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The views expressed in this section of swiminfo are those of the individuals who have submitted letters to us. These opinions do not necessairly represent the view of swiminfo or Sports Publications. Swimming World reserves the right to edit mail for space limitations.
A Voice For the Sport
Dear Mr. Whitten,
Hello, Newsletter Editor/Publisher (incl Swimming World/Premium News etc.):
You are indeed the world's leading independent resource for swimming, guys!! Just a word of thanks as your latest reaches us al (in various parts of the USA) - it is so READABLE!! and enjoyable, and thorough, and interesting, and full of fascinating updates/info - and beaut pix and ads too.
Hope everyone there is thriving - you have done wonders creating this new entity and approach. I feel incredibly fortunate to be on the receiving end of this - definitely "world's best" - mag and newsletter.
Keep well - no doubt you're busy as heck! Congratulations to all -
Helen Bayly and family/families.
Men's 4x200 Relay/Athens
Dear SWIM INFO:
I watched with tremendous pride (and MANY goose bumps) as the drama of the USA men's 4x200 free relay played out against the favored Aussies. As team captain and member of the "Grossbusters" relay which captured gold in Los Angeles 20 years ago, I was absolutely amazed at the uncanny similarities between the two races. Was history actually repeating itself? Were classic Coaches Eddie Reese and Mark Schubert pulling out the same strategy from the same page of their 1984 playbook? The display of emotions emitted from the Fab Four -- Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay, and Klete Keller -- really said it all!!!
CONGRATULATIONS to all returning Athens Athletes. Our 2004 Swim Team is to be commended, in particular, for their ever-present international sportsmanship, mind-boggling accomplishments, and awe-inspiring team spirit. Thank you for epitomizing the strength, joy, and hope of the Olympic Movement.
I just wanted to let you know how impressed I was at the article written by Tito Morales, "Stroking Toward Better Health" in this month's SWIM magazine. I have received numerous emails and phone calls from people I don't even know (many who work for my company around the country) that loved the article.
Tito is a very talented, passionate writer and a great listener (I spent over 12 hours with the writer from PEOPLE magazine because she couldn't get the facts straight)! Just one discussion with Tito produced a superb and accurate article.Regards,
Three cheers for Natalie Coughlin.
And three for her former Cal compatriot Anthony Ervin.
Both of these swimmers could have taken the money and run.
Neither did and that's laudable.
Maybe integrity really does count for something these days.
We certainly hope so.
After winning three golds at the Fukuoka World Championships two summers ago (50-100 frees, 400 sprint relay) Ervin was the world's top sprinter. He had two more years of eligibility left at Cal but nobody would have batted an eyelash had he opted to turn pro and take the zillion-dollar offers that were being tossed his way.
He didn't. He returned to Cal and (gasp!) actually lost an NCAA race the following spring to Arizona's Roland Schoeman (50 free).
Hey, even the Yankees lose now and again.
Ervin completed his collegiate eligibility last season and presumably is training now under the watchful eye of Dave Bottom to try and retain his Olympic 50 free title next summer at Athens and maybe (who knows) win the 100 too.
He stayed loyal to his alma mater, lived up to his commitment, did the right thing and that's a rare happening indeed.
Coughlin has done likewise.
After her record-breaking freshman and sophomore, where she established American/NCAA records in every event she swam, the sportswear companies and the agents were after her like s--t on a stick. She could have written multi-million dollar deals twice over and no one would have blamed her. In fact most would have stood up and applauded.
Michael Phelps did it before he was 18. So did Megan Quann and Quann couldn't carry Coughlin's Speedo if her life depended on it!
Coughlin could also have written her ticket out of high school to any school in the country. Stanford was the odds-on favorite to secure her services and had she gone there she would have gotten a superb education and probably won four-straight NCAA team titles.
She opted for Cal instead and she's going to end up with a dozen individual NCAA Championships, a bookful of records and that's it.
Cal won't win NCAAs next year even if the Fat lady starts singing and Coughlin will go ringless.
She could care less.
Oh a team title would have been nice but that wasn't why she went to Berkeley in the first place. She liked the school, the coach, the program and the opportunity it would afford her both now and later in life.,
Nothing wrong with that.
And Coughlin could have gone pro this summer before the start of the World Championships when she was the queen (and still is) of U.S. Swimming. Sports Illustrated ran a major feature on her the week the Worlds began.
She retained her collegiate eligibility nonetheless.
Maybe money isn't everything.
Maybe pride and self-esteem are enough of a material reward.
It'd be nice if that were the case.
I'm writing this email to support Claudia Poll. I believe that she should be re-test. Given the fact that 11 times of the 12 months, she was clean and not counting the past years!!! It may not say much, but have you ever think that "why would she done now?" after all the successes she had accomplished.
Claudia Poll is a genuinely nice person and a great roll model to many. She works hard in 60 degrees water. Poll who race tough with a big smile all the time. Maybe you should watch the tape of 2000 Olympic' 400free, at the finish and at the podium and tell me if that is a person whos likely to use drug to help accomplish goals? After all the hours and hours of hard work she went through, which most people will never feel and understand,....she was overwhelm to be on that podium eventhough the color was not gold.
I don't know; maybe I'm being bias? I have been follow her carrear for a long time. If no one else, I do believe her, I do support her with her rights, and I do believe that she should be given a change to retested. After all everyone do makes mistake and this time it might not be her but she is the one whoes suffer the conequnce.
Thanks for the ear!
In one International meet, a turn judge official tried to DQ Ute Getwinger (Spelling ?) in the breaststroke for a dolphin kick off the turn. This was protested by the East Germans. A committee meeting overruled the official after hearing the input from the official. This meet was at the Indianapolis pool.
In my previous experience officiating at this pool, I observed the wave action off the turns that made the legs look like they were doing a dolphin kick. During the break, I got in the water and John Naber and another official was on top looking at my kick off the turns. They concluded that I was dolphin kicking, while I was not. As a former scientist, water can refract light in peculiar ways. The wave action in some pools can make the glide portion of the breaststroke kick look like a dolphin action off turns and in some cases in the middle of the pool.
So why not go a step further than Carlile's suggesting and allow the breaststrokers use the dolphin kick in the event. I train my beginning swimmers using the dolphin kick on the breaststroke to get the feel of the undulating action. Once they understand the undulation, I then teach them to change their foot action to the breaststroke kick. I understand other coaches are training beginning breaststrokers in this way.
To Whom This May Concern:
I just want to say that I LOVE your website. Being a huge swimming fan myself, I can find updates of championships and records, buy swimwear, apparel, books, videos, equipment, magazines, and even tips for stroke techniques and camp information. Everyday I find something new and interesting to read or do research on. Thank you very much for all the work that was put into developing this great website for us swim fans. It's much appreciated!
