All Arizona State Swimmers to Redshirt 2020-21 Season, Bob Bowman Announces

Bob Bowman (center) announced the entire Arizona State team will redshirt. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Arizona State is the first power five college swimming and diving program to make a decision about the upcoming college season — and Bob Bowman made a stunning announcement that the entire team will take a redshirt this season and focus on 2021-22.

Bowman consulted with the team and the athletes’ parents before making the decision.

According to the school, all involved parties agree this plan will allow for maximum flexibility and confidence for the student-athletes and their families in regards to their location and practice situation due to COVID-19. All members of the Sun Devil swimming & diving programs will redshirt and only train in 2020-21, with the expectation the entire roster will return in 2021-22.

“In March, (Vice President for University Athletics) Ray Anderson challenged all Sun Devil head coaches to find ways to make our programs stronger after the COVID-19 crisis,” Bowman said. “This decision clearly accomplishes that goal. It promotes the health and safety of our student-athletes, enhances their educational opportunities and allows time to rebuild and refocus on performing at the highest levels of NCAA competition.”

This plan, which can be accomplished within existing scholarship limits, allows the student-athletes to enroll in courses as full-time students across all learning platforms and will allow most to pursue graduate degrees in a five-year window.

“Many of our student-athletes will now have the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree during their additional year on campus,” said Bowman, who has coached nine Pac-12 individual champions in his five years at Arizona State. “This is a tremendous benefit which we are excited to offer to a tremendous team which has great academic goals.”

Added Anderson, “This unique approach will provide additional opportunities for these student-athletes to pursue educational endeavors. Our goal as a department is to provide an elite student-athlete experience and this methodology will allow an additional year on campus for these student-athletes to train and achieve championship performance together, but also realize new academic goals.”

The past four months have not allowed proper training, but under the new plan Bowman knows the shifting of goals to a more realistic timeline is advantageous for NCAA and Olympic championship level athletes.

“With a renewed clarity of purpose, we can shift our focus to long course swimming and preparation for the Olympic qualifying competitions next year,” Bob Bowman said. “We know this process will best prepare our team to excel at the highest levels of our sport and will take our program to the next level.”

With competition events normally starting in September and finishing in March, a typical swimming/diving competition schedule takes place over seven months. The stress of any cancellations and all team travel is now eliminated and budgets can be adjusted.

“We know this is our best course of action. It gives us clarity, direction and a good plan that our team can benefit as athletes and students, and allows families to feel at ease over being able to watch their Sun Devils at the 2022 NCAA Championships, which was taken away last year,” Bowman said. “Our teams and our program are in great shape. It is the summer of 2020 and some additional things have to be considered. We are very confident in this plan and know it is the best interests of our program, our student-athletes and our athletic department. Much thought went into it and we are excited to start working with a firm training calendar.”

The past season and program’s future under Bob Bowman is highlighted by Jack Dolan being named the Pac-12 Freshman Swimmer of the Year, just the second in Sun Devil history. Emma Nordin (500 free) and Zach Poti (100 backstroke) each won Pac-12 titles, with Nordin clocking the nation’s fastest time in her win. The programs combined for 18 team records last season and senior Silja Kansakoski closed out her career winning the athletic department’s Bill Kajikawa Award, presented annually to one male and one female in recognition for his and her demonstrated academic excellence, athletic accomplishment leadership and service in the community.

200 freestyler Grant House was also taking an Olympic redshirt this past season and indicated he will be training with the college team again this season.

This past season, Arizona State would have placed seventh at NCAAs on the men’s side based on the psych sheet, and 16th on the women’s side.


    • Greg Gillette

      Sharon Chocko Gallagher grad school, as it said in the article. It isn’t perfect and it isn’t one size fits all, but nothing is or will be for the next year or so.

    • Sharon Chocko Gallagher

      Greg Gillette you are right. Not perfect and not one size fits all. A lot of kids opt for different grad schools than their 4 year degree. Once again the athlete is getting screwed. Let’s see if football has the same fate.

    • Sharon Chocko Gallagher, I redshirted a year in college and then just picked up a minor to fill that fifth year. Going to graduate school isn’t the only option – at least it wasn’t back then. Went to a different school for law school.

    • Of course, I was on full scholarship. I guess if your parents are footing the bill, the extra year may not look so attractive.

      • avatar

        For sure Laura, otherwise a reasonable plan of action.

    • Harrison Andrews

      Laura Profumo Kleinschmidt or if you’re paying yourself ??‍♂️

    • Kim Mechling

      Cheryl Stelmar Omgggg!! Crazy!!

    • avatar

      So bowman can focus on his pros.

    • Csongor Bibza

      Danie Bostick Hatcher – I guess no 2021 recruits. Somebody has to lose. Diminished opportunities, but don’t blame them. It is a smart move.

    • Danie Bostick Hatcher

      Csongor, Ken and I were just discussing, it is the right move for sure

  1. Michael Curley

    Be careful, many school’s will consider dropping our sport. If NO football, no revenue, no Olympic Sports…

    • Monica Ferguson Bragg, do you mean ‘22 high school grads? If so, you’re probably right. Fewer spots and scholarships available.

    • Melody Harrison

      Monica Ferguson Bragg that was my thought also. Mom of a 22 grad who is being recruited.

  2. Colleen Hazlett

    My first thought was what if someone already red shirted? Now he can focus on the Trials with no NCAA rules in the way. Kind of works out well.

    • Nicole Monanian

      Mikaela Waiflein my mom just sent me this. So Ballsy. Good for hkm

  3. Kate Dunne

    Its ridiculous that they cancelled their season.

    • Jeffrey M Johnson

      Kate Dunne I don’t get this at all. Seems way to early to give up on having a season. This is bad for the seniors.

  4. Dan Jacob

    I can’t blame him but this will definitely squeeze the next 4 years of high school recruits. The bigger issue will be how many programs end up dropping the sport altogether.

  5. avatar
    rob davis

    Other teams will soon follow the 20-21 redshirt season of Bowman/ASU.

  6. avatar
    Chuck Thomas

    So, if I’m understanding this correctly, by adding the additional year of coverage to a swimmers scholarship, the cost to the university has just increased by 25%, and they seem to be fine with that? Should that tell us something about the ridiculous margins that universities realize in what they charge for tuition, room and board?

  7. avatar

    Brilliant ASU!! Seniors are getting screwed. Not much of a season for them (if there is one) and not a way to finish a sport they have worked so hard for and love. Sad finish to their swimming career.