Came the news today that Cal State Northridge will cut its swimming programs after this season. Athletic Director Rick Mazzuto cited the continuing statewide financial crisis as the reason.
It is truly unfortunate. The swim programs were the most successful at the university dating back to the Division II days. The programs won more national titles than any other sport -- 13, nine men's and four women's under legendary coach Pete Accardy, who almost single-handedly built the program. Wonder how he's feeling today?
Another reason to be disappointed: The Matadors had just broken five team records at the Big West Conference meet. Junior Yulia Gavrilova won the 200 butterfly in 2:00.9, setting a school record in the process. Gavrilova also now owns the 100 backstroke record with a time of 55.55. Earlier in the meet, she set the record with a time of 55.93. The previous school best had stood for six years. And she became the first Matador swimmer since 2004 to win a conference title when she finished first in the 100 butterfly in a school-record 54.47.
The final school record set came in the 200 medley relay, as Gavrilova (who broke the 100 backstroke record here, too), Kimmy Rashleigh, Olesya Senicheva and Lysandra Carter-Aaron swam 3:52.64, smashing a record that had stood since 1988.
The school's own Web site even says that this season was "one of the most successful in the program's history." Now, it's gone. The university figures to save $300,000 once the swimmers have exhausted their eligibility and all scholarships have been paid out.
This is the second major program to be cut, after football in 2001. But football was never as successful as swimming.