FAU Swimming & Diving considering other conferences

Spurred on by a recent controversy at Western Kentucky, FAU Swimming & Diving may leave its conference in search of calmer waters


Max Jackson

FAU head swim coach Lara Preacco. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Emily Creighton, Features Editor

In light of the recent controversy surrounding the Western Kentucky University Swimming and Diving Team, Florida Atlantic Swimming and Diving

is rumored to be looking to leave Conference USA.

On April 14, Western Kentucky addressed a police report regarding the hazing of swim team members. The report revealed hazing strategies such as force drinking to the point of passing out, and nude pictures of inebriated team members being taken and posted on picture boards.

As a result, the school has suspended the team for five years and has terminated head swim coach Bruce Marchionda, assistant coach Brian Thomas and diving coach Chelsea Ale.

Six teams currently compete in the Women’s division in C-USA with the loss of Western Kentucky, including Florida International University, North Texas, Marshall, Old Dominion University, Rice and FAU.

Meanwhile the Owls competed with WKU and ODU in Conference USA Men’s Swim and Dive, which does not have a sponsored championship in C-USA. With Western Kentucky out of the picture, only FAU and ODU have swim teams with a male squad.

This has moved head swim coach Lara Preacco to push for a change. She has supposedly been in talks with school officials and Athletic Director Pat Chun since Monday, April 13. Right now, they are looking at all possibilities according to an anonymous source close to the team, who says the American Conference or Mid-Atlantic Conference are looking as the best possible fit for the team should they leave.

“Program decisions like that are not made by the coach, but would be a collective decision based on research and thought in conjunction with C-USA. The only person to make a comment on this would be Patrick Chun, VP and Director of Athletics. At this time it is a non-issue. If Conference USA sponsors, we compete in C-USA,” said Katrina McCormack from FAU Athletics Media Relations.

The source also said, “We’re in Conference USA right now and it sucks, because the men don’t even get a conference because it’s such few teams. We were looking into a few conferences and The American Conference looks like a good fit … or Mid-Atlantic Conference. But we really have no idea. Both of those would be great … Lara [Preacco] was talking to the people over at the Oxley yesterday [April 14] and Monday.”

On behalf of ODU Athletics, Senior Associate Athletic Director Debbie White said, “Old Dominion University athletics has no comment on the decision to drop swimming and diving at Western Kentucky University.”

Athletic Director Pat Chun was unable to be reached for a comment as of publication time.

Check upressonline.com for updates.