Dori Bland practices with the CU club swim team last week prior to the squad s ill-fated trip to nationals in Atlanta.
Dori Bland practices with the CU club swim team last week prior to the squad s ill-fated trip to nationals in Atlanta. ( MARK LEFFINGWELL )

The University of Colorado's club swim team is looking for a new league to compete in after its bid for a fifth-straight national championship ended with the Buffs' expulsion from competition last weekend.

Campus officials said CU's co-ed Swim and Dive Club will "break all ties" with the American Swimming Association's University League after the team was disqualified for what the league termed "inappropriate behavior" before Sunday's final races at the national championships in Atlanta.

Cheryl Kent, CU's director of Recreational Services, said the Buffs' swimmers did nothing wrong at the American Swimming Association meet, and added that team officials still aren't entirely sure why the squad was sent home.

"Our students did not do anything that would warrant them being asked to leave the competition," Kent said. "It's really unfortunate for the students and their families who came to support them."

Several student swimmers contacted Monday declined to discuss the Atlanta meet, saying they had been told by CU administrators not to disclose any information. Lindsay Spangler, the club's president, said she couldn't discuss the Buffs' disqualification due to "possible legal implications."

Reached Monday, Keith Bell, president of the American Swimming Association, said the Buffs likely will not be allowed back because of the team's "inappropriate behavior" in Atlanta, although he declined to elaborate.

Bell did say, however, that three of CU's 44 swimmers were declared ineligible to compete prior to the meet last week because those students "engaged in activities that put them in bad standing with the organization." He did not offer details.

CU's Kent said she believes the three Buffs -- whom neither side identified -- were barred from the national championships because they wrote letters to the American Swimming Association suggesting changes in the way the organization stages its competitions.

Once the rest of the team was in Atlanta and the meet was underway, Kent said, the Buffs' coach raised safety concerns about new race procedures implemented by the swimming association -- something she believes led to the team's eventual disqualification. Bell declined to address why CU was expelled.

CU's swim club won the national title in each of the first four years of the swim league's existence, and was competing for its fifth straight title last weekend. Following the Buffs' disqualification, the University of Florida's team won the championship.

The Buffs plan to find another league to compete in that they feel better suits students' needs, Kent said.