The University of Denver men’s swimming & diving team has had its roster decimated over the past year, losing members since punishments were handed down for a large off-campus party in September 2020 violated COVID-19 regulations. The Denver men had 26 men on their 2020-21 roster at the time of the COVID-19 violations, and they finished the season last week with just 16.
Summit League Championship meet results, meanwhile, show just 11 swimmers actually racing at the final meet of the year, as South Dakota ended the Hilltppers’ 7-year run of conference dominance.
38 members of the Denver swimming & diving program attended the party and were thus suspended. At the time, SwimSwam counted 26 men and 28 women on the roster. The party was thrown despite local and state health restrictions as well as university policies that limited gatherings to 10 people, with all participants required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.
Those 38 students were suspended from team activities for the remainder of the fall semester, which went until late November, resulting in the team’s season not beginning until January 2021. It is still unknown which 38 students attended the party and were suspended, and exactly who among that group is still on the team or quit/transferred.
The Denver men slid to third at the 2021 Summit League Championships, scoring over 500 fewer points than in 2020 and snapping a seven-year win streak at the meet. The roster was at 29 during the 2019-20 season, when the Denver men and women claimed their seventh consecutive Summit League title. Prior to this season, the two programs have combined to win 152 of the last 154 event titles in the Summit League.
Here’s the end-of-season roster breakdown for the 2020-21 Denver men:
- Seniors – 4 (including one redshirt senior)
- Juniors – 2
- Sophomores – 2
- Freshmen – 8
Of that group, all eight freshmen and two sophomores raced at the Summit League Champs, while out of all the upperclassmen on the current roster, just one junior, Darragh Mahns, competed. Mahns was one of the team’s top contributors with 47.5 points individually.
On the men’s side, sprinters Cameron Auchinachie and Sid Farber were among the biggest losses, as both were 19-low freestylers, while Auchinachie has been an NCAA scorer. Auchinachie, who is no longer on the roster, was set to compete as a senior, while Farber, who is on this year’s roster but didn’t race once, was set to be a redshirt senior during the 2020-21 season.
Meanwhile, Adriel Sanes, Patrick Groters and Cy Jager, who were the highest individual scorers for Denver at the 2020 Summit League Champs, have all disappeared from the roster despite each having at least one season of eligibility left (not including the COVID-19 extra year). Sanes, for one, recently announced his transfer to Auburn on Instagram.
It was a stark difference from 2020 to 2021 at the Summit League Championships, as Denver went from 1081 points and a win margin of over 300 points in 2020 to just 575.50 points in 2021. They were over 200 points behind second and over 300 behind first.
The Denver women, meanwhile, retained their 28 roster members through the 2020-21 season. They won their eight-straight Summit League title easily in 2021, bringing a 23-person roster to the meet.
Denver is two seasons in with new head coach Alicia Hicken-Franklin, who was an assistant at Denver for 16 years before spending three seasons (2016-17 to 2018-2019) as associate head coach at Minnesota. She took over for Brian Schrader after the 2018-19 season after he spent 13 years at the program’s helm.