Lizzotte deserves to be UMaine swim coach

Posted March 16, 2010, at 12:55 a.m.
Last modified Oct. 19, 2010, at 10:19 a.m.

As the parents of a former UMaine swimmer, we have been watching, with great excitement, the progress of the UMaine swim team this year. For those who don’t follow swimming, the athletes were left without a coach at the very beginning of their season this year. Assistant coach Susie Lizzotte stepped up and led the team until she was named interim head coach in late October.

As coach Lizzotte stated in an article in the BDN March 5, she changed the team’s approach to training. Whatever she has done, it is working as is evidenced by the results of the America East Championship in Boston. The team broke six school records, one that had been on the board since 1979, and had phenomenal swims throughout the four-day meet. Not all the records were broken by up-and-coming new swimmers either. Several were broken by seniors, who are obviously flourishing under coach Lizzotte’s tutelage.

Our purpose in writing this letter is twofold. First, we would like to congratulate the Maine swimmers on a great season and thank coach Lizzotte for being such a great support for Maine’s student athletes. Our second purpose is to bring these accomplishments to the attention of the university and the public. We are hoping the University of Maine Athletic Department sees fit to give credit where it is due and take “interim” out of Susie’s title. She is obviously the right person to lead the UMaine swim team forward.

Joseph and Barbara Quinn
Bangor

Title IX killed men’s swimming at UMaine
I congratulate University of Maine Back Bear, Jeremy Bender, for his personal record and record swim in the 400-yard individual medley.

However, if one looks more indepth at his accomplishment (i.e. breaking a 32-year-old record), it represents a sign of the times: The systematic dismantling of NCAA men’s Olympic sports (i.e., swimming, wrestling, gymnastics, track and field, cross country running, tennis, golf, etc.) to accommodate NCAA women’s sports.

The Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 were amended in 1975 to include high school and collegiate athletics, as per the following statement: “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

While Title IX, in principle, emancipated young women athletes, it has absolutely — and efficiently — compromised NCAA men’s Olympic sports and catapulted both women’s sports and men’s revenue-generating sports (football, basketball, ice hockey and in a few cases, baseball). For example, Bill Byrne, current athletic director at Texas A&M, left a swath of destruction when he cut men’s and women’s swimming at the University of Oregon (1986) and University of Nebraska men’s swimming (2002).

Title IX, enforced at the University of Maine, effectively and efficiently killed men’s swimming and diving. If former UMaine coaches Alan Switzer and Jeff Wren had been given a budget similar to that of women’s swimming and diving, my 32-year-old 400 IM record would have been smashed decades ago. The scholarship awards and operating expenses would have attracted young men with similar or greater abilities to bring that record down!

It is paradoxical that the very constitutional amendment (Title IX) supported by the feminists (National Organization for Women) is the ultimate discriminatory tool against their better half!

Don Winant
Spokane, Wash.

Note to readers: The BDN reserves the right to edit submissions for libel, taste, clarity, and to fit available space. Letters should include a signature, full name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters may be mailed to: P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402, or e-mailed: bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

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