Iowa swim team members felt blindsided upon hearing news that sport would be discontinued

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 3:24 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa’s Recreation and Wellness Center opened just ten years ago and cost nearly 70 million dollars. It was quickly seen as one of the best collegiate natatoriums in the country. After all, its the host site for this season’s Mens National Champioship.

After this season, the pool wont have its own team. On Friday, the Iowa Athletics Department announced they were cutting four sports due to financial struggles from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Mens Tennis, Mens Gymnastics, and both Mens and Women’s Swimming and Diving were the programs affected. 

“It shouldn’t end like this. Theres no reason it should end like this,” said Iowa sophomore swimmer Ryan Purdy.

Purdy felt right at home coming to Iowa as his dad played football there under Hayden Fry.

“There was always a little Hawkeye Pride in me,” Purdy said.

Now, Purdy, along with his teammates, is forced to contemplate transferring. He and dozens of other athletes were called to Carver Hawkeye Arena, where Athletic Director Gary Barta delivered the news.

“There were no conversations, just a lot of tears to be honest, nobody knew what to say,” Purdy said.

“Yes its coming to an end but that doesn’t mean we cant try our best and put our best foot forward for this next year,” Grace Reeder, a sophomore member of the woman’s swim team said.

Sophomore swimmer Grace Reeder is trying to keep things in a bigger perspective, grateful to have the opportunity to continue to compete for the Hawkeyes one last season, before the sport is discontinued next season.

“No one forsaw this whole pandemic happening so in light of that, we understand that swimming and sports as a whole is small compared to the devastation that this has caused our world and our planet,” Reeder said.

Most of the frustration from the team comes from hearing that the decision is final, and no amount of external or internal fundraising will be enough.

“I think it would be nice if they went into more depth about that just so that we can have a little bit more closure into the decisions that were made and how those decisions came to be,” Reeder said.

For now, their focus will be on doing their best this upcoming season, with voluntary practices starting on Tuesday, but there’s still an effort to try and find a solution

“Theres definitely more that we can do, and theres fight left I think that we can do to save all of our programs,” Purdy said.

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