I am writing in regards to your recent web article about Missouri High School Swimming rules. Thank you for getting the issue to your readers. I am a USA Swimming Coach currently working in Missouri and of course under the ridiculous rules that currently govern high school swimming. Let me share that Mrs. Waller is not alone in her frustration with the MSHSAA. I have recently made plans to return to Florida to finish my college education. I leave with regret that this rule has not changed during my stay in SE Missouri. Nothing has caused me more frustration that the high school swimming situation. I have many swimmers in the same boat as Ms. Waller's daughter. One example on our team is our top swimmer. His best 500 Free time was good enough to win this year's Missouri state title but he never got a chance to compete for the title due to the rules. He is not alone and it is a shame that an organization like MSHSAA is crippling young people from achieving excellence in swimming.
I have been an avid reader of your website for some time now and I am aware of how effective you are in spreading the truth about tough issues like the "battle for a clean and drug-free sport". Thank you for giving some time to an issue that is hurting young people in this part of the country. Any coverage is greatly appreciated and hopefully the future will have this situation changed for the betterment of young people all over the state.
Keep up the great work!
Thanks again for the article,
A little background: I started playing and coaching water po- lo at the Minneapolis YMCA in 1958, continuing until 1962, when I moved to Des Moines. There I initiated another Y polo program. Bob, a young Des Moines attorney, was one of my first 'recruits.' He had graduated from Drake U. and Law School and was badly in need of some physical exercise to go with his mental abilities. His IQ was about 160.
He was 6-3 and about 185 lbs. and a good swimmer, and in a short period of time he was devoting an hour daily to practicing both his swimming and his water polo. As a Des Moines native, he helped me recruit others to the sport and publicize it. In fact, it was Bob who rounded up most of the teenage girls for our first Y girls team in 1963.
Bob became a very good defensive player - a hole guard, as we called 'em in those days - who successfully guarded St. Louis' Hoot Newman and other well-known scorers. With his speed, he was also capable of sprinting downpool and scoring a couple of goals per game himself in AAU and YMCA competition. Thus he was twice selected as a YMCA All-American.
In 1964, Bob and I attended the AAU Convention in Houston where we both became involved with the AAU and, ultimately, the USOC. He became chair of the AAU national men's Water Polo Committee and I became chair of the AAU national women's committee. He became prez and I sec'ry of the Olympic Water Polo Committee for the Games in Munich, where he served as a team manager. He directed and conducted the first-ever Junior Olympic Water Polo Championships in Des Moines in 1969.
Along the way, I left from Des Moines, and Bob took over as the Y water polo coach. He coached his men's team to a Y national title in 1968 and his boys' team to a Y national title in 1970. His Y teams traveled from California to Canada and from Jamaica (yes, in the Caribbean) to Houston to play, and he brought his Y boys and girls to play here in Asheville each spring in our "invitational tournament," which also featured Paul Barren's perennially powerful boys team from Lower Moreland (PA). In the very best of these tourneys, Paul's boys beat Bob's 6-to-5 while our Asheville girls beat Bob's 9-to-3 for the titles in the 2-day tournament. I believe that was in 1973. Wow! Thirty years ago this week !!!!
Thereafter Bob became heavily involved with the USOC and FINA, and you know the rest of the story.
Bob was inducted into the U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame in '84, a fitting recognition for his many years of service to the sport. I think he was also inducted into the Iowa Swimming/Water Polo Hall of Fame a few years ago.
After I moved into the sport of whitewater racing in about '78, I seldom saw Bob, maybe once or twice during the '80s and once in the early '90s when our paths crossed at O'Hare Airport in Chicago one fine day. Since then we've exchanged a few Christmas cards.
I will always remember Bob as being a very outstanding gentleman in many, Many respects, and I mourn his passing.
Some details can be found at www.desmoinesregister.com, in the obituary section. I still have a good photo of Bob guarding me in the '60s and a great newspaper photo of him guarding another player.
Life is short.
I love your website.
The spirit behind those facts is more elusive but will endure beyond them.
Her boundless energy was often hidden behind the seeming ease with which she made you feel that each Adirondack meet she ran was important especially for you. And therefore your best came out in you, to everyone's delight.
The exotic tales of her kayaking and her wilderness trips are matched profoundly by the quiet revelations of those she counselled with such patience over the years..
It is less known that she co-founded one of the smallest yet most successful masters teams, the RPI Masters which, in only its second year, placed second in the New York State Championships and third at Zones, had two world record breakers in its third year, a few national top ten individuals and relay teams, plus at least one medal winner at the world masters in Montreal. More important however, than all the kudos were the brief breakfast gatherings which became a tradition after early morning workouts and where good friendships were sealed over time.
That small shortlived club, in some ways a metaphor for her life, was only one of Betsy's many unsung achievements.
She herself never broke a world record and,so far, we cannot quantify goodwill or inspiration or true teamwork.
That most difficult event, her love, the 200meter butterfly, never intimidated her and I can see her blonde head still, moving through the water with intensity and grace.
And like that of the beautiful creature after which the stroke is named, Betsy's intense, selfless and shortened life illumined many of ours and left us with a memory of her that is beautifully enduring.
Patrick Quinn ( ADMS)
"We need to inculcate the same attitude: There's no such thing as an ex-swimmer."
I would like to see more overlap between USMS and USA Swimming. I would liketo see USA Swimming bring their powerful organization, professional leaders, and money to a combined USA Swimming / USMS event.
I continue to think there would be a niche where something like this could get an hour on TV, and people would enjoy seeing famous names from the past. I think the market could tolerate this once every four years.
For what it's worth,
My sister got married this weekend and I was away from the scene for a little bit, but it was so easy and enjoyable to catch up through the Web site. Again, what tremendous work.
No, it was Jim Montgomery. Jim went 49.99 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Two or 3 weeks later, Jonty did 49.44 at the US Nationals in Philadelphia. Since he was a South African, Jonty was not allowed to compete at the Olympics.
Obviously, the outcome of this Sullivan Award validates why people question the results of any competition that is judged by humans. What a crock!
I enjoyed the Saddam swimming article: Saddam Urges Iraqis to Swim. What's Up With That? -- March 7, 2003
Thanks for utilizing the word: "ubiquitous" It helped me learn its meaning. Such a word would probably only be used in the NY Times.
Thanks for the good articles!
Saw the article on how many hits a day you get - well done and well deserved. I
always rely on this website to get all the latest swimming news, whether it's
age group, college, national or international swimming. thanks for always
keeping me up to date!
Just a small comment on Bill Bells article 'Just How Good Is Natalie? -- February 5, 2003 It's great article about a great athlete
The reference to Michael Gross is incorrect - MG wasn't the world record holder in 100 fly coming into the '84 OG's - he only broke it in the final, when he went a 53.08
If your interested She was wearing a Swim Suit, gogles and a cap.
