PHARR — Five months have passed since the City of Pharr and UTRGV Natatorium first opened. The facility has hosted several events since then, including the inaugural Tri-Pharr Warrior Race and the 2022 District 31-6A swimming and diving championships.

Bigger things are on the horizon for the swimming facility, with the City of Pharr and UTRGV officially announced as co-hosts for the 2023 Western Athletic Conference swimming & diving championships during a news conference Monday.

“We’re excited to be able to give our community an immediate opportunity to experience high-caliber Division I swimming and diving as we build toward the launch of our own program in 2024,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. “The City of Pharr is a great partner for hosting this event, and I want to thank Mayor (Ambrosio) Hernandez for his visionary leadership that led to the construction of this aquatic center. The City of Pharr Natatorium is one of the top swimming & diving facilities, not just in Texas, but in the country, which will allow us to both grow the sport in the Valley and continue to attract top competitions such as the WAC Championships.”

The WAC swimming and diving championships are slated for Feb. 22-25, 2023. It will feature 12 of the conference’s 13 teams, with UTRGV’s program not slated to debut until the 2024-25 season.

The 2023 championships marks just the second time since 2015 the event has been held outside of Houston, with the CRWC Natatorium playing host from 2016-2020 and again in 2022. The 2021 WAC Championships were held at the Buchanan Natatorium in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“Our state-of-the-art facility was specifically designed to be able to host such a prestigious competition, and we are thrilled to become the first city to host this caliber of an event in the Rio Grande Valley,” Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said. “Hosting this championship will not only bring national attention to South Texas in the exciting world of college sports but will also have a positive economic impact benefiting the entire region with attendees eating, sleeping and shopping here. We look forward to welcoming the WAC to our community.”

The WAC swimming and diving championships are the eighth conference championship-level event hosted by the Vaqueros, who most recently hosted the WAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the UTRGV Soccer and Track and Field Complex in 2021. UTRGV will also host the WAC volleyball tournament his fall.