William & Mary to Cut Swimming & Diving After 2020-21 Season

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Photo Courtesy: William and Mary Athletics

William & Mary University made the decision to cut men’s and women’s swimming & diving, among five other sports, after the 2020-21 academic year, the school announced in a letter on Thursday. The school will also be cutting Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics; Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field; and Women’s Volleyball.

“So many of us who work in intercollegiate athletics do so with a singular purpose: to impact the lives of our student-athletes,” Athletic Director Samantha K. Huge said in a statement. “On most every other day, we are working tirelessly to enhance their experience at William & Mary, and that is why today is so difficult to know that our decision — while necessary — is devastating for our students.

“As a department, we simply can no longer continue on an unsustainable financial trajectory. We will do everything that we can for the impacted student-athletes and coaches, and I sincerely hope they are able to participate in one final season of competition. Today is a sad day for all of us who love William & Mary.”

The university pledged to honor all current athletic scholarships of those affected through their scheduled graduation at William & Mary, according to the release. Those wishing to transfer will have the full support of the university.

Impacted coaches will be able to complete their current appointments.

118 student-athletes and 13 coaches have been affected by the decision as the school is estimating it will save $3.66 million.

William & Mary swimmers in 2014. Photo Courtesy: William and Mary Athletics

William & Mary men’s swimming has won six straight conference titles in the CAA, as this past season culminated with Colin Wright making the NCAA Championships in the 50, 100 & 200 freestyle, becoming the first William & Mary swimmer since 1963 to make the meet. On the women’s side, the Tribe finished second at this year’s CAA Championships as they last won the title in 2017.

This marks the sixth Division I school to lose its swimming and diving team this off-season, joining the likes of East CarolinaConnecticutBoise State, Dartmouth and Iowa in getting their swim team cut to ease the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

William & Mary is coached by Nate Kellogg who had spent three years as an assistant before returning as head coach in the 2019 season. He helped coach Wright to a spot at the NCAAs this season as the sprinter was seeded fourth in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free, and was seeded to put William & Mary in the top 25.

William & Mary men have not lost a CAA team title since 2014 as the program has really made a turn for the better at the start of the decade. Wright became the first male swimmer or diver since 1986 to make the NCAA meet and the Tribe have had eight swimmers qualify at the last two Olympic Trials including Katie RadloffAndrew Strait, Sidney Glass, Will Manion, Hailey HewittAnnie Jaimie Miller and Jeremiah O’Donnell.

Katie Radloff was also the last women’s swimmer to make the NCAA meet for the Tribe, making the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle all four years of her career from 2007 – 2010.

Excerpt from our story about Colin Wright’s history-making efforts for William & Mary:

Full story can be read here.

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Colin Wright. Photo Courtesy: College of William & Mary

“After my freshmen season when I went 19.6 I had dropped about a second in the 50 from high school,” Colin Wright told Swimming World earlier this summer. “At that point I set a goal that I wanted to go 18 at the end of my senior year. I didn’t have a specific time – I just wanted an 18. I knew I could do it and I had my focus on that.

“I only started thinking a lot about my NCAA goals after my freshman year was successful. I really didn’t know what I was capable of in the sport until after that year. That was really what set the tone for the rest of my career.”

“He was laser focused and super consistent,” said William & Mary head coach Nate Kellogg, who had seen Wright’s development throughout his four years. “That’s the difference. He’s had this talent all along. I remember his first duel meet as a freshman – he was on our B 200 medley relay the first event. He split a 20.1 and all the coaches looked at each other like ‘wow, this guy has some talent.’ He has ridden that all the way.”

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Colin Wright in a duel against George Washington. Photo Courtesy: College of William & Mary

Colin Wright was just an average swimmer out of high school, boasting a 20.73 best time in the 50 free and 45.61 in the 100 as a senior in 2016. William & Mary had been a successful mid-major Division I program, sending four swimmers to the last two Olympic Trials, and winning the last six CAA men’s team championships. But the program had not had an NCAA swimmer or diver on the men’s side in 34 years, and Wright finally changed that in 2020, putting William & Mary, a school that does not offer scholarships to men’s swimming, on the national map.

“It was a good year but unfortunately all the COVID took a lot away from it,” Kellogg said. “I feel so bad for Colin and the rest of the seniors, especially the ones that made it for the first time. That’s an experience they will never get to have and of course it is nobody’s fault but my heart goes out to those folks.”

“It gives the recruits some confidence in the school like you can make NCAAs going here and it can give the recruits more confidence in the coaches and the program,” Wright said. “It’s great and it gives us a little more attention.”

“Our program has been built on the foundation of elite academics as well as elite swimming and I think our swimming is hopefully starting to catch up to the level of academics that William & Mary provides,” Kellogg said. “It’s something we’ve talked to our team and recruits about all the time that you don’t have to give up world class academics for high level swimming and the other way around. You can swim at the highest level and still get world class William & Mary education.

103 comments

    • avatar
      Curt

      Collegiate athletics are supposed to be part of a student’s education. Exercise, teamwork, competition. W&M now buys into athletics-as-branding tool. Nothing more.

    • avatar
      Helen Jabs

      Sad sad sad. It upsets me to no end that the NCAA is sitting back allowing all those fine DI programs get cut. They can say it’s COVID related but the reality is that is not the full reason. Football and basketball continue to be supported at the highest level win or lose. The coaches in these sports being cut do not make anywhere near what football and basketball coaches make nor do they have the size staff football and basketball do. The NCAA seems to be ignoring its own mission statement by sitting back and watching this happen over and over!! The system is broken!! A sad few months for the many athletes and coaches in these sports. USA Olympics should be concerned!!!

  1. avatar
    Greg Christian

    Devastating…(yet again).