Thank you for reinstating the Dartmouth Swim/Dive program. After reading the press release and the article http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/releases/2003/jan/010803a.html my confidence in the administration regarding this matter has been restored. The administration's decision to reinstate the swim/dive program demonstrates a willingness to listen and consider the valuable input from alumni, students, parents, and those passionate about swimming and sports role in a well-rounded quality educational institution. I still regret the administration's initial process of communication and reluctance to seek more creative ways to avoid drastic decisions such as to eliminate swim/dive programs. However, I am hopeful the administration has learned from the initiative taken by the SSADAD and it's supporters; and will be open-minded and seek input earlier in their decision process should they face such overwhelming choices in the future. May the lessons learned enhance perspective on balancing financial concerns and the intangible value of programs treasured at the college. It seems that there are angels.
I was reading the article on Tom Dolan and noticed what I believe to be an inaccuracy. The statement that he is the only swimmer to accomplish a feat of two World Championship and two Olympic 400 IM victories is, I think, not correct. I believe that Thomas Darnyi of Hungary won BOTH the 200 and 400 IM's in two Olympics (1988, 1992) AND two World Championships (1986, 2001), a feat even more remarkable than Dolan's amazing statistics. I'd be interested to see if I am correct.
You're ALMOST correct. Darnyi indeed won both IMs in 88 and 92 and, I believe at the 86 World Champs. Massi Rosolino won the 200 IM in 2001 and Alession Boggiatto won the 400 IM that year.
Coach Bud Taylor of Mt. Hood Swim Team feels that the national organizations for Water Polo and Gymnastics are much more organized on this important vote than swimming is. I think swiminfo.com is a stronger advocate of swimming at the univesity level than USA Swimming is. Thanks again for your great support.
Robbert van Andel
You are doing a fantastic job of marketing swimming as a potential sport at Oregon. Keep it up!
FYI: Who was the Athletic Director at the University of Oregon from 1982-1992 0r 1993? The answer is Bill Byrne, the current AD at the University of Nebraska.
Question: Did Oregon USE to have a men's or women's swim program? Did Bill Byrne "cut" a swimming program while he was AD at Oregon, just as he did at Nebraska?
It is my understanding that he did indeed cut swimming, but I have no idea if this is a rumor or fact. Thought you might be interested....if so, you can find out if it is factual.
Your site continues to be the best source of breaking swim news for our community!!! I have a vested interest in one of your leads today re. American trained Central A Games winners...I had to learn elementary Spanish to pull up El Salvador's Games site to get the winner of the men's 100 meter breast...Fransisco Suriano won the event in 1:04.5 and was honored as the first host country athlete gold medalist at the Games. El Salvador's President presented the medals and it was a proud moment for all..."Paco", as he is known to friends, graduated form U of Michigan where he swam with Jon Urbanchek...he resumed training last year with Curl Burke to prepare for the Games...he was able to overcome a back injury and sickness which limited his training for the last month leading into the Games...cheers!!! Keep up the good coverage!!! All the best!
To: Dartmouth College Administration
Dear Ms. Harper, Dean Larimore and President Wright:
Yesterday Dartmouth College dealt a devastating blow to 53 student-athletes, young men and women who came to Hanover in good faith and with high expectations to swim for their school. Now, you are telling these young people - many of whom you actively recruited - that the combination of the economic downturn and their inability "to stay competitive in swimming" means that their sport and their competitive careers are being sacrificed to protect, among other things, "recreational opportunities" and "club sports."
As parents of a sophomore on the women's team, we are distraught. We believe that you have broken an implied promise to our daughter and to us, and that you are now significantly and unilaterally altering our daughter's college experience in a negative way. Bait and switch can't be the Dartmouth way.
Your announcement to eliminate the Dartmouth men's and women's swimming and diving teams has already inflicted tremendous pain on the athletes, their families and coaches. We encourage you to reconsider your position and immediately reinstate swimming and diving as a varsity sport at Dartmouth College. By doing so, you will ease the pain and recapture the integrity you lost in placing the burden of Dartmouth's fiscal challenges on one sport and 53 dedicated athletes.
If the decision to shut down varsity swimming and diving is an economic one, there are other solutions. Please be motivated to find them. And, let team parents know how we can help. We are dedicated to our children's swimming and diving careers, and we will do what we can to preserve this sport for their benefit and for the benefit of those who come after them. And, please don't delay taking the right actions - an important part of our children's lives and futures is on the line. We need and expect you to do the right thing.
Parents' Perspective: What You've Done
* Degraded the college experience of 53 student-athletes. If you don't recognize the tremendous negative effect of this announcement on the swimmers/divers, you don't understand athletes who compete for the love of the sport and the honor of their school.
* Executed a bait and switch. Swimmers/divers made their decisions to attend Dartmouth based on having a team on which to participate. By eliminating the swimming and diving teams, you've switched the game mid-stream, stranding students between two bad decisions - staying and not swimming or finding another school at which to swim.
* Denigrated the performance of Dartmouth swimmers. It is unfair, inaccurate and insensitive to say that Dartmouth swimming has not been able to be competitive.
* Tarnished the Dartmouth brand. Being the only school in the Ivy League without a competitive swimming and diving teams does not reflect well on Dartmouth. And, admitting to having an outdated pool facility in poor repair suggests that Dartmouth is not able to keep up with the more prominent schools with which it chooses to compare itself.
* Discouraged recruiting efforts in all sports. After this decision, which blindsided students and parents, what athlete would willingly come to Dartmouth if he or she had any other choice? Your decision to make one sport bear the brunt of Dartmouth's fiscal challenge is a warning signal for all athletes to steer clear of a school that recruits them and then eliminates their sport without warning or consultation.
* Put our children in a panic. The stress that you have placed on team members is unimaginable. Now, instead of enjoying quality time with their families during Thanksgiving vacation, they will be focused on their next move, agonizing over staying at Dartmouth or leaving. And next term, instead of focusing on swimming/diving and academics, they'll be dealing with the trauma of the teams falling apart while exploring their options regarding where to matriculate in 2003-2004. For the many sophomore swimmers/divers who will be abroad in the spring term, the decision-making process is further condensed - creating more pressure.
The Commitment and Quality of Dartmouth Swimmers/Divers
Although you say that your decision to sacrifice the swimming and diving teams "in no way reflects the commitment and passion of the athletes," you should know that you have cut the legs from under the most grounded and disciplined students on campus. We know this because over the course of our daughter's one and one-half years participation on the women's team, we have come to know many of her teammates well. And, they are an extraordinary group. They deserve far better than the treatment that Dartmouth is giving them.
Incidentally, your remark about the teams' inability "to stay competitive in swimming" is entirely uncalled for (Q & A, page 4 of 9). Do you have any idea how good Dartmouth's men and women swimmers and divers are? Let there be no doubt about it: Swimming in the Ivy League is extremely competitive - far more competitive, we suggest, than, say, Ivy League football.
