The Week That Was: University of Connecticut to Cut Men’s Swimming and Diving

Photo Courtesy: UConn Athletics

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take hold of most of the world, many colleges in the United States have had to make financial adjustments to lessen the fallouts from the pandemic. The University of Connecticut had to cut men’s swimming and diving this week in order to erase a $10 million deficit brought on by the disease. UConn was the second school in the American Athletic Conference to cut men’s swimming and diving after East Carolina did so a few weeks ago as well.

In positive news, Torri Huske, one of the top high school recruits in the class of 2021, verbally committed to Stanford on Monday for the fall of 2021. She will be a huge boost to the Cardinal, who won three NCAA titles from 2017 – 2019, but were unable to continue that into 2020 with the COVID cancellations.

Read below the five biggest stories in The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #5: Adam Peaty Among Olympic & World Medalists to Back Swim England Campaign to Reopen Pools


Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Liz Byrnes, Swimming World Europe Correspondent

Adam PeatyJames Guy and James Wilby are among the international elite who are backing Swim England’s #OpenOurPools campaign after the easing of lockdown restrictions in England did not include the reopening of pools.

The trio were among hundreds who backed the campaign online within minutes of its launch as well as former double Olympic champion Becky Adlington, 2004 Athens bronze medallist Steve Parry and British Swimming chief executive Jack Buckner.

Commonwealth 400IM champion Aimee Willmott and world 4×100 medley relay champion Luke Greenbank, Tully Kearney, who won triple gold in the S5 50, 100 and 200 free at last year’s World Para Swimming Championships in London, and Ellie Robinson – S6 50 fly champion at Rio 2016 – were also quick to add their voices.

Alan Bircher, coach at Ellesmere Titans and former guide of Freya Anderson before her recent move to the National Centre Bath, included Marcus Rashford in his tweet following the Manchester United and England footballer’s successful fight for disadvantaged children to get free school meals throughout the summer.

Even Matthew Pinsent, four-time Olympic rowing champion, questioned the decision, describing it as “pretty weird”.

Chief executive Jane Nickerson expressed her “dismay and frustration” after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for pubs, restaurants, hair salons, cinemas and museums to open for business once again from 4 July.

Neither does it escape notice that Johnson made the announcement on Olympic Day, eight years after he enjoyed the glow of success of London 2012 as the capital’s mayor.

Many had hoped and believed that swimming pools would also reopen from that date but their omission has resulted in the governing body starting a campaign to urge the Government to reconsider.

They have asked people to apply pressure by writing to their MP (Member of Parliament), posting on social media, sharing infographics and signing a petition.

#4: ISL Solidarity Camp Headed to Gold Coast

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

The International Swimming League Solidarity Camp is heading to Australia’s Gold Coast this October and November, swimmers have been told ahead of formal agreements being finalised.

Back in April when the ISL threw an $11m lifeline to elite swimmers locked out of their sport, Australia was identified by ISL founder and funder Konstantin Grigorishin as one of several possible hosts of a pioneering six-week camp that will bring more than 300 of the world’s top swimmers together for training, reality TV-style challenges, pro-sports education and League competition. The concept, including the first fixed monthly wages for swimmers at the start of the new dawn of professional swimming, was warmly welcomed by athletes.

At the time ISL announced the Solidarity Camp, Grigorishin told Swimming World that Australia, Japan, Hungary and the USA were all possible destinations for the Solidarity Camp. There is no official confirmation of a Gold Coast camp but League swimmers have been told that Australia is likely to host the revival of global swimming if the COVID-19 pandemic allows that to take place by Southern spring and Northern autumn in what will largely be a competition-free year.

As things stand, borders are closed and travel is seriously curtailed the world over. The only kind of plans and agreements that can be made are those that reflect the flexibility the situation demands, including going ahead if possible, retracting if the world is not yet ready.

The Week That Was #3: US Athletes’ Letter on IOC Rule 50: ‘We Will No Longer Be Silenced’


Photo Courtesy: USA TODAY Sports

By Matthew De George

A group of American athletes, led by 1968 Olympian John Carlos, Saturday published a letter to the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee urging the abolition of IOC Charter Rule 50.

The letter was sent on behalf of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Advisory Council (USOPC AAC). It urges the IOC to scrap Rule 50, which bars political protests by athletes at official Olympic ceremonies, and replace it with new guidelines developed “in direct collaboration with independent, worldwide athlete representatives that protects athletes’ freedom of expression.”

From the letter:

We are now at a crossroads. The IOC and IPC cannot continue on the path of punishing or removing athletes who speak up for what they believe in, especially when those beliefs exemplify the goals of Olympism. Instead, sports administrators must begin the responsible task of transparent collaboration with athletes and athlete groups (including independent athlete groups) to reshape the future of athlete expression at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Let us work together to create a new structure that celebrates athletes who speak about issues in alignment with human rights and the 7 principles of Olympism.

Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter purports to “protect the neutrality of sport and the Olympic Games” by forbidding protests and demonstrations on the field of competition, the Olympic Village and all official ceremonies (opening, closing, medal, etc.) It enumerates such banned protests and including:

  • Displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands
  • Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling
  • Refusal to follow the Ceremonies protocol

#2: Torri Huske Verbally Commits to Stanford


Torri Huske, one of the best recruits in the class of 2021. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

By Dan D’Addona

World Junior Champion and NAG Record Holder Torri Huske has verbally committed to Stanford for 2021.

Arguably the most sought-out recruit in the class of 2025, she’ll join the the Cardinal at the start of the 2021-22 season.

“I am humbled yet proud to announce that I will continue my academic and athletic career at Stanford University!” Huske posted. “Thank you to my family, teachers, teammates, and friends for your endless support. I’d especially like to thank Evan, Torey, and all my coaches and who have helped me get to this point. I can’t wait for these upcoming years on the farm. Fear the tree!”

The Week That Was #1: University of Connecticut to Cut Men’s Swimming and Diving

Photo Courtesy: UConn Athletics

By Andy Ross

The University of Connecticut will officially cut men’s swimming, along with three other sports, after the 2020-21 school year as part of an overall plan to cut four athletic programs from the school.

The university is trying to erase a $10 million deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The athletic program was bringing in $40 million in revenue, and spending more than $80 million. The university had been receiving $40 million in university subsidy and athletic director Dave Benedict was asked to cut $10 million from the subsidy.

According to the Hartford Courant, the school had proposed to cut four athletic programs, which became public Wednesday during a Board of Trustees meeting in which it was made clear the athletic department’s budget is unsustainable, especially as the school faces a significant shortfall following the virus.

Athletes whose programs are cut will be able to stay on scholarship for a full year, with the cuts taking affect after next academic year. The other three sports that have been proposed to get cut include women’s rowing, men’s cross country, and men’s tennis. The schools will also offer fewer scholarships for men’s golf and men’s track and field, as well as reducing operating expenses by 15%. 124 student athletes will be affected by the cuts.

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