Arizona State Redshirts Entire Swim and Dive Teams

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As colleges continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, Arizona State has come up with a creative solution to help its championship caliber swimming and diving teams: redshirting their entire rosters.

The move will allow the entire team to focus on training during the 2020-21 season, and return to competition in 2021-22 — which serves the dual purpose of providing student-athletes with an extra year on campus with which to pursue a graduate degree, as well as saving on total-team travel costs during a turbulent time for college athletics.

"In March, Ray Anderson challenged all Sun Devil head coaches to find ways to make our programs stronger after the COVID-19 crisis," head swimming and diving coach Bob Bowman explained in a release announcing the move. "This decision clearly accomplishes that goal. It promotes the health and safety of our student-athletes, enhances their educational opportunities and allows time to rebuild and refocus on performing at the highest levels of NCAA competition."

Sports Illustrated reports that the 2020 NCAA championships were cancelled, and that student-athletes were not granted an additional year of eligibility to compensate. “All our swimmers lost their NCAA (championships) last year. I'm not willing to let them lose two," Bowman told Sports Illustrated. The redshirt decision allows affected student-athletes to continue to train — both for NCAA and Olympic-level competition — without sacrificing a year of eligibility amid the ongoing pandemic. 

According to Bowman, the Sun Devils’ aquatics facilities have been closed, meaning that his teams are unable to train with him on campus. That, plus the uncertainty of the season schedule, made the decision to move toward redshirting an attractive prospect.

"Our teams and our program are in great shape,” Bowman said. “It is the summer of 2020 and some additional things have to be considered. We are very confident in this plan and know it is the best interests of our program, our student-athletes and our athletic department. Much thought went into it and we are excited to start working with a firm training calendar."

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