On Sunday, both the men and women annihilated the University of Vermont - not a swimming powerhouse, but a Division I school nonetheless - in the first out-of-league contest of the year. The Dartmouth women's team accomplished this by entering swimmers in their "off" or weaker events, and swimming "exhibitions" in the later events to avoid further running up the score in Dartmouth's favor. The women lost to Cornell the prior week by only a few points and likely would have won if top divers had not been injured. Last year, the Dartmouth women also defeated Vermont and claimed victories against the University of New Hampshire and Middlebury. They lost by only a few points to Army.
A Team on the Rise
This year, the women's team is significantly strengthened by a crop of outstanding freshman, several of whom scored big points against Harvard, a perennial Ivy League powerhouse, in the first dual meet of the year. And, there was extraordinary talent in the Class of '07 prospects, many of whom were so enthusiastic about Dartmouth (largely because of the recruiting efforts of the Coach Brislin and team members) that they applied early decision - to the benefit of the college. I can't imagine the outrage of these prospects and their parents at being duped by Dartmouth into foregoing their children's one chance at early decision acceptance.
Would these prospects have made Dartmouth a winner in women's Ivy League swimming and diving competition? Perhaps. It is still unlikely that Dartmouth would have been able to seriously challenge the "big dogs" in the Ivy League, with their larger enrollments and, dare we say it, additional accommodations to athletes. But, due to years of hard work and recruiting, the Dartmouth women were poised to surprise the opposition and begin moving up in the Ivy League rankings.
But is that really the point - to look good in the Ivy League? The fact is that swimming and diving at Dartmouth is different. Dartmouth provides an alternative that enables swimmers and divers to train and compete at very high levels without making the sport all consuming. At Dartmouth, swimmers/divers could combine athletics and scholarship to the benefit of both. While some of the members of the Dartmouth's women's team could have competed at Ivy League schools with more aggressive swimming/diving programs, they choose to attend Dartmouth because of the unique qualities of the swimming/diving team. By eliminating the Dartmouth team, you are eliminating an important option for swimmers/divers who want a more rounded Ivy League experience. We were under the impression that you understood the difference of swimming and diving at Dartmouth and supported the teams because they represent the purest form of collegiate athletics - even if they post more losses than wins in Ivy League competition.
There Are No Good Solutions for Dartmouth Swimmers/Divers
What do you say to my daughter - National Merit Scholar, Presidential Scholar and class valedictorian - who had her choice of top colleges, but choose Dartmouth because of the swim team? What do you say to us, her parents, who ignored her full scholarship opportunities and accepted the responsibility to fully fund her college education because we supported her love of swimming and the special atmosphere that the Dartmouth Swimming and diving team offered? (We are not, by the way, wealthy people and with two other children to educate, turning down full scholarships has a large impact on our family finances.) Perhaps we were misguided in encouraging her to follow her heart to Dartmouth, but what she saw on the swimming and diving team was so special that we knew that Dartmouth was the place she was meant to be.
She intended to swim and compete for Dartmouth for four full years. Now, you're taking that opportunity away her and diminishing her college experience no matter what happens. Stay and not swim? Leave Dartmouth and start all over? And, where? There are no good solutions for my sophomore daughter.
Is it really fair or sensitive to say to students that you've admitted, "If you want to swim, we'll help you transfer?" It makes us wonder if you understand college students, and especially athletes, at all. It makes us wonder if you are truly stewards of the Dartmouth legacy.
Swimming is a Way of Life
Please don't patronize us by telling our children or us that the thing to do is for former swimmers and divers to become involved in the Dartmouth community in other ways. Swimmers are swimmers, period. If the other 52 male and female swimmers are like our daughter - and we believe they are - these young people have made swimming a priority in their lives for 10 to 14 years- spending two to three hours per day training, six days a week, eleven months a year. Few other sports demand the discipline and commitment of swimming. If an athlete has stayed in swimming through his/her college years, by definition, you are dealing with an extraordinarily accomplished young person. Yet, because of the years of intense training, swimmers are not generally multi-sport athletes. And, yes, they possibly sacrificed being in the school play or participating on the debate team because they couldn't excel in their schoolwork, in the pool and in another time-consuming activity. Their athletic skills are not likely to be transportable. And competitive swimming - not club-level swimming or recreational swimming - is in their blood.
You Have an Opportunity to Correct Your Mistake
Your decision to eliminate the men's and women's swimming and diving teams is a horrendous mistake that will be a stain on your reputation in the athletic and academic world for years to come. (And, your complaints about the condition of the pool and your inability to repair it appear to us to be a red herring.) It unjust, inequitable and casts doubt on Dartmouth as a place of principle and integrity. Students are obligated to keep their commitments, but the college can change its based on short-term fluctuations in its investments.
While tremendous damage was done to our children and others yet to attend Dartmouth by your ill-advised press release, there is a small window for you to reverse the decision and minimize the damage. That is, putting your support behind the women's and men's swim teams and continue.
We implore you to reexamine your options and create solutions that allow our children to continue swimming and diving at Dartmouth. And, this time, involve the swimming/diving parents. We are a resourceful group and accustomed to accepting big challenges to enable our children to swim/dive. This matter is extremely important to the 53 displaced swimmers and divers, their parents, the coaches and to the Dartmouth community. Please do not let us down.
To whom it may concern:
My world just ended today. Dartmouth Athletic Department decided to cut their swimming and diving programs. I am sure you know all the facts and "reasons" that "justify" this cut, so I'd like to share my story because I am a person, not a dollar amount. We are all willing to talk and are not giving up without a fight, if there is anything you can do, we would appreciate it.
I started swimming when I was eight and have been training ever since. It was my dream, my ultimate desire to go to Dartmouth. I thought it was the perfect fit. It was outdoorsy, a great education, not in a city, the perfect size and exactly what I wanted with sports: enthusiastic team but not the intensity of some of the other more competitive Ivy's. I decided to come to Dartmouth 50% for swimming and 50% for it's reputation. I have been swimming on this team for only 10weeks, yet it has become my life, my family, my love. I swam in high school and for a club team, but I never felt the passion, the drive, or the loyalty that I found when I competed for Dartmouth. I am a freshmen swimmer, in love with my sport and my team. It offers me the best things in life and at Dartmouth... a sense on belonging, a work ethic, motivation, setting and achieving goals.... After every meet we discuss how we did and everyone that talks ends with, "And I'm happy to be here team." It was the best thing that I have ever done. However, today just ended all of that. Here is a email I sent the President of Dartmouth:
"As a member of the 06 class I feel let down, cheated and absolutely disregarded as a student, as an athlete and as a human. You clearly view me as disposable and this greatly upsets me. Having sat in a 2hour meeting and watch both my athletic director and the president of my college skirt issues and evade questions, I am both disgusted and upset. If the swimming had won Ivy championships last year - would the college even consider cutting our funding? Absolutely not. If you were true to both the idea of being an IVY LEAGUE institution as well as our own athletic department mission, then there is no valid excuse for choosing the swim team. Swimmers have much better grades and I find are much better citizens at the school than some other athletes. This sends a completely anti-academic message. Why cut the teams that live up to the ethos of the "student-athlete"? You are using us as the sacrificial lamb just when we were starting to have some real potential to improve. My class is EXTREMELY talented and our recruits were even better. I was so excited to be apart of a team that was building, but now I am not apart of a team at all.
