Skudin, swimmers: No hard feelings

The athletic administration announced that the swimming programwould be cut a little over one year ago. Also announced were theaddition of a men’s lacrosse team and the transformation of theswimming pool into a weight-training center.

After St. John’s defeated Stony Brook Saturday afternoon, theUniversity and athletic department held a reception for former andcurrent swimmers as well as coaches at Marillac Terrace.

An hour before attending the gathering, St. John’s head coachJohn Skudin and a few of his swimmers had their opportunity tospeak their mind.

But Skudin and the swimmers decided not to tarnish the memorablematinee that had just finished moments earlier, as they took thehigher road.

“It’s not a time to be bitter,” said Skudin, who is thankful tothe university for upholding their commitment to the swimmersacademically, by allowing swimmers to retain theirscholarships.

“It just isn’t. It is what it is. You have to go on in life,” hecontinued. “You have to keep your chin up and you have to behavelike you’re supposed to behave.

“Of course I don’t agree with what they did. You do the best jobyou can with the cards that are dealt to you and we’re trying to dothat.”

Laura Nuudi didn’t feel the need to bash the university whereshe has broken records as a swimmer.

“[There are] probably a lot of hard feelings but we’re biggerpeople,” she said. “All of us, so we’re not going to say anything.We’re just trying to leave with honor.”

Beth Malinowski believed St. John’s did everything possible tomake this as good as a situation as this could be.

“I think they handled it in the best manner that they could,”the senior said. “It’s sad no matter what.”

For them, the hardest thing to cope with, besides that therewill be no swimming at Alumni Hall next year for the first time in39 years, is the fact that the records-board will come down.

“Our names are on that record board,” Malinowski said. “I thinkthat’s the saddest part for us.”

While Skudin and current swimmers held no anger towards theuniversity, Chris O’Connell, who graduated from St. John’s in 1972after swimming four years spoke a different tune.

“I’m very sorry about the whole thing and Title IX and the factthat we [St. John’s] had to drop swimming,” O’Connell said. “I’mvery disappointed with the athletic department and theadministration.”