Moon cuts swimming, diving program


When the UNF women’s swimming and diving team were informed of a Monday afternoon practice, the team assumed they would be swimming in the pool like normal. They dressed in their practice uniforms and swimming goggles.

 The team had no idea what was to come.

 They had no idea that they would never practice again.

 Athletic director Lee Moon went to the practice and told the team the program was getting cut.

 There isn’t enough money to support the team at a Division I level, he said.

 “This wasn’t an easy decision,” Moon said.

 Junior swimmer Lyn Ann Nelson was shocked. Nelson is on scholarship with the university, who will honor it despite the program’s extinction.

 Nelson was disappointed with timing of Moon’s decision with just two months left of school.

 Moon said it was a hard decision, and he wishes he could have made it sooner.

 Nelson said the team was very emotional and many were crying.

 “It sucks to deal with the reality,” she said.

 Moon said the athletes could transfer if they would like, and the signing period for swimming and diving starts in May.

 Because the program is getting terminated, per NCAA rules, the athletes that transfer will not have to sit out a season.

 “There isn’t anywhere we can go,” Nelson said. “This an atomic bomb dropped on us”

 Moon said the pool is not in good condition, not Division I level and the price of fixing everything is not affordable for the athletic department.

 The swimming and diving teams were the only UNF sports not in the Atlantic Sun Conference because the conference doesn’t recognize this program.

 Of the 11 teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference, only Campbell and Florida Gulf Coast have swimming teams. These two teams and UNF are members of the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association.

 UNF swimming and diving head coach Beth Harrell was named the 2010 coach of the year for the CCSA and is now out of a job.

 Harrell did not return a voice mail left Monday.

 Nelson said Harrell will do everything she can to help the athletes reach their goals.

 But right now, Nelson, an All-Conference swimmer, has no idea what she is going to do. 

“Swimming for me wasn’t just a sport, it was part of my life.”