(PHOTO CREDIT: MCTCAMPUS)
For one year and counting, Stony Brook students have been denied a new swimming pool due to “insufficient funding.” (PHOTO CREDIT: MCTCAMPUS)

The time has come for us, as a university, to all jointly shift our interest from football to netball. Football has been held at center stage in our lives here at Stony Brook, for perhaps too long. We have reached the occasion to finally switch teams (or more accurately, sports). Football has basked in the sun for a good many years now, but I say enough is enough. It has been fun, truly, yet I think it is time that we put an end to this whole football thing. And what better way to do just that than to introduce netball into our humble abode? Or even badminton?  Both respectable sports, aren’t they? Well, no, of course they are not, at least, not in comparison with football (which, from what I have been told, pales in significance to the glory that is the all-American sport). It has been established, beyond doubt, that not all sports are treated equally, or at least not with the same level of concern or general significance. For instance, it is never going to be read in the news that our national golf team has been shockingly exposed for using steroids in past performances (well, to be fair- you have not seen the way I play golf).

Yet, does this fact correlate with Stony Brook University’s complete lack of funding for our school swimming pool? If swimming or diving were to be more popular, there might be further effort put into accommodating these athletes. If our football or soccer team required a new field, wouldn’t there be greater impetus for providing for these teams?

The Dean and Vice President of External Relations say that it is an issue of capital funding. The pool was shut down in 2012 due to inadequate safety conditions, and plans for restoration were put into effect for the subsequent academic year. However, due to Stony Brook’s refined craft of impeccable timing, maintenance fees were heavily cut during this interim, and the intended $10 million provisions project was put on what was known as a temporary hiatus. As of this year, however, the status of temporary has transitioned to “permanent competitive hiatus”- which, to be honest, sounds practically noxious. What a harrowing state to be in! A note (made public by Swim Swam writer, Braden Keith) sent out by the Office of the Vice President for External Relations had this to say about the current affair: “Although the timeline for securing the estimated $10 million to renovate the pool is uncertain, design for the renovation will be completed this semester, and we are working with SUNY System Administration and other state officials to identify support as SUNY’s Capital plan is finalized.”

While the thought of students switching their favored sport from football to something else entirely seems laughable, it has become a cruel reality for the erstwhile members of the Stony Brook Swim or Diving Teams. In this scenario, they would either need to engender a completely new interest for some other sport, cease swimming altogether, or transfer.  Our faculty has apparently even encouraged the latter decision in the note previously mentioned: “… we will allow them to make the best decisions in support of their individual athletic and academic futures. For swimming or diving student-athletes who choose to stay at Stony Brook, we will honor all current athletic scholarships and will continue to receive academic support and student-athlete welfare services. For any swimming or diving student-athletes who wish to pursue the opportunity to transfer to another institution, we will support their unconditional release.”  Not even their excessive use of the word “support” in this apology can eliminate the feeling of a cease and desist letter.

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When asked about the lack of sufficient funds for the school swimming pool, Chris Brandenberger, interim head coach of the swimming team, stated in dismay, “No, we haven’t started construction.  I have completely no idea when the renovation will take place. Unfortunate, that’s just how it is right now.”

While there is no actual picture of a pool on the Stony Brook Seawolves Swimming and Diving team website, there is a picture of a huddled conglomerate of slightly damp university students smiling and laughing – a sight I am sure this campus has not witnessed since 2011. Only the most amoral individuals (the SUNY System Administration) would want to omit such a view from our respected university. I suppose there is no reason to be dramatic about this decision; their options are not completely limited. The swim team could always practice at the Stony Brook Village pier and docking station. This may even enhance their athletic prowess by teaching them to avoid certain impediments, such as actual moving boats, or geese.  No, what an absurd idea – SUNY would never extend us the capital funds to provide for the transportation.

There is, of course, a less extreme alternative. Our swimmers could always practice at the Stony Brook Hilton Garden Inn. Our on-campus hotel is equipped with its own pool, but not the actual university itself, which is great news. We are terribly lavish and well supplied for anyone who cares to visit, but not for the actual residents themselves. Not to mention, the Hilton is also furnished with a jacuzzi, workout room and their very own “relax lounge” (my suitemates are planning to book an overnight stay only to have access to a pool and all other complimentary services listed and provided by that gorgeous haven).

MoveOn.org Petitions versed many students with the details of our swimming and diving team debacle, this due to the entreaty titled “Stony Brook University On Campus Pool Renovation” dating from this year’s month of April.  Two thousand and sixty-two signatures have been met out of the 3000 desired to reach their goal. Carol Wu commented as the 2054th petition signer, “Want to swim!!!”  Don’t we all, Carol.  She has voiced the tribulation of what many Stony Brook students are facing today. The recreation center can only be viewed in one light: our status of “permanent competitive hiatus” persists to hang in the balance.

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The good news, however, is that netball is in season. Probably.

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