Dartmouth Alum Does 15-Mile River Swim to Protest Program Cuts

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Dartmouth senior swimmers, from left, Katherine Cane, Kenna Van Stein and Summer Martin, stand with Dartmouth alum Jim Bayles, second from right, after his 15-mile swim Saturday; Photo Courtesy: Save Dartmouth Swim Dive

Dartmouth alumnus Jim Bayles swam 15 miles on the Connecticut River Saturday to raise awareness for the campaign to reinstate Dartmouth Swimming and Diving.

Bayles, a member of the Class of 1974 who was inducted to the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2009, swam from Orford, New Hampshire to the Ledyard Canoe Club, covering 15.6 miles in seven hours and 45 minutes. Wearing a green cap with a Big D on the side, the 68-year-old was supported in the following boat by former Dartmouth swimming coach Jim Wilson and former Dartmouth women’s swimming coach Joanne Brislin, who served as the official observer. Jim’s wife, Trina Bayles, was also part of the support crew.

Three seniors on the Dartmouth swimming team – Katherine Cane, Kenna Van Stein and Summer Martin – joined Bayles for a portion at the start of the swim. Ron Keenhold, who coached Bayles at Dartmouth and still resides in Hanover, was among more than a dozen supporters waiting at Ledyard Canoe Club.

“I want Dartmouth to reinstate the teams,” Bayles said in a statement. “Varsity athletics prepare students to be leaders in the world. Cutting these teams was a mistake, and it is time for President (Phil) Hanlon to acknowledge there is a better way forward than curtailing the role of athletes on campus.”

Bayles is a Masters World Championship swimmer. His swimming exploits include crossing the English Channel and circumnavigating the island of Manhattan.

Dartmouth’s swimming programs were abruptly cut by the school in July. The swimming community has rallied a robust effort to save Dartmouth swimming, via on-campus protests, an online petition with more than 32,000 signatures, a lawsuit alleging discrimination against the Asian-American members of the program and other actions. The group’s Instagram account, @save_dartmouthswimdive, has nearly 5,000 followers.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Jim Griffin

    Way to go Jim. ECU cut their swimming teams as well. Bummer

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