In 1954, Dick Gordin ’52 took over as swimming coach. In the same year, Pfeiffer Natatorium opened as new home of the swimming team. The medley relay team of Jim Brown ’62, Al Waterfield ’62, Robin Farran ’62 and Wink Franklin ’62 represented Ohio Wesleyan at the National Collegiate Athletic Association swimming championship meet in 1961. In 1967, Doug Andrew ’69 became Ohio Wesleyan’s first All-American in swimming with a ninth-place finish in the 100 butterfly. Andrew also helped the 400 freestyle relay team take All-America honors, combining with John Down ’68, Edgar Barnes ’70 and Bob Wilkin ’69 to finish sixth in the event.
Sue Collins was named head coach of the men and women’s swimming teams in 1983. She was the first woman to coach an Ohio Wesleyan men’s team. In 1993, Cameron Dovgan ’95, Bob LeRoy ’93, Thad Ingersoll ’93 and Rob Fellinger ’95 combined to finish fourth in the 800 freestyle relay at the NCAA Division III championship meet, the best finish ever by an Ohio Wesleyan men’s relay team.
In his first season at the Bishop helm in 1991, Dick Hawes piloted the men’s team to a fifth-place North Coast Athletic Conference finish. Rob Fellinger ’95 placed fourth in the 200 individual medley at the NCAA Division III championship meet in 1994, the best finish ever by a male Ohio Wesleyan swimmer.
In 2013-14, the Bishop men’s team placed sixth in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Under Hawes’ guidance, the Bishop men’s team has placed in the top 20 at the NCAA Division III championship meet three times. Ohio Wesleyan finished 17th at the 1995 Division III meet after finishing eighth in 1994 and tying for 13th place in 1993. Hawes has coached 23 All-Americans and 14 All-America relay teams at Ohio Wesleyan. His teams also have performed well in the classroom, with both men’s and women’s teams receiving College Swimming Coaches Association of America academic team honors for 32 consecutive semesters. The Ohio Wesleyan men’s team ranked second among NCAA Division III teams in overall grade point average in 2008-09.
Bryce Uzzolino ’16 set one school record and helped a relay team break another to lead the Bishops during the first day of the NCAC championship meet in 2015. Uzzolino opened the day by leading off the preliminaries of the 200 freestyle relay with a :21.06 leg, breaking the school record of :21.39 he set last year. The relay team of Bryce Uzzolino ’16, Marcus Ramirez ’15, Andy Cumston ’16, and Kaneat Nimcharoenwan ’15 clocked a 1:24.36 in the final 200 freestyle relay, breaking the school record of 1:24.64 set by David Dixon, Jon Dixon, Rob Fellinger, and Cameron Dovgan in 1994.
The Battling Bishop men’s and women’s swimming teams host their home meets at the Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, which opened in 2010. The Meek Center is located on South Henry Street on the southeastern corner of campus. It boasts a 10-lane pool, a 13-foot-deep diving well, and 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards.
The facility also is Ohio Wesleyan’s first “green” building, featuring a geothermal energy system that heats and cools the building, and a heat-recovery system that heats water for the pool. The Meek Center also includes a reflective clay-tile roof as well as recycled, regional, and low-VOC (volatile organic chemical) building materials. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver Certification to the Meek Center, making it the first LEED-certified building constructed on the Ohio Wesleyan campus.