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Queens’ quick rise

2015 Division II Men’s Swimming and Diving

In a span of five years, the Queens University of Charlotte swimming program went from nonexistent to national champions: The school captured its first men’s swimming and diving title on March 14 in Indianapolis.

The rise began in 2010 when coach Jeff Dugdale was hired to build the school’s first swim team. The men and women practiced at the local aquatic center until Queens opened a pool of its own in 2013. A sign of the program’s ambition: A national championship banner was depicted in an architectural drawing of the pool before construction began. The team has already brought that rendering to life.

The Royals men, ranked second nationally before the meet, ended Drury University’s 10-year national championships run. Queens edged the defending champions by a margin of 16 points. Sophomore Matthew Josa, who broke three national records in individual events and won four individual races, earned the Swimmer of the Meet award, while Dugdale was named Coach of the Meet.

“A lot of coaches take over programs that have been well established,” Dugdale said. “Here, we got to create a culture. And I guess what makes this really special is that every one of these kids that are seniors now had to have a little bit of a vision and  leadership in them to see a future.”