If we were a priority, Dartmouth would find away to keep the swim program running.
MAKE US A PRIORITY.
My dream was to be a Dartmouth student-athlete, you have robbed me of half of my identity. The message you are sending to other student athletes, alumni, and all the other colleges that Dartmouth is second rate, doesn't care about their students, and will not stand behind their athletics all in a day's work - I hope you are pleased. "
While all of today was filled with tears and talks, the reality of the situation was hitting home. Here I am, a freshmen left with no team to swim on for the next four years. What should I do? I have been given many promtings by the administration to transfer. I don't want to transfer, I came to Dartmouth because I loved it. Yet, I have been swimming since I was 8yrs old, so I am left with a choice: Do I stay here and wonder what my swimming career could have been or do I leave and wonder what my Dartmouth career could have been? That is why I cry, because I am watching my best friends and teammates attempt to stay when in reality, the best move for their careers is to leave. We shouldn't have to be faced with a situation like this.
So please, I guess this is just a late night email, a desparate cry for help from a freshmen who feels like the world just robbed her of something she not only deserved but lived for.
"We are 53 men and women with a lifelong passion for our sport, not 212,000 expendable dollars." - Maureen H. Ellinwood (03/Co-captian)
"Dartmouth has been my dream since I was 5years old... unfortunatly today turned it into a nightmare." - Liz Allen (06 sprinter)
"This devaluation of the swimming and diving team is an indication of the administration's respect, or lack thereof, for our community as a whole." -Alexandra Rogers ('05, non-athlete)
Finally, what I was forced to send out this afternoon:
As a former member of the women's swimming and diving team I feel let down, cheated and absolutely disregarded as a student, as an athlete and as a human. You clearly view me as disposable and this greatly upsets me. In lue of this, I would like to put in a request for a transfer form. Thank you. Liz Allen 06
Dear Phillip Whitten and Swiminfo.com,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Varsity Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Teams at Dartmouth College. If you have not already heard, the college administration decided without warning Monday morning to cut all funding for our programs.
The 53 members of both teams, along with our coaching staff, were not made aware that these cuts had been proposed until Monday morning just after 8:00, when we each received an email notifying us of a meeting to be held that same morning at 9:00. The teams feel that this was stategically planned to minimize opposition to the cuts. At the meeting, the present swimmers, divers, and coaches were informed that the teams would cease to exist following the current season, and short of a monetary miracle, there was very little any member of the swimming or Dartmouth community could do. Specifically, we feel that the cuts go against Dartmouth College policy to consult student body opinion before cutting any athletic program. In addition, in the online press release, the college cited as a motivating reason for the cuts the fact that "it would take an inordinate effort to make them [the teams] competitive". However, several teams with larger budgets than Swimming and Diving also have losing records, and the college has always maintained that rankings should not be the motivating factor driving college athletics.
Obviously, the 53 members of both teams are outraged and upset. While we are supported by many members of the Dartmouth community and have already begun to mobilize in defense of our program, we are turning to you for your expertise in helping to fend off these cuts. All we would like to do is get our team back so that we can compete and train in the sport that we have loved for so long.
For more information, you can view the press release that is linked to the Dartmouth College homepage, at www.dartmouth.edu. We greatly anticipate a chance to further explain our situation to you, and hope that you will be able to assist us in this matter. Given the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays, the best way to get in touch with the team is to reply to me at this email adddress or contact our men's and women's team captains, at the following addresses:
email@example.com (Paul Schned)
Thank you very much for your time.
PS. I have tried getting in contact with Judge Mike Jones and his Legal Defense team at firstname.lastname@example.org, but the email was returned to me bc this email address does not appear to be valid. Is there any alternative way of contacting him? Thanks.
Dear Swimming World,
I am a freshman women's swimmer at Dartmouth College. As with the rest of my teammates, I was shocked at the decision of the College to eliminate our men's and women's swimming and diving program completely and without warning as of the end of this competitivive season. I awoke yesterday before a 10:00 AM class to find one email from an administrator asking me to attend a meeting that had taken place at 9 that morning. I later found out that this was when the swimmers were first notified of the College's decision. The email was sent to me at 8:08 that same morning. I had no further warning. At 10:00, just two hours after my coaches had been notified, the College went public with their decision.
I have been here for just ten weeks and already I have absolutely fallen in love with this team and the community that fosters it. I will do everything in my power to make sure that my team will stay together, continuing our long-standing tradition of excellence. We may not have the best record in the Ivy League. This, however, does not comprimise our commitment and dedication to a sport, a life, we love.
Our administrators see us as $212,000 a year, not people. Rather than reducing each athletic team's budget by less than 2%, they have chosen to cut us out entirely. On campus we have seen a magnificant outcry, exemplified last night when hundreds of students marched through campus, rallying on the lawns of our President and Dean. Dartmouth students have seen the effects of the administration's decision. Now we need the rest of the world, especially the swimming community, to view the injustice that has gone on here.
I strongly urge you to make this decision known to the world. We need to publicize the ridiculousness of the situation and develop a strong support system. If you are willing to help us make this known, I, along with the rest of the team, will provide you with any necessary information or contacts.
Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I will be returning home for the Thanksgiving holiday tonight and will remain there until Sunday. My home phone number is (717)272-9584.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of this subject.
Claudia Poll Case
If you've been following the Claudia Poll case though, there's alot more to this than just a positive test--there were a number of protocols that were not followed by the person doing the testing.
Second, in 55 prior drug tests over the course of nine years, including 11 in 2001-2002, she's never once tested positive for anything. She also willingly subjected herself to further blood and urine testing. She's never hid herself from testers, given false information about her location to evade testers, and has always been more than cooperative. In fact, in this particular instance, she was in the middle of training, in a particularly hard workout when the tester came by. Her coach requested that the tester wait until the workout was finished so she would be able to give a sufficient sample, and the tester insisted that he needed the sample immediately because he had to return to his country (Guatemala). Claudia willingly hopped out of the pool in the middle of a set and gave the sample requested, and the tester didn't even leave Costa Rica until the following day. Furthermore, after he returned to Guatemala, he held onto the sample for six days before it was sent for testing. There were a number of other inconsistencies, for instance, the red security rings were missing from the testing bottles, Claudia asked him to note this on the report, and he didn't. Testers have to provide two sets of kits for use, and one of the sets of bottles could not be opened for use, so she had to use the other kit by default. In addition, he did not provide a letter that stated he was authorized by FINA for this test.
Two days earlier (Feb 23) the same tester came by to collect a sample, Claudia was in the middle of timekeeping duty for a meet at her pool, the tester waited until her duties were done. He showed up with bottles that were labeled FIFA (World Soccer Governing Body). He did, however, this time provide an authorization letter from FINA.
