Siloam Springs, Ark. (January 15, 2008) - On Tuesday, Jan. 15, John Brown University Director of Athletics Robyn Gordon announced that JBU will discontinue its women’s swimming program at the end of the school year.
“This was a hard decision,” said Gordon. “Over the last three years, we’ve been evaluating our program and watching what is happening to swimming at the national level. With only twenty-eight women's teams in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and none in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC), we really feel this is the right decision.”
Gordon added that for the past several years JBU has had to compete against numerous schools of higher classification which leads to unbalanced competition.
“We want athletics to be challenging and a great experience for our student-athletes,” commented Gordon. “But the closest NAIA school with a swimming program is 350 miles to our east. With no other NAIA programs in the area, we have been swimming on an unequal platform.” With several student-athletes affected by the change, JBU plans to honor all scholarships of those who remain at the university through their senior year. JBU will also grant releases to any athlete who chooses to transfer to another university to continue swimming. The program, which began in 1984, will hold a final home meet on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. Head coach Shawn Toenyes hopes to have widespread support as the ladies plunge into the waters for their final lap at JBU. “Not only will this be our only home meet this year, but it will be the end of an era,” said Toenyes. “I am very proud to be a representative of JBU swimming and extremely proud of my swimmers who are ambassadors of God and John Brown University. They are true champions in every aspect of the word.” With the elimination of the women’s swim program, Gordon says that JBU will continue seeking ways that allow JBU student-athletes the opportunity to grow through competition. “Intercollegiate athletics at John Brown University is considered an integral part of the educational and community experience,” said Gordon. “Being the best is not always possible. But doing our best must always be the goal.”