June 5, 2009

Crappy news in the swimming world today. Western Illinois cut their swimming team. In the grand scheme of college swimming Western wasn't exactly a power. Their times were slower than ours even though they even though they had almost four full scholarships.

What's worse is that the trend could be accelerating. States are cutting higher education budgets in a big way. This means courses are cut (making it even tougher to graduate in five years), professors are layed off, and yes, swim teams are eliminated.

We're actually pretty fortunate here at Carthage. We began building an endowment for the team a couple of years ago (which is up to $23,000 now). Our administration doesn't overspend when building beautiful new facilities (like our pool) and we've kept our costs in check. For the record, our budget - while it won't go up - isn't likely to take much of a hit - and even if it does, the interest from the endowment will cover it.

While we're probably going to pick up a recruit or two from Western's cut, it still hurts us in the long run. It means there's one less good team to race against. It makes it easier for other schools to cut swimming. It denies more kids the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of college swimming. Worst of all, it breaks the hearts of the 23 swimmers that called Western Illinois home.



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