FIU Leads Four Schools Joining AAC, Spelling Possible End to Conference USA Swimming

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Photo Courtesy: FIU Athletics

FIU Leads Four Schools Joining AAC, Spelling Possible End to Conference USA Swimming

The latest tectonic shifts in the college conference landscape include four schools moving to the American Athletic Conference from Conference USA as affiliate members starting next season.

Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas and Rice will all compete in the AAC for women’s swimming and diving starting in the 2022-23 season, the conference announced Wednesday. All four are departing Conference USA.

“We are pleased to be able to welcome our affiliate members for the 2022-23 season,” AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “The addition of these outstanding teams will immediately strengthen our conference in men’s soccer and women’s swimming and diving. This will allow us to have one of the most competitive men’s soccer conferences in the nation, while providing a more competitive and memorable championship experience in women’s swimming and diving. I would like to thank Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod for her collaboration on this process that has led to a positive outcome for these student-athletes.”

That brings the number of AAC schools sponsoring women’s swimming from five to nine. (The AAC’s women’s swimming league is championship-only, with no regular-season schedule.) Among the new arrivals is the FIU powerhouse, which has won eight consecutive Conference USA titles.

Those may well be the last Conference USA swimming crowns. The 2022 championships featured six schools. Four are now in the AAC. The shift was precipitated by the February announcement that the other two – Marshall and Old Dominion, along with Southern Miss – will depart Conference USA for the Sun Belt in all sports.

FIU is retaining its primary affiliation with Conference USA in all sports, with only an affiliate membership in the AAC for women’s swimming and men’s soccer. FAU, North Texas and Rice will join the AAC at a later date as full members, along with non-swimming schools Charlotte, University of Alabama Birmingham and University of Texas at San Antonio.

“We are grateful for the experience that Conference USA provided our men’s soccer and women’s swimming and diving teams throughout their time as C-USA members,” FIU Athletics Director Scott Carr said in a university statement. “When the number of C-USA members in men’s soccer and women’s swimming and diving decreased, we proactively worked with C-USA and The American on this move to ensure we maintained high quality experiences for our student-athletes. Our goal at FIU is to compete at a national level and The American fields a strong lineup of programs that will continue to align with our competitive goals. We’d like to thank C-USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod and all of C-USA for the great experience the conference offered our two programs over the years, and we look forward to continuing a strong and healthy primary membership in C-USA. Lastly, we’d like to thank commissioner Mike Aresco for the opportunity to compete in The American. We are excited about the future of FIU men’s soccer and women’s swimming and diving as affiliate members of The American.”

Conference USA is adding four members school starting in the fall of 2023, two of which – Liberty and New Mexico State – sponsor women’s swimming. Liberty arrives as the four-time reigning Coastal Collegiate Sports Association champion.

The announcements do nothing to expand the AAC men’s swimming and diving field, which is stuck at two, Southern Methodist University and the University of Cincinnati.

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Swim dad
4 months ago

Where will Marshall land? Sunbelt has no swimming programs.