East Carolina University to Bring Back Women’s Swimming & Diving As Well As Women’s Tennis

Photo Courtesy: East Carolina Athletics

East Carolina University will be bringing back women’s swimming and diving and women’s tennis to its intercollegiate sports effective immediately, according to a release from the school.

East Carolina was among the first Division I schools to cut swimming and diving this summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this, many swimmers have already transferred out of the program and the coaching staff have sought for jobs elsewhere. The university reduced the amount of intercollegiate programs by four this summer, and with the addition of women’s swimming and women’s tennis, the school now has 18 varsity programs and 11 women’s athletics programs.

“We are looking forward to having women’s swimming and diving along with women’s tennis return as a part of our sport offerings,” East Carolina University Athletics Director Jon Gilbert said. “When we went through the process of eliminating four programs in May, we understood we needed to reconstitute the athletic department in terms of sports programs and to do so while facing significant budget restraints due to COVID and its uncertainties.

“We worked directly with a Title IX consultant on how best to address our compliance with Title IX while also addressing our financial issues. Title IX is an ongoing commitment and it’s a priority for our university and athletics department,” he said.

Save ECU swimming and diving has already reacted to the news:

East Carolina University qualified one swimmer each to the NCAA men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships in 2020, with freshman Kristen Stege making the women’s meet in the 1650 and senior Gustavo Santos making the men’s meet in the 100 butterfly. Stege has since transferred to the University of Tennessee.

In recent history the men’s swim and dive team have won 4 out of the last 6 conference championships including this past years championship. The women’s team improved this past year from 6th in the conference to 4th.

East Carolina University Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson said, “ECU is fully committed to providing meaningful opportunities to female athletes. And I am confident that the return of these two sports will help us accomplish that goal. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented financial disruption to operations across the university and exacerbated the already significant financial challenges faced not only by our athletics department, but also the university. Gender equity is a priority to our institution, and we will continue to take all the necessary steps to be compliant with Title IX.”