In 1978, the women’s swimming team, under head coach Jane Morrison, finished second at the Ohio Association of Intercollegiate Sports for Women small college championships. 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.
Jen Schiller ’91 is Ohio Wesleyan’s most successful women’s team swimmer, with six individual All-America honors and six additional All-America citations as a member of relay teams. Schiller placed fourth in the 100 backstroke in 1988 at the NCAA Division III championship meet, the best finish ever by a female Ohio Wesleyan swimmer. In 1991, Jen Schiller ’91, Catie Butt ’91, Juli Althoff ’91 and Molly Kuhlman ’94 combined to tie for sixth in the 400 freestyle relay at the NCAA Division III championship meet, the best finish ever by an Ohio Wesleyan women’s relay team.
In his first season at the Bishop helm in 1991, Dick Hawes piloted the women’s team to a sixth-place finish with only nine swimmers on the roster. His teams also have performed well in the classroom, with both men’s and women’s teams receiving College Swimming Coaches Association of America Awards academic team honors for 32 consecutive semesters. In 2013-14, the Bishop women’s team placed eighth in the NCAC.
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.
The Meek Center is named in recognition of 1959 Ohio Wesleyan graduates Phillip J. and Nancy La Porte Meek of Frankfort, MI, who gave a lead gift of $3.5 million to help fund the $10 million facility. The Meek Center is funded entirely with alumni contributions and grants, including $1.1 million in federal funds to support the geothermal energy system. From 1954-2010, Ohio Wesleyan swimming events were contested at Pfeiffer Natatorium. The 25-yard, 6-lane pool was named in recognition of the gift of Annie Merner Pfeiffer.
Prior to 1954, Ohio Wesleyan swimming events were contested in the University’s first pool, a 20-foot by 20-yard facility in the basement of Edwards Gymnasium that served the University for nearly 50 years after Edwards opened during the 1905-06 academic year.