Top 10 D3 Teams Amherst, Williams Cancel 20-21 Swimming & Diving Season

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, NESCAC, a conference in the Northeastern US that includes some of the best swimming programs in Division III, has canceled conference competition, including conference championships, for the winter season. Several of the conference’s institutions have canceled all competition in winter sports.

While the announcement does not preclude conference institutions from scheduling competition with other NESCAC or non-conference opponents, at least one school says that it’s “highly unlikely” that winter season teams will compete this year.

“Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely our winter season teams will compete this year,” an FAQ posted by Bowdoin College says. “Factors influencing this determination include ongoing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, increasingly stringent NCAA safety and testing guidelines governing indoor competition, current restrictions governing indoor athletic activity in the State of Maine, potential limitations on access to athletic facilities in order to support the academic program and considerable restrictions on group travel.  We will continue to review these issues and NCAA, CDC and State of Maine safety guidelines on a sport-by-sport basis in the weeks ahead, but for planning purposes, winter season athletes should not anticipate competing during the spring semester.”

The school also says that it’s “unlikely” that it’s spring teams will compete this year too, though not out of the question. Bodwoin says that if competition is able to resume, priority will be given to spring season sports, saying that it’s also “unlikely” that fall sports teams will compete during the spring semester.

Bowdoin does anticipate that student-athletes will be able to train on campus in the spring.

Other schools have made similar decisions about winter sports. Amherst, Hamilton, Middlebury, and Williams, for example, have announced the cancellation of all winter sports.

Schools’ Individual Statements on 2020-2021 Winter Sports, including swimming & diving:

  • Amherst College – canceled
  • Bates College – no elaboration
  • Bowdoin College – “highly unlikely”
  • Colby College – no elaboration
  • Connecticut College – canceled
  • Hamilton College – canceled
  • Middlebury College – canceled
  • Trinity College – no elaboration
  • Tufts University – no elaboration
  • Wesleyan University – no elaboration
  • Williams College – canceled

The most recent NCAA Division III Championship meet, which was held in 2019, saw 2 NESCAC schools finish in the top 8 finishers of the women’s meet. Williams placed 4th, and Amherst placed 8th.

The men’s meet also saw both of those programs in the top 10, with Williams 7th and Amherst 9th.

Full Conference Release:

With the fall semester for NESCAC institutions well underway, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the broader community remain our foremost concerns. Our institutions have limited travel off campus, restricted visitors to campus, and implemented strict protocols on physical distancing. To further mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and protect the well-being of those on campus and in the surrounding communities, each of our institutions is conducting a robust COVID-19 testing program.

In addition to these measures, many of our institutions have made or are considering significant modifications to the 2020-21 academic calendar. As a result, many of our students will not return to campus for the spring semester until late January or early February.

Given these institutional policies and calendar changes, the NESCAC Presidents have unanimously decided to cancel NESCAC conference competition, including conference championships, for the winter season. Among other things, the timing of students’ return to campus means there will not be enough time to conduct meaningful conference play.

We understand this decision will disappoint many of our students, given the important role athletics plays in the student experience. We remain committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our students to engage in athletic activities. Students may continue to participate in practice activities, strength and conditioning, skill development and leadership programming in accordance with NCAA, Conference and institutional policies, as well as state and local health guidelines. Institutions may schedule outside competition at their discretion.

Planning continues for the possibility of spring competition and updated information will be provided as it becomes available.

Biddy Martin, Amherst College
Clayton Spencer, Bates College
Clayton Rose, Bowdoin College
David Greene, Colby College
Katherine Bergeron, Connecticut College
David Wippman, Hamilton College
Laurie Patton, Middlebury College
Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity College
Tony Monaco, Tufts University
Michael Roth, Wesleyan University
Maud Mandel, Williams College

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Mrs. Swimming
14 days ago

Same decision slotted to be made for our conference mid-October. Thinking it will be a similar result, understandable but still tough news to swallow 🙁

14 days ago

Let’s be clear that this is a NESCAC decision with impacts on these two schools, and the other 9 in their conference.

Reply to  DIII
14 days ago

Agree with you, article title isn’t clear on this. We shouldn’t just focus on the higher ranked teams when this affects all the student-athletes

Reply to  DMacNCheez
14 days ago

“NESCAC Cancels Championships for Winter Sports” might be more helpful!

Reply to  DMacNCheez
14 days ago

Which title generates more clicks? Conference most people haven’t heard of cancels season or two top 10 programs cancel season?

Reply to  YeeHaw
12 days ago

Conference “most” have never heard of? I’m gonna bet you with absolutely no research accomplished that conference has more team and possibly individual champions than any other in D3. Look it up! I’m guessing you are from west of the Mississippi! Lol

Reply to  DIII
14 days ago

DIII your interpretation is wrong.

Every school had the choice to cancel their winter sports or not. Some have chosen to. Others have not chosen to.

All the NESCAC said is that they’re not hosting conference championship events and not making conference schedules for teams.

Reply to  DIV
14 days ago

The NESCAC never makes conference schedules. That is up to school. The point is that the conference has said there will be no conference championship. Some schools have also indicated there will be no other competition, either. It is likely others will follow given that many of these campuses have extremely limited their students’ ability to even move on or off campus.

Reply to  DIII
14 days ago

Your comment is a little misleading- NESCAC doesn’t do meet schedules for swimming (or indoor track); but does for M/W basketball and M/W ice hockey. The President’s decision was about all sports, hence the release mentioning no conference schedules or conference competition.

14 days ago

Very smart decision! Hopefully these SA, Coaches, Administrators and others will thrive in total solitary isolation. We must be concerned with the health and well being of each person. Of course no one can shop for food, socialize, exercise, sleep or sit still either…total BS!!!!!!!!!

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  SwimFani
13 days ago

Go tour the White House.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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