Bethel University to Host 2025 and 2026 NAIA Swimming National Championships at Elkhart Health & Aquatics Center

by | May 31, 2024

Bethel University has been selected to host the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Swim and Dive National Championships for 2025 and 2026 at the Elkhart Health & Aquatics Center in Elkhart, Ind. The initial term of the agreement is for two years and will include both the 2025 and 2026 championships.The bid process opened in early 2024 as the NAIA’s term with the Columbus, GA Sports Council — who previously hosted the event — was nearing an end.

“Bethel University is honored to host the NAIA Swimming & Diving National Championships,” said Tony Natali, athletic director for Bethel University. “We have a top-of-the-line facility and will provide a great student-athlete experience to all those that qualify. We look forward to working with the NAIA to provide a championship that will be first class and a memorable experience for all the athletes and spectators.”

The events, the first of which is slated for March 5-8, 2025, are expected to bring 325 athletes, plus coaches, staff and hundreds of spectators to the region.

“We are thrilled to learn Bethel University and the Elkhart Health & Aquatics Center have been awarded the opportunity to host the NAIA National Championships,” says Pete McCown, president of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. “This is a special opportunity to showcase the South Bend-Elkhart Region to athletes, coaches and spectators from across the nation. The Elkhart Aquatics Center is a world-class facility and a great venue for these national events.”

Jon Hunsberger, executive director, Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau, agrees.

“The aquatics center has proven over the last three years to be an elite competition facility and an ideal location for major swim events across the spectrum. The Elkhart County CVB is excited to welcome hundreds of NAIA student-athletes starting in 2025. We know they will find the perfect blend of amenities and experiences in Elkhart that will enable them to compete at their best,” he said.

Bethel launched its Swim & Dive program in 2019 through a partnership with Elkhart Health & Aquatics, and uses their 1.1-million-gallon pool, one of the top-five largest in the United States, for practices and meets.

Josh Ptak, aquatics director for Elkhart Health & Aquatics, says the facility is excited to welcome the athletes: “Our team is prepared to dive in with our partners, giving all of the participants an experience they will never forget as they compete for a national championship.”

In a news release, Austin Bennett, NAIA director of championships, thanked the Columbus Sports Council for their years of hard work hosting the championship, and stated, “We are excited to bring these events to Elkhart and to crown champions in the pool there for the next two years.”

The NAIA Swim and Dive National Championships are conducted in a four-day format with preliminaries in the morning/afternoon and finals in the same events conducted in the evening. here are 20 events for men and 20 events for women. Both men’s and women’s individual champions are crowned.

The NAIA serves as the governing body for the athletics programs of 250 small colleges across the United States. Bethel competes in Division I of the NAIA and in the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association), which is comprised of 90 schools in the United States. For more information on Bethel Athletics, visit