Why would he be insistent that he needed the sample immediately when he wasn't leaving the country for another day, and furthermore why would he hold onto it for six days before sending it for analysis?
Why would we have reason to believe Claudia has used steroids? First of all, she's a very proud Costa Rican, and has the eyes of an entire nation upon her anytime she swims anywhere. She is their pride and joy, and the subject of poems, songs, and postage stamps. She knows that if she were ever to be caught using steroids, besides her moral issues with it, that she'd shame her people and her country, which to her would be a fate far worse than a four year suspension, I can tell you.
Also, she's willingly submitted herself to further urine and even blood testing, all of which has come out negative. Does that sound like the actions of a cheater to you?
Her trajectory and time progression do not suggest that of a steroid user. If you look at her times, they've been fairly consistent between 1:57-1:59, and 4:06-4:09 throughout the whole of her career, not like Michelle Smith, who dropped 23 seconds from her 400 freestyle time to win gold in 1996, or like the girls from China, who don't have appearances in the top 150 before breaking into the top 10 months later. Claudia first became world-ranked in 1989 as a 15 year old when she broke seven meet records at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships.
Nandrolone is rather archaic in the world of steroids. It's an anabolic agent that takes up to a month to clear from the system. In today's world of DHT and HPO and other early clearance drugs, and FINA's new out of competition surprise testing program, why if she were using something would she use something so easily detectable?
Another thing, nandrolone, the substance she tested positive for, is something that is naturally produced by the body. Nandrolone levels are spiked when, a. one is menstruating, and b. during periods of heavy exercise. According to the FINA report, both conditions were applicable at the time of testing. Given that, and the fact that Claudia is naturally physically larger and has larger features than most women (she is 6'3), could her endogenic level of nandrolone be higher than the given limit? I would think that endogenic levels will depend from person to person, so I propose that another test be done under two conditions; 1. while menstruating during heavy training, and 2. while not menstruating and close to her resting heart rate, to determine the variance in these levels in these conditions.
FINA handed down their verdict, but Claudia now has to take her case to the CAS for an appeal. From what I understand, one of the FINA reps who heard her case is also on the appeals board at CAS. That's not exactly giving the athlete the right to a fair trial.
I personally am inclined to believe Claudia, that she didn't knowingly or willingly take any steroids. She's been very vocal about this and says she will fight this case until the very end. Furthermore, she does not intend to retire, and if the CAS upholds the ban, she plans to continue training for a return to competitive swimming in 2006, where she resolves to be faster and better than ever. She loves the sport and wants to leave it on her own terms when she's ready.
Having gotten to know Claudia personally, she's a very focused individual with a true passion for the sport, she trains very hard and she and Silvia both are extremely proud of where they come from and what they have been able to achieve in swimming with the limited, dated facilities available in Costa Rica. I have no reason to believe that she's lying as she'd have absolutely nothing to gain by doing so.
I've come to one of four conclusions regarding this matter:
FINA World Championship Scoring
I've been subscribing to your magazine for ten years now, and I really love it! While I am very proud of the Australian Swim Team, I'm also very fond of the US Swim Team, as I spent quite a lot of time in the U.S. and have many close friends there. I have a question. Apparently there is a points score kept, separate from the medal table, at swim meets like the Olympics etc. How does it work, and how do the points get allocated?
Keep up the good work!
FINA used a points system at last year's World Championships in Fukuoka for the first time. Points were awarded for first through eighth place.
I don't know, offhand, what the point value of each place was, though you probably could find it on the FINA web site (www.fina.org).
I think the concept is a good one and, coincidentally, had editorialized advocating such a system (with team medals awarded for first, second and third at the Olympics and World Champs) shortly before the new system was used.
However, as you probably know, the scoring system became controversial when it was announced that the US had won the team score at Fukuoka. Many objected because, intuitively (as well as by gold medal count), Australia was the superior team. The US won because its depth allowed it to rack up points for non-winning performances.
So perhaps the idea is good, but the points awarded needs tweaking, with greater weight placed on the first three finishers in each event.
Reply to story on Australia vs United States Duel meet scheduled for 2003 - Full Story
What a great idea! I'm looking forward to it already! One thing though. If the United States doesn't send a better squad that last year's Goodwill Games, it won't be much of a meet. You can rest assured that the Aussies will send a strong team to this meet. They always do!
I read your article this morning about Thursday night's Men's NCAA finals and it got my adrenaline flowing. It was an excellent article and it was exciting for those of us who aren't fortunate enough to watch the action in person but the writing made it feel like we were there. I look forward to each of the next two recaps.
I saw where Ervin had an "unofficial" split of 41.00 on their medley. In high school I sat in the stands with my parents in Indy in the mid 80s and watched Biondi split 40.98 on the end of their 400 free relay. He had gone 41.01 on the end of their Medley Relay on the first day of the meet. I'm 99% certain it was his senior year if that helps figure out the year (if I were a betting man I would say 1986).
PS. Those splits are from memory. Somewhere in the basement are the programs with the actual splits. The free relay split was either 40.98 or 40.99 but it was definitely under 41 because I remember the announcer telling everybody when they gave him the Swimmer of the Meet award right afterwards.
I just came across your workouts page and wanted to let you know I think it is great. I try to lap swim on a regular basis, but I have trouble thinking up my own work out. I get bored quickly with just what I think up. I have been looking for a site like this for a while, but yours is the first site I have found that gave me this resourse.
Just wanted to say that Thorpe may think he knows how to swim the 100 free(LCM), but Anthony Ervin is up tp the challenge. Ervin just hates to loose, no matter how fast someone else goes, Ervin has a way of going just a bit faster: eg...leading off relay in Sydney, winning Worlds, etc, tieing Hall at the Olympics, etc,,,, he jus't cant be beat, his mind set is so precises, he always prevails, you will see!
A SwimInfo Reader
To: Phil Whitten
Hi Phil. I have been following swimming since the 50s. I just cant get enough info. I have been reading you editorials and have enjoyed the. Everything you say I have felt for years and years.
I remember the original swimming world. It was a newspaper published by Bob Kiphuth of Yale. What a long way you have come! What a long way swimming has come!
Swimming needs to publicize the sport more to get public interest. It is improved but we need to continue these efforts.
My interst in swimming began in Battle Creek Mich. I swam under Bob Mowerson. Did you know him? He had a big influence on my life.
Keep up the good work in promoting swimming.
As the Gulf Swimming publicity coordinator, it is one of my goals to see that our sport receives as much publicity as possible, in all types of media, as often as possible. As I am sure many of you will agree, swimming does not get the recognition and coverage it should, especially considering the caliber and quality of athletes we are fortunate enough to have here in the Gulf. We are not a quadrennial sport... there are many meets and news items that occur outside of the Olympic games. We are home to many Olympians and world record holders, as well as many up and comers. We make up a significant part of the community, both sporting and otherwise. Our voices need to be, and should be, heard.
