Piedmont College launches swimming program
Piedmont College President James F. Mellichamp announced today that the college has launched a men’s and women’s swimming program and that Teddy Guyer, a 25-year coaching veteran, will lead the teams.
With varsity competition planned for 2020-21, the squads will train and host meets at the Ruby Fulbright Aquatic Center in nearby Clarkesville. Guyer, who served as head swimming coach at Mars Hill University from 2005 to 2019, will begin his duties August 1.
“Our focus at Piedmont has been adding value to our student experience. And we have been able to accomplish that, in part, by adding sports programs that align with our core values and mission,” said Mellichamp. “Swimming has tremendous potential, and we are particularly pleased to partner with the aquatic center in this exciting new venture. This new program is an example of Piedmont’s continued growth and rising profile.”
Guyer served as the inaugural swimming coach at Mars Hill University and Warren Wilson College where he served as head coach from 1993 to 2005. He has compiled a record of 354 wins to 73 losses. Guyer has coached 114 all-conference swimmers, had 19 swimmers make NCAA national cuts and coached an All-American. Along the way, he’s collected seven Coach of the Year Awards.
“We are extremely excited to add men’s and women’s swimming as our 20th and 21st programs,” said Piedmont Athletic Director Jim Peeples. “As a successful head coach who has started programs, Coach Guyer has a unique skillset. I know that he will serve our student athletes with both passion and personal touch.”
One of the top Division III athletic programs in the region, Piedmont has won the USA South Presidents Cup award three consecutive years. The award is presented annually to the institution with the top-performing athletic program within the conference. During the 2018-19 academic year, Piedmont captured four regular-season championships and won five conference tournaments.
A native of North Carolina, Guyer graduated from Western Carolina University in 1991 with a bachelor of science in physical education. He also received a Certificate of Coaching Excellence by the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) in 2013.
“I am so excited to be at Piedmont, and I can’t thank President Mellichamp and Athletic Director Jim Peeples enough for giving me this opportunity to start this team,” Guyer said. “My goal is to produce a winning team right away with dedicated student athletes. I am looking forward to this new challenge in my coaching career.”
With swimming being very popular in North Georgia and Atlanta, Guyer plans to spend much of his time recruiting in-state talent. But he’s looking beyond Georgia, too.
"Swimming is a worldwide sport, and everyone wants to come to the United States to swim so I will also be trying to work the international side,” said Guyer. “I would like to see the team have more than 30 swimmers within two years and eventually around 40 after that.”
The 14,500 square-foot aquatic center, maintained by the Habersham County Parks and Recreation Department, includes stadium seating for 250, locker rooms, a 25-meter competition pool and a heated recreation pool.
“Habersham County is delighted to be working with Piedmont College to host the swim teams,” said Habersham County Manager Phil Sutton. “It is exciting for us to be able to use the county’s athletic facilities to host college-level swim practices and meets.”
What others are saying about Teddy Guyer:
“Coach Guyer is someone I have the highest amount of respect for. I was able to see first-hand how hard he works as one of his swimmers, and my admiration of him as a coach has only grown since I have stepped into this field. Being able to start two programs from scratch and seeing what those programs have become is incredible. It is no doubt that Coach Guyer will continue to have a fierce impact on the swimming world as he starts his third program at Piedmont College.”
-- Elle Grier, Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach at Warren Wilson College
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Teddy for the past 12 years. He is the consummate professional, a teacher/coach that cares about his team as students as well as swimmers, and manages to get top-flight performances out of those he works with on a regular basis. Piedmont will be blessed to have such a talented coach head this new program.”
-- Max Obermiller, Head Swimming and Diving Coach at Sewanee: University of the South