  2. Leslie Cichocki

    Why is there so many colleges cutting swimming and diving? What does this mean? The foot ball coach’s are going to get a paid raise? That would stink.

    • Lisa Bendall

      Leslie Cichocki because the revenue from football carries so many of the sports. Without football is not cost effective.

      • avatar
        Daniel

        Most college football programs run on a deficit. Very few programs like UT Austin make money off football

    • Karin Knudson O

      Leslie Cichocki non-revenue sports/Olympic sports are first to go. It costs about $1million/year per team so they cut the low on the list teams first sadly

    • Leslie Cichocki

      They should of tried fundraising before cutting programs like swimming and diving. This is awful and sad.

    • Tonja Craig

      Kelly Spencer Williams and the football coaches at Iowa then got a raise

    • Jeannine Juskalian

      Leslie Cichocki imagine if a student was recruited for the sport and now its being cut

    • Leslie Cichocki

      Jeannine Juskalian yes it’s sad. I won’t be surprised if future students look at college closely to make sure it had swimming before committing.

      Some colleges now are going to lose student
      Interest.

    • Jeannine Juskalian

      Leslie Cichocki very upsetting for probably one of the healthiest and competitive sports

    • Pamela Goldsbro

      Karin Knudson O’Connell … they should cut the pay of the top end program coaches and the long list additional staff that they have.

    • Julie Tellier

      Leslie Cichocki that’s what they did in Iowa, cry broke cut swim but then not too broke to give the football coach raises

    • Barbara Harris

      Leslie Cichocki Iowa gave their football coaches a raise after cutting swimming.

    • Leslie Cichocki

      Barbara Harris that definitely stinks. I love watching college swimming because I know I won’t get that far in the sport of swimming.

  3. avatar
    Donna Hale

    Enough already

    • Heather Kyles Watson

      Channing Pennington Davenport oh my gosh Channing I am so so sorry to hear this!!!

  4. Andy Gallion

    Absolutely brutal but only the beginning of the non-football NCAA apocalypse

  5. Mike Mcgowan

    Again. What is up. William Mary had a good team.

    • avatar
      Jym

      The future of Olympic sports in college is at the DIII level. DI programs are going to continue to cut non-revenue high cost sports like swimming in favor of revenue generating sports like football and basketball. My son swims at a DI mid-major and I worry every day that today will be the day they cut the program. If he had the recruiting process over again, I would have suggested he consider his DIII options a little more.

      • avatar
        Andy Ross

        That’s a very good point. Unless we can fix the Division I financial model, Division III schools will get a lot of these mid-major D1 swimmers that have had their program cut

    • Linda Martin

      Michele Snyder-Willis As a parent of a Dartmouth swimmer this just hits hard again. 😒

    • Michele Snyder-Willis

      Linda Martin my sons best friend from HS was starting sophomore year at Dartmouth .. he went there to swim .. it’s so sad for him

    • Joanne Newton

      Linda Martin one of my former high school swimmers was a freshman at Dartmouth last year. When they cut swimming, my heart broke for her.

    • Linda Martin

      Joanne Newton yes heartbreaking. Came out of nowhere. And the administration is basically stonewalling everyone. Disappointing and frustrating, and heartbreaking for the swimmers.

    • Joanne Newton

      Linda Martin as a swim coach and advocate of the sport, it’s very disheartening for sure.

  6. Dani Daniels

    That’s complete BS! Shame! 🔔 Shame! 🔔 Shame! 🔔

  7. Kylie Youmans

    Liz Louise wasn’t this your team!? I’m so sorry sister, this is heartbreaking 🧡

  8. John McCormack

    Ah more courage displayed by 5 layers of associate and assistant athletic directors

  9. Sherry Catron

    Leaves very few choices for swimmers in the state!

  10. Pamela Goldsbro

    And how does the football program fair in this conference??? And seriously only a $3 M saving. !!! How much do the football coaches earn per year.

  11. Liz Young

    Just stop schools. This is ridiculous!

  12. Tara Garrett Houser

    When we toured they said they only survived a similar fate a few years ago because alumni ante’d up the funds. This one I can maybe understand – Iowa I cannot

  13. Patrisha Rebello

    This is so sad for all the swimmers that have spent years in the pool so they can be college swimmers. How totally disappointing.

  14. Bob McDowell

    Very sad especially knowing some current and former W & M outstanding student athletes who are or were on the swim teams.

  15. Stacey Preston

    Swimming as a youth sport is in big trouble. There are going to be no programs to swim in college unless you are an Olympic swimmer. USA Swimming has to step in and help!

  16. Jonathan Ballard

    This is crazy! Let’s just rename the sport and keep it that way nobody is offended or upset and want to cut it

    • Jill Yamshak Campbell

      Alex Campbell I hope all these schools release financial information. This is ridiculous

  17. Doug Deville

    This is where my brother, Craig Deville dove. Very sad.

    • Casey Daniell

      Andrew James Fuhrer IIRC no football at Emory was a stipulation to when Woodruff donated to the school’s endowment.

  18. Melody Harrison

    I guess that explains why they stopped recruiting. So sad.

  19. Ellie Sadar Sookram

    And those r the sports that we get athletes for the Olympics and other world sport .. what a short term looking at things 🤷🏽‍♀️

  20. Suzanne Harkins

    Beyond awful. Such a great team and fast. These kids have devoted so much of their lives to this sport.

  21. Mellisa Klock

    A dying college sport. Even when I was in college, 1996, it was actively being cut from one the universities I attended 😢

  22. Katy Fethke

    I will never understand this. The earth is 71% water not astro turf.

  23. Laura Ahart

    One of the schools my daughter had on her list. Sadly she removed it when she heard the news. Great school and great program.

  24. avatar
    Yvonne

    This has got to stop!

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