‘There’s no way to prepare for that’: SPASH’s Gilbertson left in tough spot after Iowa drops swim team


The news hit Kennedy Gilbertson like a tidal wave.

The 2019 Stevens Point Area Senior High graduate had just returned to the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City on Friday and had moved in to her near-campus housing to begin her sophomore season as a member of the Hawkeyes’ women’s swim team when she learned of the school’s decision to discontinue the sport.

Three other sports – men’s gymnastics, men’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis – were also cut due to funding issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The school said the four programs will have the opportunity to compete in their upcoming 2020-21 seasons, if the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 permit, before they are discontinued.

It all left Gilbertson in a precarious position with regards to her future. 

“I’m sitting in my empty room and I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ ” Gilbertson said in a phone interview Saturday. “There’s no way to prepare for that.”

Read Stevens Point Journal

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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