HOLLAND -- Hope College has been selected to host the 2005 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III women's and men's swimming and diving championships.

The championships will be held at the Holland Community Aquatic Center, first for women from March 10-12, 2005 and then for men from March 17-19, 2005. The two meets will attract nearly 500 swimmers and divers from NCAA Division III institutions throughout the nation.

"Hope College is pleased to be able to partner with the Holland Community Aquatic Center and the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in bringing this premier NCAA championship event to west Michigan," said Hope College Senior Women's Athletic Administrator Eva Dean Folkert who will serve as meet manager.

This will be the third time that Hope has been chosen to host an NCAA national championship. The 1987 Division III men's and women's cross country championships were run at the Holland Country Club and Hope won the national women's basketball championship at the Holland Civic Center in 1990.

Hope College has sponsored intercollegiate swimming since 1978-79 and over that 27-year span under coach John Patnott has consistently been among the top Division III men's and women's programs in the nation. Patnott, who will mark his 25th season at the helm of the program in 2004-05, has coached 112 All-Americans, had national champions 30 times, and coached 27 conference champion teams. This past season the women's team was 10th nationally while the men's team ended 16th.

The Holland Community Aquatic Center has become one of the premier competition sites in Michigan. Opened in 1999, the center has hosted several championship level competitions, including the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) finals.

"Under the leadership of Tom Bos, the aquatic center staff has earned the reputation for running meets professionally, efficiently and for making the meet a first-class experience for participants and spectators," said Folkert.

Known for its hospitality, the Holland community is recognized nationally as one of America's "Distinctive Destinations." There are approximately 1,350 hotel rooms within a ten-minute drive of the aquatic center. The direct economic impact on the Holland community (hotels, restaurants, retail businesses) from the athletes, coaches, families and fans during the two-week period of the national championships will exceed $900,000, according to Sally Laukitis, executive director of the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The tournament headquarters during the championships will be the college's Haworth Inn and Conference Center.