Iowa Women’s Swimming & Diving to be Reinstated After University Decision

Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

Flash! Iowa Women’s Swimming & Diving to be Reinstated After University Decision

The University of Iowa announced today it will be reinstating the women’s swimming and diving program

“Every student-athlete in all 24 sports at Iowa has experienced challenges and uncertainty since the pandemic began. This has been especially true for the men and women in the four sports we announced would be discontinued after this season,” Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a press release. “The women’s swimming lawsuit brought forward last September, combined with the recent court order mandating the continuation of the sport during the legal process, has created additional uncertainty that could last several months or even years.

“We made the decision the right thing to do was to re-instate the women’s swimming and diving program and remove any uncertainty moving forward for our current student-athletes as well as high school swimmers considering attending the University of Iowa.”

The swimming and diving program was to be cut after this season, as announced last summer, causing outrage among the swimming community for cutting such a storied program – the birthplace of the butterfly stroke, and the original host of the 2021 NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships before the meet had been moved to Greensboro. With the women’s team returning, that leaves the relatively new natatorium with a home team for the future. The return of the men’s swimming and diving program still remains up in the air.

“We remain committed to support and care for those student-athletes, honor their scholarships if they choose to remain at Iowa and provide academic, medical and mental health support as requested,” said Barta. Head coach Marc Long is expected to remain as head coach of the women’s team.

Iowa’s return marks the fourth swim team to be reinstated this off-season after William & Mary, East Carolina and Dartmouth announced at least one of the teams would be reinstated after getting cut last year. The Hawkeyes qualified two swimmers to the 2020 NCAA Championships on the women’s side in senior Hannah Burvill (200 freestyle) and junior Kelsey Drake (200 butterfly).

From the release:

In September 2020, a lawsuit was filed challenging the decision to discontinue women’s swimming. The University continues to disagree with the claims made in the lawsuit, and the subsequent preliminary injunction to continue offering the sport in 2021-2022 while the lawsuit makes its way through the court system. However, in the interests of serving our student-athletes, coaches and community, the University believes more certainty will be beneficial for the future of the program. Accordingly, the University has decided it is in the best interests of the student-athletes, coaches, and the athletics department to voluntarily reinstate the program, regardless of any outcome related to the lawsuit.

The Iowa Athletics Department is committed to Gender Equity and has a rich history in the success of its women’s sports programs. The University has been, and is committed to continuing to be, in compliance with Title IX. From 2015-2019 the University diligently cooperated with the federal Office for Civil Rights as it conducted an extensive investigation of the Iowa Athletics program. In 2019 OCR confirmed that the program had demonstrated compliance with all aspects of Title IX that it had investigated.

Although Iowa women’s swimming & diving is returning, many of the current Hawkeye swimmers announced their transfer destinations when it seemed clear the University would not reinstate the program:

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Kurt W
Kurt W
3 years ago

At this point, what blue chip recruit would want to swim there, with the lack of the support that is clear from the AD, Gary Barta, and the rest of the athletic dept. shame on U I and Barta for their actions, especially when the announcement was made to drop the programs. Shame.

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