More than 20 Olympians Sign Letter Urging Dartmouth to Reinstate Swimming and Diving

Photo Courtesy: Dartmouth Athletics

A group of 22 swimmers, including Olympians and All-Americans, have signed an open letter urging Dartmouth to reinstate its swimming and diving teams.

Dartmouth made the decision in August to discontinue swimming and diving with immediate effect, leaving it the only Ivy League institution without varsity swimming. Despite a robust campaign to save Dartmouth swimming, the school’s administration has so far resisted calls to overturn its decision.

The latest effort is backed by more than 20 Olympians and follows on the heels of a personal letter written by BJ Bedford, a New Hampshire native, earlier this month.

The new letter includes among its signatories Nathan Adrian, Leah Smith, Anthony Ervin, Elizabeth Beisel and Gary Hall Sr.

The letter:

To Swimmers, Divers and Supporters of College Sports Everywhere,

In July of this year, Dartmouth College made the unilateral decision to cut its Swimming & Diving programs, among other varsity teams, effectively ending the athletic careers of 110 committed students. As leaders in the sports industry, coaches, and former college athletes, whose goals and careers have been molded by the far-reaching benefits of collegiate sport, we cannot denounce this decision enough.

The experiences associated with sport — winning and losing, teamwork, striving for self-improvement — are key to creating well-rounded individuals who go on to do impressive things outside the walls of higher education. Additionally, these programs are essential for bringing a cross-section of diverse and talented students to campus. Dartmouth’s actions blatantly reject these values. And they will have national implications, setting a precedent for athletic programs at other institutions to undermine the value of collegiate sport.

Dartmouth’s decision to eliminate these programs is a decision which falls short of the College’s high bar for leadership. This is particularly concerning when we consider the mounting social and cultural transformations confronting our nation, which requires strong leaders who listen to their communities. While the fiscal challenges facing the college are real, more effective administrative oversight would have engaged the swimming and diving community to develop solutions.

We call on President Hanlon to reinstate the teams immediately and be an example for the rest of the NCAA and begin a dialogue with the Dartmouth community, its students, parents, and alumni, that will lead to solutions for the long-term challenges facing Dartmouth College.

Signed,

Nathan Adrian, Katie Meili, Leah Smith, Tyler Clary, Anthony Ervin, Diana Munz DePetro, Laura Wilkinson, Cristina Teuscher, Mel Stewart, John Naber, Kimberly Vandenberg, Gary W. Hall, Sr., Elizabeth Beisel, Cammile Adams, Mitzi Kremer Tighe, Glenn Mills, Wendy l Boglioli, Bret Michael Fraser, Daniel Veatch, Charles P Hodgson, Courtney Monsees, Michael Nyeholt

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