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Waves of Wilmington fights to keep swimming alive

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The proposed cuts from the UNCW Athletic Department may affect more than just the University. The trickle down affect could hurt swimming programs like Waves of Wilmington.

More than 250 students, parents and coaches joined forces tonight at the UNCW natatorium to show their support for the University’s Swimming and Diving programs. Programs some say help save lives.

It was practice as normal for the members of Waves of Wilmington Swim Team Tuesday evening. The only difference was the hundreds of parents and community members cheering them on.

"I think it's important because it teaches them life skills, time management skills and holds them accountable to be something beyond themselves,” Sokolofsky said.

David Sokolofsky is the head coach and Chief Operations Officer for Waves of Wilmington. He says the swimming and diving programs at UNCW are vital to our community.

"It goes beyond UNCW Swimming and Diving. It affects the entire community. There are so many branches to this UNCW Swimming and Diving family that it really does affect the entire community,” Sokolfsky said.

Branches that include area lifeguards responsible for keeping are beaches safe. David Baker is the Ocean Rescue Director for Wrightsville Beach and says swimming programs definitely save lives.

"Currently almost a third of our staff is former or current swimmers. Just this weekend alone we had 58 rescues, and of that UNCW swimmers were an important part of saving a life," Baker said.

Supporters say cutting the UNCW Swimming and Diving Team will hurt not only the university but swimmers of all ages.

John Pelizzari is the swimming coach at Ashley High School and a parent of a teenager who swims on the Waves of Wilmington Swim Team.

"As a high school coach my high school swimmers may not have a place to swim and further down the road it might be that we don't have high school swimming here anymore mainly because we don't have a facility and we don't have any place to send them, too," Pelizzari said.

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Here's your chance

I still have not heard the following:

"We the swim and dive team boosters, in conjunction with Waves of Wilmington have raised $200,000 to off set losses the UNCW swim and dive team incur. This should assist UNCW in KEEPING the S+D team here on campus as a viable athletic department offering, and at the same time keeping out pool in use by outside groups."

Before you all jump down my throat think of Athletics as YOUR BUSINESS, or YOUR COMPANY.
Make the cuts or increase the business activity.
Make the cuts and announce the lay offs
BE SPECIFIC.
You're spending MY TAX DOLLARS its MY BUSINESS.
I support higher education and believe in it 100%. I like collegiate athletics and I know they lose money but c'mon guys and gals - you're being selfish.
Save the program.

Vog

It is true that UNCW

It is true that UNCW Swimming & Diving has not raised the money to offset their deficit. But shouldn't we also ask why the basketball teams have not raised the money to cover their 2.3 million dollar deficit.

Shut down the basketball team

How about shutting down the basketball team or asking it's highly overpaid, woefully underperforming coach to take a paycut?