Want to Become a member?Join/Renew Now!

BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Women’s Collegiate Club Division Spotlight returns to the center of the United States as the league focuses on the Midwest Division of Grand Valley State University “A”, Grand Valley State University “B”, Illinois State University, Lindenwood University, Miami University (Ohio), Ohio University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.

HISTORY: The oldest women’s collegiate club division thanks to its founding in 1996, the Midwest Division is not the longest tenured division as the group did not hold competition during the 1998 season.  The title for most consecutive seasons belongs to the Southwest Division – which started competition in 1997.

Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio) hold the majority of title game appearances in the history of the Midwest Division with a combined 31-of-46 potential championship berth appearances between the two programs.

The Fighting Irish have appeared in the Midwest Division Championship game in 20 of the completed 23 seasons as the division did not contest a 1998 campaign and the 2020 season came to an early termination due to COVID-19. In the history of the Notre Dame program, the Irish hold 12 championships (1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and eight runner-up marks (1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2016, 2018).

Miami has acquired seven titles (1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006) and four second place finishes (1999, 2001, 2002, 2011), while Grand Valley State has appeared in 10 championship games with a pair of victories (2016, 2017) and an octet of runner-up achievements (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019).  Lindenwood possesses a pair of titles (2018, 2019) and one second place mark (2015).

Former division members Bowling Green University (1996) and McKendree University (2017) have also played for the Midwest Division title.

At the National Collegiate Club Championship, the division holds a pair of championship game appearances as Notre Dame faced California Polytechnic State University (2009 at the University of California-Davis) and the University of California (2015 at Middlebury College).

Midwest Division Champion/Runner-Up

  • 1996 – Miami University (Ohio) / Bowling Green University
  • 1997 – Miami University (Ohio) / University of Notre Dame
  • 1998 – No Competition
  • 1999 – University of Notre Dame / Miami University (Ohio)
  • 2000 – Miami University (Ohio) / University of Notre Dame
  • 2001 – University of Notre Dame / Miami University (Ohio)
  • 2002 – University of Notre Dame / Miami University (Ohio)
  • 2003 – Miami University (Ohio) / University of Notre Dame
  • 2004 – Miami University (Ohio) / University of Notre Dame
  • 2005 – Miami University (Ohio) / University of Notre Dame
  • 2006 – Miami University (Ohio) / University of Notre Dame
  • 2007 – University of Notre Dame / Grand Valley State University
  • 2008 – University of Notre Dame / Grand Valley State University
  • 2009 – University of Notre Dame / Grand Valley State University
  • 2010 – University of Notre Dame / Grand Valley State University
  • 2011 – University of Notre Dame / Miami University (Ohio)
  • 2012 – University of Notre Dame / Grand Valley State University
  • 2013 – University of Notre Dame / Grand Valley State University
  • 2014 – University of Notre Dame / Grand Valley State University
  • 2015 – University of Notre Dame / Lindenwood University
  • 2016 – Grand Valley State University / University of Notre Dame
  • 2017 – Grand Valley State University / McKendree University
  • 2018 – Lindenwood University / University of Notre Dame
  • 2019 – Lindenwood University / Grand Valley State University

National Collegiate Club Champion/Runner-Up

  • 2009 – California Polytechnic State University / University of Notre Dame
  • 2015 – University of California /University of Notre Dame

THE TEAMS: Comprised of teams from Indiana (Notre Dame), Michigan (Grand Valley State “A”, Grand Valley State “B”), Missouri (Lindenwood, Washington) and Ohio (Miami, Ohio, Cincinnati), the Midwest Division has seen its membership evolve over the past 25 years.

Grand Valley State University

The 2016 and 2017 Midwest Division Champion, the Lakers of Grand Valley State University have advanced to the division title game 10 times with runner-up finishes in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2019.  The team is the only program in the Midwest Division to field two programs as the Lakers competed with both “A” and “B” teams in 2020.

A public liberal arts university in Allendale, Michigan, Grand Valley State was established in 1960 and its main campus is situated approximately 12 miles west of Grand Rapids. The university also offers classes at a campus in downtown Grand Rapids, its international campus in Holland, and through Traverse City established in cooperation with local community colleges.

