We reach back into the archives to remember the dark days when DOCTOR Gross announced that he was shuttering the Syracuse Swimming & Diving Programs. Gross and the administration cited the need for new facilities that the University just wasn't ready to invest in as the main reason for the move. It was a decision that saw the Executive Director of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America calling for Gross' head.
Eventually it became clear that the decision was final. The one saving grace was that current swimmers would be able to finish out their careers with the university. The final home meet took place Feb. 4-5 against Villanova and Providence and the school's final participation in Big East championships takes place this weekend. After that, there's an outside chance team member Kuba Kotynia has a chance to compete in the NCAA championships in March. If he doesn't qualify, that will be that for Syracuse.
Like many successful programs at Syracuse, the swimming & diving programs have been under the stewardship of one of our own. Lou Walker was a two-time team captain who set seven school records during his time here in the early-mid 70's. He soon took over as the head coach shortly thereafter and has overseen things since. In that time, most of Syracuse's best all-time swimmers have been breaking records and winning accolades.
Walker is the one who has to lock the door for a final time. He didn't get a fair shake but he's leaving Syracuse with the knowledge that he carried on a great tradition and represented the school extremely well.
"This pool has had a lot of memorable moments," Walker said. "And we've had a lot of great people come through this program. That's what I'll remember most."
Good work, Coach Walker. And good work to all the swimmers & divers. We salute you.