I know many of us become frustrated when results we send in do not get printed, or even mentioned. We become disillusioned, and often fail to send in any at all, because "what is the point?"
I also do not want swimming to be seen as a filler-only sport; meaning that swimming results and news are only printed if there is no other sporting news available. We are a sport and as such deserve a proper place in the sports section like any other sport when we have meets and news to report.
Thus, I ask for your help. As we begin this championship season, I ask all of you hosting meets to directly send in the meet results. Only one person should do this per meet so that we do not have 10 people sending in the same thing, overwhelming the local paper or whomever with multiple copies of the same event. If you are e-mailing results, please do not send them as attachments. Include them in the body of the e-mail. I know this is more difficult for you, but it is easier for the newspaper. Of course anyone is always welcome and encouraged to submit news on his own. Let's start making an impression and stir up some publicity. Our swimmers deserve it.
Additionally, any notables that you might have worthy of the Sports Notebook briefs, send those in as well. Signings are good, state and national records are not only good but great, new Olympic trials qualifiers are also great... you get the picture. And let's open this up to the high school swim teams and Masters Swimming as well. We all have the same goals. Let's work together.
My goals may seem lofty, but to those of us in the swimming world who recognize the level of athletes we have, they should not seem lofty at all, rather the bare minimum.
Thank you for your help and input.
In reading Ms. Teh's response to Mr. Whitten's excellent articles addressing the Chinese drug issue, it is obvious that MS. Teh either chooses to ignore the facts surrounding this issue or she is simply uninformed......I suspect the former. Phil Whitten and "Swimming World' have in the past and continue to be the "loudest" voice in the fight to clean up the sport of competitive swimming. All of us who love this sport and hope to some day have a level playing field for our sons and daughters owe Mr. Whitten and your publication a debt of gratitude.
My very personal experience with the Chinese drug problem goes something like this:
My son represented the United States at the 1998 World Championships in Perth, Australia. I attended the Championships with a number of other U.S. parents and was at the airport when a Chinese female swimmer, Yuan Yuan and her coach, were busted with enough human growth hormone to supply the entireChinese team for the duration of the World Championships! She and thecoach were subsequently suspended by FINA for I believe 4 years.
Additionally, a number of other Chinese swimmers, including one male who swam next to my son in a preliminary heat of the 400 IM, were in-competition tested and subsequently suspended by FINA. As I and the rest of the 15,000+ daily spectators watched each event during the week-long competition, it became obvious that the Chinese women had been instructed to "slow down" as their results, with one or two exceptions, were unbelievably slow. I recall one event, I believe it was a heat of the women's 400IM, where the Chinese swimmer was at least 50 meters behind the rest of the field....in many heatsit looked like the Chinese women were doing their warm-down swims! Onecould only conclude, and this was well documented in the Australian press during the Championships, that they Chinese women were told to swim slow to deflect any further suspicion.
Those of us involved in the sport of competitive swimming, either as participants or passively as parents, should be thankful that people such as Phil Whitten and others representing U.S. Swimming, use their positions of influence to address the drug problem that FINA continues to fail to take seriously! I think it would be difficult to find anyone who is knowledgeable about competitive sports to take exception with the fact that performance enhancing drugs are a serious problem that continues to exist in competitive athletics and more specifically, competitive swimming! I hope you will continue your fine work to expose the drug problem that we know exists with the hope that some day FINA and the rest of the swimming community will take meaningful action to ensure that the athletes who do it the right way, through hard work and determination, will be able to compete on a "level playing field".
Phil - Apparently Alison is too young to know ANYTHING about the DDR, the DDR coaches in China, the Chinese swimmers getting slammed just before the Asian Games in the mid-90s with their positive drug tests, the OBVIOUS facts/characteristics (physical) when looking at the times, etc. You need to put up a rebuttal (an intelligent and FACTUAL one) to bring Alison back into the world of reality. Then again, there is a very strong possibility that, her leanings and viewpoint, will never be changed no matter what obvious "evidence" is presented. Too bad for her.
P.S. Seriously Phil, you should do the rebuttal. Her letter screams for a reply.
It truly is amazing. Alison Teh is using the exact same flawed logic the East German supporters used back when their drugged women stole medals from women who swam without the help of drugs. She makes me sick to my stomach, supporting with out any actual facts and with flawed logic her support of the Chinese women swimmers.
Alison talks about the Chinese badminton and table tennis women. Come on, they have 500 million women there, competing in what is essentially their national sport. There is probably 100 times as many women in China than the rest of the entire world that compete in those two sports. And these two sports do not need any steroids to compete. When she says "what I am trying to proof here is that women competition is more open than men" she is actually proving Phil Whitens point. In truth the rest of the world cannot compete with the steroid and HGH laced Chinese women swimmers, just as they could not compete with the East German women.
Actually since it is illegal to possess any drugs in China, without risking a bullet to the head, their state run and sponsored drugged women's sports system has the very best in technology. They used their technology to escape getting caught in 1988 and 1992. Does Alison know that not one Chinese woman swimmer was tested for drugs in the 1988 Olympics, even when they destroyed the records, and when they looked and sounded like MEN and not women. Did she not see the acne on their faces and backs, did not she see their jutting square jaws. And I know she did not hear their deep base voices. By 1999-2000 they were getting caught when ever they left their own country. Why is it they break all the records in their own country Alison, but can not do it when in international competition where they would get caught and would make their country look foolish. Alison, you are a simple fool, you expose yourself with no facts and with false logic. Prove you accusations!
I am a supporter of all swimmers who swim naturally and do not swim doped. And I strongly believe that the Chinese Women Swimmers are doping. The article Alison Teh wrote was just a supporter of Chinese Swimming that in my mind was trying to deny the truth. And all that nonsense that she wrote about how the women in all their sports just completely contradicted any point that she was trying to make. She in my mind just said that all Chinese Women athletes are doping. It is completely obvious that when you have swimmers who were not even ranked in the top 200 in the world before, swimming times that put them in the top-10 for world rankings, that there is mass amounts of doping. And when a club team swims the second fastest 800 free relay time in history, and a few months before the national team could not even make finals at the Worlds. There is an overly high amount of doping going on. And if the Chinese want to stand by there word that they are not using performance enhancing drugs, why don't you let other countries test them. Because if they are not, then they have nothing to hide!
Reply to Mary Mackley's response to the September/ October issue of swim magazines
I feel compelled to write after reading Mary Mackley's response to the September/ October issue of swim magazines article on Maxine Bahns. The article was well written, including the selection of photographs.
Mary's assumption (in her letter to the editor) that she can determine a person's body composition (in i.e. percent body fat) with a simple height and weight measurement is disturbing to me. The conclusions Mary comes to, by referring to these photographs as anorexic, is even more troubling. The current use of the BMI (body mass index scale) by the medical field, his simple to use however, will only give you a very rough estimate of body composition. The reading of 5'9 and 125 pounds is within a healthy weight range in the "less risk category" of the BMI scale. Mary's problem of being fifteen pounds heavier also falls in the "less risk category".
