Limestone College to Cut Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving

Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina informed their swimming & diving teams on Wednesday afternoon that the school would be discontinuing the sport at the varsity level. The announcement is the latest in a busy summer for colleges cutting (or almost cutting) their swimming & diving programs.

The school says that they will honor all scholarships for students who wish to stay.

“This was a very tough decision to make,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino. “Limestone Athletics has been involved in a campus-wide assessment and evaluation process, and it was through that review that this need for strategic redistribution of resources became evident.”

“These types of changes are always difficult,” Cerino continued. “It is especially tough for our student-athletes, coaches and alumni of the programs. I would like to thank Coach Eddie Gillie and all of our student-athletes, past and present, for the positive impacts that they made on the Limestone community.”

The move comes after a banner year for Limestone College, where their men’s team finished 3rd at the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships – the best finish in school history. The women’s team placed 4th at that same meet.

Sources tell SwimSwam that reasons given include lack of what the athletics department believes is a collegiate-caliber pool, and financial challenges within the athletics department. A later release by the school confirmed that “facilities and historically low participation factored heavily in the decision.” The Limestone College pool was built in 1976.

Limestone College competes in Division II of the NCAA. The men’s team has scored at the NCAA Championships 8 times in program history, with a peak of 4th-place in 2009. The women’s team has scored 7 times in program history, with a high-mark of 18th at the 2015 championship. The men’s team has also won 3 NCAA Division II event titles: the 200 free relay in 2008 and 2009 and the 50 free in 2009. The programs have combined for 145 All-America honors.

Athletes have been given their releases to transfer, albeit late in the recruiting cycle for the fall of 2018.

Update: Limestone College sent SwimSwam the following press release after posting.

At the suggestion of the Athletics Committee of the Board of Trustees of Limestone College, the board officially voted on Friday, April 20 to no longer sponsor the sports of men’s and women’s swimming effective at the end of this academic year.  Facilities and historically low participation factored heavily in the decision.  Both teams practiced and competed in an outdated facility that was constructed back in 1976.

Financial aid packages will be honored for the current student-athletes who wish to remain and complete their degree at Limestone.  Any student-athlete that wishes to transfer will be granted their full and immediate release.

“This was a very tough decision to make,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino. “Limestone Athletics has been involved in a campus-wide assessment and evaluation process, and it was through that review that this need for strategic redistribution of resources became evident.”

“These types of changes are always difficult,” Cerino continued. “It is especially tough for our student-athletes, coaches and alumni of the programs. I would like to thank Coach Eddie Gillie and all of our student-athletes, past and present, for the positive impacts that they made on the Limestone community.”
The Saints won three NCAA Division II National Championships on the men’s side, winning the 200-yard freestyle relay in 2008 and 2009 while also capturing an individual 50-yard freestyle title in 2009. Limestone has combined for 145 All-American honors (116 men, 29 women) and 33 Academic All-American accolades (20 men, 13 women) altogether since the inaugural 2006-07 season.

The pool will still be available for recreational use and agreements with the YMCA and Gaffney High School swim team will continue to be honored.

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Dave

Not sure you need much more than a 6 lane 25yd pool. So I call BS on that part. Athletic dept. having “trouble” usually means finding more money for football. If you dive deeper into the multi phase updates to their athletics complex you would probably find that they overspent and overpromissed. And poorly budgeted. Nobody to blame but athletic department stooges. Period.

david

I have to agree the pool seems fine for high school and ymca swimming. how do they have the best year ever and get cut how many limestone teams finished a season like that…low participation rate another lie coach had 16 recruits coming in …..

A concerned alumni

This is unfortunately what happens when the athletic department is run by old limestone graduates. Even worse, having a old limestone graduate aka the biased Athletic director. Limestone recently received a donation of 4.1 million dollars. What has been seen of the money so far is a clock tower and a park that no one cares about. The entire athletic department is run by fools and Limestone should bring in new people. What is even more concerning is that they wait until 2 weeks before the semester is over to inform the swimmers. Side note is that there was a ” leak” from one of the board of trustee’s members that the program would be cut already on April 16th.… Read more »

Andrew Makepeace

As an alumnus of a school that also eliminated their swimming and diving program, albeit simply the men’s squad at Minnesota State University, Mankato, this continues to be an upsetting trend at the collegiate level. Being in the shoes of these student-athletes, alumni, coaches and supporters is miserable and upsetting. There should be anger and outrage. However, taking all emotion out of the equation, have the alumni of the swimming and diving program contacted the head coach to ask what can still be done, if anything? Has this elimination been mentioned in years past? How can we as a swimming community get on board to help Limestone reverse this decision? It sounds like their may have been some issues outside… Read more »

Limestone Bernie

I would say that this decision was made a couple weeks, maybe even month back already. All the excuses listed above why the program got cut are just irrelevant as we all agreed on. Guesses go from having internal issues, where the Athletic department does not want to deal with the swim team anymore, to conflicts which dates back many years and an athletic department with no good budgeting, management, etc.
Multiple actions have been done already. Also multiple conversations with the coach and AD happened.
It just seems like since there is a new president at the school that he does not care about the swimming program anymore…
Just sad…
#saveLCswimming

Brad Flood

Well, it seems some college administrators in South Carolina feel the need to advertise their complete IGNORANCE of the sport of Swimming, as well as a total inability to see what’s happening on their own campuses. Limestone follows in the lowly and shameful footsteps of fellow SC university Clemson (hard to refer to either of these places as “institutions of higher learning”!!!) by using the reason of not having facilities that are competitive in order to cut what were very successful swimming programs. Seriously??? It’s got to be a SC thing. From my 11 years in D II and following Limestone, their biggest hinderance to being a solid program year in and year out was more associated with inept leadership… Read more »

ShrimpNGrits

You’re forgetting College of Charleston.
Only one swimming opportunity is left in state, and that’s USC.

collegeswimmingalumni

There also is Converse College which is in Spartanburg, SC and they offer swimming and are in the same conference as Limestone.
It is very sad to see another competitive swim program added to the list of swim programs being cut. This is extremely unfortunate and hopefully a solution is found soon.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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