Stony Brook University has reinstated its women’s swimming & diving program beginning in the 2017-2018 season, ending a five-year break that started when pool renovations were defunded back in 2012.
The Stony Brook Statesman has the story, reporting that the women’s program will resume competition next fall.
Both the men’s and women’s programs at Stony Brook were hanging in a sort of suspended animation for the past four seasons. In 2012, the team’s pool was drained for renovations, but an inspection found the pool to be unsafe. With the pool still drained and renovations needed, the school’s maintenance funds were cut and the pool project pushed down the school’s waiting list.
The result was that both teams were put on what the school called a “permanent competitive hiatus,” though team members at the time preferred to term it “forced retirement.”
But the women’s program will resume just over a year from now. Per the Stony Brook Statesman report, the school launched an initiative last summer called Together We Transform, which included a goal of sponsoring a new women’s sport within 5 years. Swimming isn’t technically “new,” but the program will be brought back from its hiatus. The school is also interested in adding women’s field hockey.
Pool renovations began in January of 2015 and are scheduled to be completed in early 2017.
There’s no word on the status of Stony Brook’s men’s team, which was placed on hiatus at the same time.
Another wrinkle is the coaching situation: Stony Brook’s last meet was the America East Championships in 2012, where the team swam under Dave Alexander. But Alexander passed away a few months later – in July of 2012 – after a battle with appendix cancer.
Assistant Chris Brandenberger was named interim head coach at the time, but the program never returned to competition. The Statesman reports that a search for a new head coach will begin this winter.
Stony Brook, which is based in Stony Brook, New York, should be set to compete in the America East Conference of the NCAA’s Division I.