I am a Masters swimmer and a registered physical therapist with 25 years experience. I know of no way to determine someone's percent body fat by using a simple height and weight measurement. I would like Mary and others who are concerned with real problems like anorexia to concentrate on "just the facts". The facts would include a comprehensive physical, including a percent body fat measurement. Mary could then avoid making an erroneous diagnosis of anorexia. As a physical therapist I can assure you that anorexic person could not complete the Ironman Triathlon.
The photographs used in this article were appropriate and should have inspired Mary to support this person's healthy exercise.
I've been in master swimming for the last 20 years enjoy your magazine and your articles, which to inspire me to practice what I preach In Physical Therapy. I can be reached for questions about healthy exercise and nutritional sports issues at www.SeeYourToes.com or E-mail me at JohnClarkRPT@ SeeYourToes.com.
John Clark RPT, 46
Determining Correct Masters Age Group
I turned 44 this week. In Jan 2002 am I able to swim in the 45-49 y age bracket?Or only after my next birthday.
Phillip Whitten replies:
As of January 1, 2002, you will:
I hope that helps.
John Leonard Editorial
I disagree with John's bashing of football and basketball. Those are two sports that support the entire rest of most athletic departments. I swam for Michigan, and there are problems in Ann Arbor with not enough money. One of the problems can be traced to the loss of revinue from Men's Basketball. The team hasn't done well lately and hasn't made as much money. Michigan has also added several sports that were denied when Bo Schembechler was AD. These sports are great, in fact the Michigan women's field hockey team just won the NCAA Championship. However, they didn't collect any money to support their expenses or the expenses of the Men's and Women's Swim Team. It would be hard to tell schools that they can't cut programs. This sounds like more intrusion on athletic departments nationwide. Title IX seems to be unfair. Football makes the most money, has 85 scholarships and no Women's football to even out the total number of scholarships. I think that football should be excluded from the equity rules and then title IX would make more sense.
Why is high school swimming & diving so successful?
A student/athlete receives internal and external rewards, for both bettering their performance and for scoring points for their team. American athletes thrive on team sports. We should support a similar scenario for our international athletes. Head Swimming & Diving Coach Salina High Schools Central & South
Nebraska and Alltel
Phil Whitten's recent article suggests that somehow my comments that the University of Nebraska had not received a large grant from Alltel at the time it cut men's swimming was either "misleading" or somehow cast doubt on my integrity. I would suggest that Swimworld's passion for swimming, which I understand and applaud, has clouded its own judgment. His earlier article claimed we had an $8 million gift from Alltel at the time we cut men's swimming. This was not true and remains not true. We had, indeed, started negotiations with them but the outcome was far from certain and was not finalized until very recently. We did not deny the negotiations; we denied having the gift at the time the swimming decision was made. And, all of this is nonsense anyway because as I said then and will say now, even if we had had the gift at the time, the decision to cut men's swimming would not have changed. The Alltel gift permits us to complete our obligations on a new baseball facility. Cutting men's swimming was a decision of priorities; we could no longer afford, gifts and football income notwithstanding, to support more sports than any other University in the Big XII. I'm sure swimming supporters will never believe our decision was proper. But you do no service to your sport or your cause by making false allegations or insinuations about others. While I believe reasonable people could think our decision was wrong, I also believe given our context that the decision was reasonable.
Phillip Whitten replies:
My original article did not say that Nebraska that the grant was "in hand," only that an agreement between Alltel and the University of Nebraska had been reached. I was aware that all the "i"'s had not yet been dotted nor the "t"'s crossed.
In his interview with me, Chancellor Perlman said he would neither confirm nor deny that such a gift ($8 million from Alltel) existed. He did say that if it existed it would not have changed the decision to cut men's swimming. Of course, the Chancellor's statement was a legalistic, tacit admission of the existence of the gift.
While I disagree vehemently with the Chancellor's decisions in this matter, I respect the fact that he had the courage to speak with me and attempt to explain his point of view. He was never anything but courteous and respectful, qualities to be treasured and nurtured in pubic officials these days.
Athletic Director Bill Byrne, on the other hand, never returned any of my calls but denounced my story to local news reporters as inaccurate, containing half-truths etc., saying there was no gift anything like the $8 million I reported.
Alltel, of course, acknowledged the gift when its spokesman said he was referring all queries about the gift (not whether there was such a gift) to the University.
In all fairness, Chancellor Perlman is new to the job and undoubtedly feels he should support decisions made by his department heads. It's a shame that Mr. Byrne - whose spokesman flatly denied to swiminfo last March that Nebraska was planning to cut men's swimming - is one of those heads.
My comment about integrity refers to both Dr. Perlman and Mr. Byrne attributing to me statements I did not make, then denouncing them as untrue - a cheap rhetorical trick. I don't make a very good Straw man.
I suppose I'm old-fashioned, but I still entertain the quaint notion that college athletes should be student-athletes, with the "student" half of the equation at least equal to the "athlete" half. It is instructive to note that not once did either Dr. Perlman or Mr. Byrne make any reference to the outstanding academic achievements of the men's and women's swim team. I guess those achievements just don't count. Or perhaps, in comparison, they might shine an unfavorable light on the football team.
Finally, I would remind Dr. Perlman, as I did in our conversation, that money is fungible. The addition of $8 million to the athletic budget and used for the baseball stadium freed up 8 million other dollars that could be used anywhere in the department. It also could have bought time for Nebraska alumni to create an endowment for the swim team, as they offered to do. Such an endowment would have allowed the University to continue its 70+ year swim team tradition without costing the University a cent. then it could devote every last penny to recapturing the football glory it had under Bob Devaney.
As the Chancellor intimates, there's no issue of money per se, but rather one of priorities. Apparently it's more important to shower the football team with endless luxuries - despite the fact that football is a money-loser at Nebraska - than to support the "non-revenue" sport of swimming - by far, the most successful sport for the USA in 104 years of Olympic competition. (And, of course, academics be damned.)
Great NCAA Coverage
Great coverage of the NCAA swim meets. You really made it come to life and the passion came shining through. As expected the local paper had zero coverage. If you're one of the people pushing for a later championship date (to avoid the basketball competition) keep it up.
Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the "blow by blow" coverage.
All my best,
College Men's Programs Disappearing
How do we stop the bleeding? I just heard that the University of Kansas dropped its men's swim program after the Big 12 Conference in Austin. What can swim fans do? Swimming is one of the most popular and interesting Olympic sports. How do we encourage a continued growth in the sport if universities don't support a "non-football" sport? Should we consider a grass-level support for non-football athletes rather than just gender equity? Universities have been dropping non-revenue men's sports because it is cheaper than adding scholarships/programs for women. The University of Illinois (the only Big 10 school to not have a men's swim program) is guilty of this, too. Why should males be penalized for wanting to participate in a sport other than football or basketball?
Candy Knippenberg, Swim Fan