The University of Colorado‘s club swim team placed first overall at the 2012 East Coast Nationals last weekend, two years after being disqualified from American Swimming Association for inappropriate behavior.
The CU team cut ties with the American Swimming Association in 2010 after the competition barred three Buffs from competing, who wrote letters to the organization before nationals expressing concerns for the way the competitions were staged. Neither CU nor the association would elaborate on what was deemed inappropriate.
This marks the second consecutive national title won by the team since it’s expulsion from the American Swimming Association in 2010.
Prior to the disqualification, the CU team won four consecutive national titles with the American Swimming Association.
CU sophomore Alex Mitoma said the team has won nationals in six of the last seven years.
“I wasn’t here the year the team was disqualified but I know it was about taking a stand against the organization which is no longer hosting a national competition,” Mitoma said. “The disqualification did not speak to our reputation or the quality of the team and I think that was made clear by the last two wins.”
East Coast Nationals has replaced the American Swimming Association as the club swimming nationals, Mitoma said.
The competition continues to get tougher every year, he said, with varsity program across the country losing funding sending varsity-level swimmers to compete at the club level.
The women took first place while the men took second at last weekend’s competition but Mitoma said it was the diving team that pushed the Buffs into first overall.
“The competition was really close but the divers created the gap that really put us ahead,” Mitoma said.
The University of Florida came in second overall creating a close competition for the Buffs.
Bruce Deakyne, CU junior and club president, said the meet was the largest collegiate club meet in history so it was a good time for CU swimmers to strut their stuff.
“The Buffs broke 11 team records and five meet records, winning 11 events in total,” Deakyne said.
“This was the most competitive national club meet we have ever attended,” Deakyne said. “The team picked up momentum on the first night and kept the lead though the meet.”
Mitoma said he expects future competitions to get more difficult but with consistent coaching and support, he predicts the Buffs will continue to win.
“Scott, our swim coach, he’s the first coach that’s stayed for more than a year in a while,” Mitoma said. “I don’t think he’s going anywhere and the consistency he creates for us is great.”
Diving coach, Gevin Votaw, has been with the team for nearly 20 years, Mitoma said, and the talent of the diving team is an example of what can be accomplished when a team sees constant support and training.