GVSU is a comprehensive coeducational university serving nearly 25,000 students with over 200 areas of study, including 82 undergraduate majors and 36 graduate programs with 74 graduate emphases and certificate programs at the certificate, bachelor’s, post-bachelor’s, master’s, post-master’s and doctoral levels.

Grand Valley is ranked a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review and rate as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by Forbes magazine and the fourth in the state of Michigan, only behind the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Michigan Technological University, in terms of quality of education and student achievement and experience.  Grand Valley is ranked 10th among U.S. master’s degree-granting institutions for total number of study abroad students, according to the Institute of International Education in New York.

GVSU has a National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredited art program, including emphases in illustration, graphic design, ceramics, printmaking, painting, visual studies and sculpture. Art students attend classes at the Calder Art Center, named for contemporary artist Alexander Calder.

Admission into the GVSU art program requires an initial review of the potential student’s work. Admitted students then undergo a series of foundation classes that properly introduce them to the formal basics of art. Passing the foundation review allows access to higher level art studies, and a choice of approaching an emphasis. Subsequent reviews may take place depending upon emphases, including both junior and senior level reviews.

The music program at Grand Valley State University offers various performing ensembles, including three performing bands, an orchestra, several small performance ensembles, and the 230-piece Laker Marching Band and adjunct athletic bands.  The Performing Arts Center (PAC) houses numerous rehearsal spaces, classrooms, labs, offices, practice halls, two dance studios, a theatre workshop and the Louis Armstrong Theatre, along with the new Sherman Van Solkema recital hall.

For more information on the Grand Valley State women’s collegiate club team, contact either Taylor Kehren (kehrent@mail.gvsu.edu), the team’s general email account (gvsuwomenswaterpoloclub@gmail.com) or head coach Josh Ahrendt (joshahrendt@gmail.com).

  • Facebook (@gvsuwaterpoloclub)
  • Instagram (@gvsu_waterpolo)
  • Twitter (@GV_WaterPolo)
  • Website (www.gvsuclubsports.com/sport/0/36.php)

Illinois State University

The 2013 runner-up in the Heartland Division, Illinois State University is a public university in Normal, Illinois. Founded in 1857 as Illinois State Normal University, it is the oldest public university in Illinois. The university emphasizes teaching and is recognized as one of the top ten largest producers of teachers in the US according to the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

Founded as a teachers’ college, the university now offers a range of programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. Illinois State is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The teacher preparation programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and certified by the Illinois State Board of Education. In addition, 22 programs hold discipline-based accreditation.

As of the fall of 2019, total on-campus enrollment was 20,878, with 18,250 undergraduate students and 2,628 graduate students.  56.5 percent of students are female, while 43.5 percent are male. About 28.8% of all students were from minority groups.  Among the 558 international students, 422 are graduate students.  International students come from 69 different countries.

The school’s fight song is “Go, You Redbirds,” a song written specifically for ISU and frequently played at sporting events. The Alma Mater song, also played at sporting events from time to time, is “Glory Hast Thou,” written to the tune of Haydn’s “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser,” and better known as the tune used for “Deutschlandlied,” the German national anthem.

The ghost of Angeline Vernon Milner, the university’s first librarian, is said to haunt the former library building, now called Williams Hall. Built in 1940, the building was named in honor of Milner who served as University Librarian from 1890 until her retirement in 1927. Beginning in the 1990s, personnel working in the book storage and archives facilities formerly housed in Williams Hall reported encounters with what they believe to be the ghost of Milner.

For more information on the Illinois State women’s collegiate club team, contact either Emily Rodgers (ekrodg1@ilstu.edu) or Katie Horn (kjhorn3@ilstu.edu).

  • Facebook (@ISUWomensWaterPolo)
  • Instagram (@isu_wwaterpolo)
  • Website (redbirdlife.illinoisstate.edu/organization/wwaterpoloclub)

Lindenwood University

A two-time Midwest Division Champion (2018, 2019) with a runner-up finish in 2015, the Lions of Lindenwood University have a long and storied history of success in the collegiate club ranks.

