ASU men's and women's swim and dive teams to redshirt 2020-21 season

The program will turn its focus to preparing for the 2021-22 season

The ASU swimming and diving team announced Sunday that all of the swimmers in the men's and women's programs will redshirt the 2020-21 season.

The decision, which gives all swimmers an extra year of eligibility to compete in NCAA competition, was made by head coach Bob Bowman. ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson had asked all of the department's head coaches to "find ways to make our programs stronger after the COVID-19 crisis."

"This decision clearly accomplishes that goal," Bowman said. "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."

Bowman, who consulted with the program's athletes and their families before making the decision, says the program will use the year off to train and prepare for the 2021-22 season.

"We are very confident in this plan and know it is the best interests of our program, our student-athletes and our athletic department," Bowman said. "Much thought went into it and we are excited to start working with a firm training calendar."

Anderson voiced his support of the decision, citing the academic benefits that an additional year at ASU would provide for each swimmer in the program.

"This unique approach will provide additional opportunities for these student-athletes to pursue educational endeavors," Anderson said. "Our goal as a department is to provide an elite student-athlete experience and this methodology will allow an additional year on campus for these student-athletes to train and achieve championship performance together, but also realize new academic goals."

An additional benefit of the decision is that it allows the many swimmers in the program extra time to prepare for the 2021 Olympic Trials, which are scheduled to start June 13, 2021.

"With a renewed clarity of purpose, we can shift our focus to long course swimming and preparation for the Olympic qualifying competitions next year," Bowman said. "We know this process will best prepare our team to excel at the highest levels of our sport and will take our program to the next level."

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