Monday, August 2, 2021

5 Olympians advocating for MSU Swim and Dive at Friday Board of Trustees meeting

June 17, 2021
<p>Then-sophomore Lauren Biglin swims during the meet against Cleveland State on Jan. 24, 2020, at McCaffree Pool. The Spartans defeated the Vikings, 163.5-135.5.</p>

Then-sophomore Lauren Biglin swims during the meet against Cleveland State on Jan. 24, 2020, at McCaffree Pool. The Spartans defeated the Vikings, 163.5-135.5.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

Following the decision to cut MSU’s swim & dive program, the battle continues to save it as five MSU Olympians will speak at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday, June 18. 

The five speakers include Olympians spanning from 1968 to 1996 and are prepared to speak out with the summer Olympic games on the horizon. 

According to a press release from Battle to Save Michigan State Swim and Dive, speakers include Sidney Appleboom, Chris-Carol Bremer, Jorge Gonzalez, Michael Green and Marilyn Corson Whitney. 

Appleboom participated in three events during the 1988 Summer Games and was a two-time All-American. Bremer, one of Germany’s best-known swimmers, is ranked in the top 10 all-time at MSU in five events and is a six-time All-American. 

Gonzalez competed in six events in the 1968 Summer Olympics and holds one of the 10-fastest times at MSU in the 200 free. Whitney competed in multiple Olympic games and brought home nine Big Ten titles and two national championships back to East Lansing. 

They plan to speak at the Friday meeting to call for the reinstatement of the program. Multiple universities across the country have had similar discussions and programs at Stanford, Clemson, Dartmouth, William and Mary, East Carolina and others have been reinstated.

Athletic Director Bill Beekman announced the university’s decision in October 2020, due to budget constraints from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Beekman has continuously defended the decision to cut the program, despite numerous athletes and alumni speaking out. 

Logistically, the program is the least costly of MSU’s 23 varsity programs, including 9.5% of student-athletes but only accounting for 1.5% of the overall athletic budget, according to the press release. 

The program has produced 474 All-Americans, 42 National Champions, 20 Olympians and 127 Big Ten Champions. 

The swim & dive program has produced 20 Olympians across the board from swimmers, divers, coaches and trainers since its creation. 

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