UConn Swim Club will miss Nationals without adequate practice space

The University of Connecticut Swim Club will have to miss out on competing at Nationals this year due to practice cuts. They have been denied access to the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium for team practices.

The Swim Club has 62 members, and have regularly placed in the top 10 at nationals.

“In past years, we have practiced four times a week in the natatorium,” said Zach Smith, an eighth semester International Relations major and the Swim Club President. “This year they cut our practice time down to two days a week.”

Smith has been working with the school for eight months to try to gain more access to the natatorium. Despite these attempts, the Swim Club was moved to the recreational center pool for spring semester, cutting their possible practice times to an hour and a half on Mondays and two hours on Saturdays.

“It is pretty appalling that we are put in the rec pool as opposed to the natatorium where we have been for the previous seasons,” Smith said. “In past years, we have shared the pool with Bob Goldberg’s (UConn Swim Team’s head coach) rec team for local kids in the community.”

Goldberg said he no longer schedules outside groups. That duty has been passed along to the Atheltics Facilities Office.

“I do not know why there was a change,” Goldberg said.

The Athletics Facilities Office, Student Activities and Club Sports are all responsible for organizing club sports, but the Athletics Facilities Office has control over where and when different club sports can practice and compete.

The pool is split into two sections during the second week in October, when the official times are given to respective teams.

“The irony is that there is so little dialogue between departments. We have the funding to go to nationals from USG, but we do not have the pool access from athletics, so we can’t go. Everyone seems to be on a different page,” Smith said.

Nationals will be held this year in Atlanta, Georgia where over 70 teams from all over the country will be competing without the UConn Swim Club.

“Not being able to go to Nationals is heartbreaking. I have been looking forward to going since the beginning of the fall semester,” said Danielle Koubek, a second semester pre-pharmacy student. “All of the upperclassman who had gone in previous years explained to us that it was one of the best experiences of their time in college. As a freshman, I feel that I have been robbed of an opportunity to have an amazing experience.”