BUFFALO, NY (UB Athletics) - The University at Buffalo men's and women's swimming and diving teams are showing their support for the University of Maryland men's and women's swimming and diving programs by joining in the effort to "Save the Terps."
Maryland officials recently recommended the reduction of six varsity programs, including men's and women's swimming, from the sports offered at the Atlantic Coast Conference school. After the announcement was made, a grassroots effort to save the program was begun by Ashley Miller, a University of Maryland-Baltimore County swimmer. Miller asked varsity swim teams from throughout the country to take a picture with their teams and fans showing support for Terrapin swimmers and coaches.
Following UB's meet against Colgate on Saturday, November 12, the Bulls' men's and women's teams got together for a team photo to support the Maryland program. A website has been created to show the photos and drum up support for the Maryland program at www.saveumdswimming.org.
UB assistant coach Will Bernhardt commented on the team's effort to help their fellow swimmers. "I think it is very important to help any program in need or facing cuts. In the current financial climate of college athletics today you never know when the next team will be on the so-called 'chopping block'. Administrators are faced with tough decisions and eliminations to save money. Too many times it seems that swimming and diving are the first sports to be looked at. Swimming is a very tight and small community so whenever one of our fellow programs needs support or assistance we are quick to do whatever it takes to try to save a fellow program. The UB swimming and diving teams are hopeful that our small gesture can help in the bigger cause of saving the Maryland program."
Bernhardt stressed that collegiate programs are a major contributor to the swim world. "American college swimming is a major reason why our Olympic teams are so strong and competitive worldwide," he said. "If schools continue to eliminate college swimming as an option, I strongly believe our Olympic performances will begin to suffer. The majority of Olympic coaches for swimming are current or former collegiate coaches."
Maryland's men's program was begun in 1956 while the women's program was started in 1978. The Terrapins have claimed seven men's and one women's ACC Championhip. The women's team is currently ranked 19th in the latest CSCAA poll. Away from the pool, the two teams maintain GPA and graduation rates that are amongst the best at Maryland.