Upon announcing the revival of their men’s basketball program seven years ago, the Running Eagles have held fast to the idea of expanding their intercollegiate athletic program with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for women at the school.
Life recently declared its latest addition with women’s swimming becoming an official scholarship sport that will begin competition starting in the 2014-15 season.
Life University professor Dr. Yit Lim was named the team’s head coach.
“I’m very excited to start a swimming team here at Life,” said Lim, who has taught sports nutrition and exercise physiology in Life’s College of Undergraduate Studies and College of Graduate Studies and Research for the past 14 years. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I’ve been talking to the college over the years to have a program.”
A competitive swimmer in high school and college, Lim represented his native Malaysia in international swimming competitions and currently coaches youth swimming for the Marietta Marlins Swim Club. He will continue to coach the youth team during the offseason.
“There are a lot of swimmers in the state of Georgia, but not a lot of intercollegiate opportunities to continue the sport beyond high school. Our program will join the other NAIA schools in the state in offering these swimmers a chance to participate in college as well.”
Life’s athletic program has blossomed over the past couple of years. Starting with undergraduate rugby to round out the school’s nationally-competitive men’s Division I and Super League rugby teams, the Running Eagles added women’s cross country and wrestling as sports beginning with the 2012-13 season. Last September, Life announced that women’s wrestling would become an intercollegiate sport beginning in 2014-15, and now swimming will also be an option this upcoming season.
Lim already has five student-athletes signed up to compete with others that have expressed interest and he recently completed a recruiting trip to find more swimmers. Lim hopes to have at least 10 to 12 swimmers as a part of the first season of the program. Ideally, he’s hoping to have a full team of about 16 to 18 student-athletes.
“I went recruiting last week to the junior college championship in Florida,” Lim said. “I spoke to a lot of kids there who showed some interest. It’s just a matter of getting them here to visit campus and getting them to sign.
“We’re late in the process with a lot of high school kids already committed to different schools, but I’m sure there will be some who like what we have to offer.”
Life intends to add men’s swimming as early as the fall of 2015. Diving is another sport under consideration. The University doesn’t have its own natatorium on campus, so the Running Eagles will use Central Aquatic Center to practice and train.
“I’ve talked to Cobb County to use the Central Aquatic Center,” Lim said. “So, that’s where we’ll train. It’s not far from campus, so I think it will work out well.”
Besides recruiting, Lim is trying to hire an assistant coach as well as take care of the schedule for the upcoming season.
“I already have some junior colleges on the schedule I’m trying to put together,” Lim said. “I’m also looking at some NAIA meets, but I don’t want to overload it too soon. The length of the schedule will depend on the number of swimmers I have in the program.”
Life’s director of athletics, John Barrett, is excited to have Lim lead the program.
“Dr. Lim has an impressive background both in swimming and in human performance,” he said in a release. “I couldn’t think of a better person to build this program, and we are fortunate that he is already fully immersed in the culture and academics of Life University.”
Life also plans to add men’s swimming as early as fall of 2015. Volleyball has also been discussed as a future intercollegiate sport.