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ASU swimming and diving to redshirt entire rosters for 2020-21 season

(Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)

Arizona State announced Sunday that the entire men’s and women’s swimming and diving rosters will redshirt the 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus.

Head coach Bob Bowman consulted with athletes and parents before the decision was finalized, according to an ASU announcement.

He told the team over a Zoom call on Sunday, according to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde.

“It’s been real tough for four months,” Bowman told Sports Illustrated. “The hardest part is no clarity, about anything. All our swimmers lost their NCAA (championships) last year. I’m not willing to let them lose two.”

Last season was interrupted and ultimately canceled by the pandemic before the championship competitions could take place.

The swim season typically starts in September and finishes in March, a longer competition schedule than most collegiate sports. The timing of the season makes it difficult to plan the operations amidst the pandemic.

That issue is magnified because the ASU aquatic facility remains closed less than two months before a typical season start date.

Bowman has not been able to train with his swimmers over the past four months.

ASU said the worry of cancellation and budgeting issues that come with the length and timing of the season played a role in the decision.

Many programs are considering not having competitions until January, according to SI. At that point, travel restrictions could still lead to canceled or altered events.

Additionally, though swimming and diving is a sport that has no contact between competitors, the pool itself creates a more hazardous environment than many other individual sports like golf or track and field.

Every member of the team will redshirt. ASU said this is possible with existing scholarship limits. The roster pages do not show any swim and dive athlete has redshirted a previous year.

“This was vetted on every level, through the Pac-12,” Bowman said to SI. “Everyone who hears it at first is like, ‘What?’ Then you look into it and it makes more sense.

“We have the money to cover it, to make it work. It provides an academic benefit, allowing everyone to concentrate on their studies and maybe leave here with a master’s degree. They have flexibility to train at home while taking online classes if they want, then come back at the semester break. And it helps us competitively—we’re going to be better as a team in 2021-22.”

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