by Amy Moritz
USA Synchro, the organization that serves as the national governing body for synchronized swimming in the United States, released a statement about the recent decision of Canisius College to move the sport from varsity to club status for next season:
"We at USA Synchro are heartbroken to learn that Canisius College will be demoting one of the most successful sports in its collegiate history from varsity to club status. We believe that athletics is about achieving excellence, and the synchronized swimming team has done just that. No sport in the college's history has achieved the number of all-Americans and national medal winners as has Canisius College synchronized swimming, which recently finished fourth at an NCAA national competition."
Executive director Julie Swarts urged athletes, coaches and fans of the sport to contact Canisius athletics director Bill Maher.
In her statement Swarts also wrote:
"Synchronized swimming is a sport on the rise. Over the past five years, the number of members has steadily continued to rise in the U.S. We believe collegiate synchronized swimming is just coming into its own promoting excellent athletes and outstanding students. We hope Mr. Maher will hear the synchro community, the potential loss for his institution, and reconsider the status of this wonderful program."
For the record, the NCAA dropped the sport of synchronized swimming from its emerging sport list in 2010. The NCAA does not sponsor a championship for the sport at any level. Since losing emerging sport status in 2010 other schools which have removed synchronized swimming from its varsity program include the University of Alabama, Birmingham and Keuka.
Canisius College can still participate in the U.S. Collegiate Nationals, sponsored by USA Synchro, and other meets across the country. The program, however, will not receive financial assistance from the Canisius athletic department including student-athlete scholarships.