Prior to joining the Midwest Division, Lindenwood achieved championships in both the Great Plains and Heartland Divisions.  The 2014 Great Plains Division Champion in the lone year of the group’s history, the Lions went five-for-six in Heartland Division title games with victories in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 to sandwich a second place mark in 2009.

A private liberal arts university in Saint Charles, Missouri, Lindenwood was founded in 1827 by George Champlin Sibley, an early 19th-century American explorer, soldier, Indian agent and politician, and his wife Mary Easton Sibley as The Lindenwood School for Girls.

The second-oldest higher-education institution west of the Mississippi River, Lindenwood offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees through nine colleges and schools. Its annual enrollment is more than 8,600 students on a 500-acre main academic and residential campus located 24 miles northwest of St. Louis.

Lindenwood offers 121 majors in diverse areas of study and confers degrees from 10 colleges and schools.  In 2007,  the school began offering doctoral programs, starting with a Doctorate of Education program that prepares students for the field of educational administration.

Lindenwood’s student body comes from various locations across the United States, Canada, and other worldwide locations. Approximately 64% of the school’s student body is from Missouri with the majority of in-state students from St. Charles and St. Louis counties. Out-of-state students represent 22% of undergraduate enrollment and are made up of students from 45 of the 50 US states. In addition, 13% of students are from 60 foreign countries.

For more information on the Lindenwood women’s collegiate club team, contact the Department of Athletics (Athletics@lindenwood.edu).

  • Facebook (@womenlindenwoodwaterpolo)
  • Twitter (@LUwaterpolo)
  • Website (lindenwoodlions.com/sports/womens-polo)

Miami University (Ohio)

A seven-time Midwest Division Champion (1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006) and four-time runner-up (1999, 2001, 2002, 2011), Miami University is a public research university in Oxford, Ohio. The university was founded in 1809, although classes were not held until 1824. Miami is the second-oldest university in Ohio and the 10th oldest public university (32nd overall) in the United States.

The 2007 Ohio Valley Division Champion in the only year of competition in the group, the school offers more than 120 undergraduate degree programs and over 60 graduate degree programs within its 8 schools and colleges in architecture, business, engineering, humanities and the sciences.  Miami is one of the original eight Public Ivy schools, a group of publicly funded universities considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

Miami has a long tradition of Greek life; five social Greek-letter organizations were founded at the university earning Miami the nickname “Mother of Fraternities”. Today, Miami University hosts over 50 fraternity and sorority chapters, and approximately one-third of the undergraduate student population are members of the Greek community. Miami is renowned for its campus’ beauty, having been called “The most beautiful campus that ever there was” by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost. Forbes ranked the city of Oxford first on its 2016 list of the best college towns in the United States.

As of 2017, Miami had a total enrollment of 24,424 admitted students. The Oxford campus encompassed 19,452 students, of which 17,147 are at the undergraduate and 2,305 at the graduates and professional.  Although 40.5% of students come from Ohio, offers of first-year admission for Fall 2017 included students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and abroad. Miami University encompasses 3,056 international students from 85 countries. Of the regularly enrolled international students, the most represented countries/regions are China, India, Vietnam and South Korea, in that order.  With a gender distribution of 49% male students and 51% female students, Miami University’s gender disparity between men and women is far below the national average, making it one of the most equally balanced undergraduate institutions in the United States.

For more information on the Miami women’s collegiate club team, contact either Lauren Shassere (shasselr@miamioh.edu) or Holly Beith-Mangrum (beithmhm@miamioh.edu).

  • Facebook (@MiamiWomensWaterPolo)
  • Twitter (@MUClubWaterPolo)
  • Website (muhub.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/womenswaterpolo)

Ohio University

The Bobcats of Ohio University returned to the Midwest Division in 2020 following a tenure in the Mid-Atlantic Division.  Ohio, which played in the Mid-Atlantic Division from 2015-to-2018 after competing in the Midwest Division on the heels of a runner-up finish in the Ohio Valley Division during 2007, did not compete in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) during the 2019 season.  The team played an exhibition schedule in 2020 prior to the termination of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A public research university in Athens, Ohio, the school holds a number of firsts.  The first university chartered by an Act of Congress and the first to be chartered in the State of Ohio, the school was chartered in 1787 by the Congress of the Confederation and subsequently approved for the territory in 1802 and state in 1804, opening for students in 1809.

