COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced its two-year agreement with the Columbus Sports Council to host the national championships at the Columbus Aquatic Center in March 2016 and 2017.
"The Parks and Recreation department is honored to have such a prestigious national competition in our city," said Dr. James Worsley, the director of Parks and Rec. "There are so many benefits from having the NAIA at the Columbus Aquatic Center, and we are excited for this opportunity."
The Columbus Aquatic Center opened its doors back in 2013. The 57,000 square-foot facility offers an Olympic size swimming pool with 10 lanes running length-wise and 20 lanes running the 25 meter across. The center also has three diving boards with the capacity to hold 900 spectators.
"The NAIA is excited to renew its partnership with the Columbus Sports Council," said Jim Carr, NAIA President, in a press release. "Columbus delivered a great experience for our softball student-athletes, and we are confident that they can take our swimming and diving championships to the next level. Our student-athletes deserve an experience that they'll remember for a lifetime, and Columbus is committed to helping us achieve that goal."
The Columbus Sports Council brings games and events that create an average of $16 million of economic impact to the Columbus area. The organization was founded in 1995 and it also aims to promote tourism in the city through sporting events.
"It's an awesome opportunity to promote not just the Columbus Aquatic Center but also the city of Columbus," said Merri Sherman, the Interim Director of Columbus Sports Council. "The relationship we have established with the NAIA in the beginning of 2010 with the baseball regionals helped us to bring their events to Columbus."