In 2007, a small group of students took the initiative and approached the Athletic Director, Kerry Prather, about the possibility of starting a Franklin College Swimming and Diving Team. The support of Mr. Prather and the college President, Dr. James Moseley, led to the hiring of Kurt Hass as an Athletic Consultant to help investigate the viability of an NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Team.
In the fall of 2007, meetings were held with a step-by-step plan to guide Franklin College toward the vision of having a swim team. Starting in January 2008, an agreement with Franklin College and Franklin Parks and Recreation Department was put together allowing interested students to be involved in a pre-club program. Lap swim and practice times were developed for any college students wanting to be a member of the club program.
Hass continued publicizing the program at the college, in the community, and with high schools around the state. In the summer of 2008, he helped hire Andrew Hendricks to begin the transition from a club sport to NCAA III status. In November of that same year, Hendricks began with a group of swimmers of various backgrounds. Practices were held consistently through February of 2009 while the team competed in swim meets throughout Indiana and Ohio.
Following the 2008–09 season, the team was instated as an NCAA Division III men’s and women’s sport. Hendricks was named as the team’s official head coach with Hass serving as the interim director of diving. The goal to develop a strong interest base on campus and to spread the news to potential students interested in Franklin College continued with exciting early results and high expectations. In 2010, Franklin was invited to participate and applied for membership in the Liberal Arts Championships, an end-of-year championship meet set as a precursor to the NCAA National Championships.
In 2012, the women’s team realized its first Heartland Conference Invitational championship and hasn’t looked back. In fact, the women have won the Heartland Invitational five of the last six seasons. In the last four seasons alone, the women’s team has had a record of 43-3-1 in dual meets and won the 2017 NCAA Liberal Arts Swimming & Diving Championship. On the men’s side, the Grizzlies have had a dual meet record of 40-6-1 over the last four seasons and have won the NCAA Division III Liberal Arts Championship successively in each of those years. They also earned their first Heartland Conference Invitational title in 2017.
In 2014, Hendricks coached Artur Schneider to multiple top 8 finishes and one national title in Switzerland. Schneider then went on to qualify for NCAA nationals in four individual events where he was also named as an Academic All-American. Schneider concluded his swimming career with 12- NCAA provisional time standards, 3 NCAA National appearances, and was named as an Academic All-American all three years he competed at the championships.
The 2015-16 season marked a first for the Grizzlies when diving coach, Dee Woods, led Will Combs to his first NCAA Division III Diving Regional. The next season (2016-2017) Jacob Keener would follow in Combs’ footsteps to compete in Regional competition. That same season, Franklin qualified its first female swimmer, Regina Solik, for NCAA Nationals. Like Schneider, Solik would go on to earn Academic All-American honors and earn a nomination for NCAA Woman of the Year, the highest award given to an athlete from the NCAA.