Ohio is the oldest university in the state, the eighth oldest public university in the United States and the 30th oldest among public and private universities.

The university was first envisioned by Manasseh Cutler, credited as the school’s founder along with Revolutionary War Brigadier General Rufus Putnam. Cutler had served as a chaplain in Washington’s Continental Army. The institution’s first name was American University.  In 1802 approval was granted by the territorial government of Ohio for the establishment of the American Western University, but the school was not operated under that name as the institution was recognized by its namesake state by means of its current name on February 18, 1804.

Ohio offers more than 250 areas of undergraduate study.  On the graduate level, the university grants master’s degrees in many of its major academic divisions, and doctoral degrees in selected departments.  The university maintains a selective admission rate with further admission requirements for its Journalism and other select schools.  The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine maintains separate select admissions criteria and is the only school in the state to award a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine.

The total university student enrollment is in excess of 36,000, encompassing its main campus in Athens and regional campuses; its body mostly hails from the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest and graduated from public high schools.

The university admits 69% of applicants. Total surveyed student demographic: African-Americans account for 5%; (1,061); Asian Americans 1.3% (270); Caucasians 84.6% (17,926); Hispanic 1.9% (411); International 6.8% (1,437); and Native American and American Indian 0.4% (77).

For more information on the Ohio women’s collegiate club team, contact either Emily Miske (em830716@ohio.edu) or Caroline Pierron (cp478916@ohio.edu).

  • Twitter (@OUWomen_H20polo)

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati is a public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded in 1819 as Cincinnati College, it is the oldest institution of higher education in Cincinnati and has an annual enrollment of over 44,000 students, making it the second largest university in Ohio. It is part of the University System of Ohio, with four major campuses. Cincinnati’s main campus and medical campus are located in Clifton Heights, while its branch campuses are in Blue Ash and Clermont.

Cincinnati is the originator of the co-operative education (Co-Op) model. The program generally consists of alternating semesters of coursework on campus and outside work at a host firm, giving students over one year of relevant work experience by the time they graduate. All programs in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, Architecture programs, all design programs in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, and Information Technology in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, require co-operative education experience to graduate.

For more information on the Cincinnati women’s collegiate club team, contact Lily Retford (retforlg@mail.uc.edu).

  • Instagram (@ucwaterpolo)
  • Twitter (@UCWaterPolo)

University of Notre Dame

The most successful program in the history of the women’s Midwest Division, the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame under the leadership of head coach Brian Coughlin hold 12 division championships (1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), eight runner-up finishes (1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2016, 2018) and a pair of National Collegiate Club Championship title game appearances (2008, 2015).

Officially known as The University of Notre Dame du Lac (University of Our Lady of the Lake) and arguably the most famous institution of higher learning in the world, the school is a private Catholic university in Notre Dame, Indiana, outside the city of South Bend.  Founded in 1842 by Edward Sorin, the main campus covers 1,261 acres with a number of recognizable landmarks, such as the Golden Dome, the Word of Life mural (commonly known as Touchdown Jesus), Notre Dame Stadium, and the Basilica.  Because the university was originally all-male, the female-only Saint Mary’s College was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross near Notre Dame in 1844 with athletes from Saint Mary’s permitted to compete on Notre Dame’s club teams.

Undergraduate students are organized into six colleges. The university offers over 50 yearlong study programs abroad and over 15 summer programs. Notre Dame’s graduate program has more than 50 master, doctoral and professional degree programs offered by the six schools, including the Notre Dame Law School and an MD–PhD program offered in combination with the Indiana University School of Medicine. The majority of the university’s 8,000 undergraduates live on campus in one of 31 residence halls, each with its own traditions, legacies, events, and intramural sports teams. The university’s approximately 134,000 alumni are considered one of the strongest college alumni networks in the United States.

