Recruiting for the men's program started immediately.
"We are excited to meet the needs of our students and provide them with an opportunity to compete in intercollegiate men's swimming," said Kim Ensing, associate dean and athletic director at Hancock. "There is a very talented men's swimming population in our community, and we are thrilled to offer a highly-requested program."
Hancock will offer 14 intercollegiate sports programs during the 2019-20 academic year: men's and women's swimming, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track and field, football, baseball, softball, men's golf, women's volleyball, and women's cross country.
Current head women's swimming coach Mike Ashmore will handle coaching duties of the men's program. Like the women's program, the men's swim team will compete in the Western State Conference.
"Young men in northern Santa Barbara County haven't had a place to continue swimming after high school. Now they do," said Ashmore, the manager and head coach of the Santa Maria Swim Club with more than 20 years of coaching experience. "Starting a men's swim program has been discussed for 20 years. It's awesome to have an athletic director in Kim Ensing and college president in Dr. Kevin Walthers who made it happen."
Ashmore has been in charge of Hancock swimming since the college introduced the women's program in 2014. During their first six seasons, the Bulldogs have earned 17 individual Western State Conference titles, three Western State Conference Swimmer of the Year awards, and
sent 14 athletes to the CCCAA State Championships. This past spring, freshman Izzie Fraire, a Righetti High School graduate, won the first state title in program history, adding it to her three individual conference titles.
Ashmore said his plan for success with the men's team is similar to what proved effective with the women's program: finding student-athletes who want to work hard to honor the college, the team, and themselves.
"This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to compete in an intercollegiate sport and who can swim," said Ashmore, who has worked with swimmers who have competed in Junior and Senior Nationals, world championships, Olympic Trials, and Olympic Games. "Speed isn't an issue, as long as you can swim come be a part of Hancock's inaugural men's swimming and diving team."
Ashmore is also looking for male divers, adding that prior diving experience is not required. The last two seasons, two Hancock female divers qualified for the state championships.
Though the first intercollegiate swim meets take place in January 2020, students can register now for a fall conditioning class (PEIA 185) that helps prepare students for the upcoming season with weekday morning practices. For additional information, contact Ashmore at email@example.com .