Admission to Notre Dame is highly competitive; the fall 2020 incoming class admitted 3,515 from a pool of 22,199, for 15.8 percent acceptance rate.  The academic profile of the enrolled class continues to rate among the top 10 to 15 in the nation for national research universities. Of the most recent class, the class of 2020, 48 percent were in the top 1 percent of their high school, and 94 percent were in the top 10 percent. The university practices a non-restrictive early action policy that allows admitted students to consider admission to Notre Dame as well as any other colleges that accepted them. This process admitted 1,400 of the 3,577 (39.1 percent) who requested it.  While all entering students begin in the College of the First Year of Studies, 25 percent have indicated they plan to study in the liberal arts or social sciences, 24 percent in engineering, 24 percent in business, 24 percent in science, and 3 percent in architecture

As of 2019, the Notre Dame student body consisted of 12,467 students, with 8,576 undergraduates, 3,891 graduate and professional and professional (Law, Master of Divinity, Business, Master of Education) students.  An estimated 21–24 percent of students are children of alumni, and although 37 percent of students come from the Midwestern United States, the student body represents all 50 states and 100 countries. Thirty-two percent of students are U.S. students of color or international citizens.  The Princeton Review ranks Notre Dame as the ninth-highest ‘dream school’ from a parental perspective.

The strictly measured federal graduation rate for athletes was 98 percent for freshmen who entered between 2007 and 2010, the highest in the country.

For more information on the Notre Dame women’s collegiate club team, contact either Julia Zimlich (jzimlich@nd.edu) or the team’s general account (wwpolo@nd.edu).

  • Twitter (@NDWmnsH2OPolo)
  • Website (https://sites.nd.edu/irishwwpolo/)

Washington University in St. Louis

The only Division III institution in the Midwest Division, the Bears of Washington University in St. Louis finished in second place at the inaugural Women’s Division III Collegiate Club Championship hosted by Villanova University in 2019.

Washington, which moved to the Midwest Division in 2018 following a four-year run of Heartland Division Championships (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), is a private university located in Greater St. Louis, Mo., with a a West Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, and a Medical Campus in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis.

Founded in 1853, and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries.  As of 2019, 24 Nobel laureates in economics, physiology and medicine, chemistry, and physics have been affiliated with Washington, nine having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. In 2019, Clarivate Analytics ranked Washington seventh in the world for most cited researchers.

Comprised of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields, Washington received the fourth highest amount of National Institute of Health (NIH) medical research grants among medical schools in 2019.  The university was ranked as tied for first in the United States for genetics and genomics alongside Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by U.S. News & World Report in 2018.

The school holds some unique marks and rankings:

  • The school was founded by 17 St. Louis businessmen, including inaugural Board of Trustees Chairman William Greenleaf Eliot, grandfather of the poet T.S. Eliot. 
  • Washington University has been selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates to host more presidential and vice-presidential debates than any other institution in history. United States presidential election debates were held at the Washington University Athletic Complex in 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2016. A presidential debate was planned to occur in 1996, but owing to scheduling difficulties between the candidates, the debate was canceled.  The university hosted the only 2008 vice presidential debate, between Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden, on October 2, 2008, also at the Washington University Athletic Complex. The university hosted the second 2016 presidential debate, between Republican Party candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, on October 9, 2016.  The school elected not to host a debate in 2020.
  • The acceptance rate for the class of 2024 (those entering in the fall of 2020) was 12.8%, with students selected from more than 27,900 applications. Of students admitted, 92 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class.
  • The Princeton Review ranked Washington University first for Best College Dorms and third for Best College Food, Best-Run Colleges, and Best Financial Aid in its 2020 edition. Niche listed the university as the best college for architecture and the second-best college campus and college dorms in the United States in 2020.
  • The Washington University School of Medicine was ranked 6th for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 and has been listed among the top ten medical schools since the rankings were first published in 1987.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked the university’s genetics and physical therapy as tied for first place, while QS World University Rankings ranked Washington sixth in the world for anatomy and physiology in 2020.

For more information on the WashU women’s collegiate club team, contact either Lauren Perl (laurenperl@wustl.edu) or head coach Dave Jimenez (shatterstorm@swbell.net).

  • Facebook (@WashUWomensWaterPoloClub)
  • Twitter (@WashUWaterPolo)
  • Website (wuwp.000webhostapp.com/)