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Swim team’s decline muddled in rumors

There is a special room in the Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center, whose golden days have clearly swum by. The few who notice it are enthralled by the mysterious disappearance of the athletes who once brought vibrant life to the ORU pool.

One popular rumor is the pool is not competition length. While the long edge of the pool measures 50 meters, the discrepancy lies in the end-toend measurement of the length across the middle of the pool. According to faculty member Roger Bush, who has been at ORU for 44 years, a tornado hit the Athletic Center in 1975, one week before the AC opened its doors for the first time. The tornado damaged the pool. Although repairs were made, the pool was left with its ends bowed inward, making it a few centimeters short of being a 50-meter, Olympic-size pool. Rumor has it, this lack of length made the pool unfit for intercollegiate competitive swimming. The inadequate pool length is not the reason there is no swim team. According to Bush, the ORU swim team still existed after this disastrous event and used the AC pool for training.

The disappearance of the swim team began in 1989 when ORU had to make serious budget cuts to it athletic programs. The university cut several women’s teams and lowered the operating expenses of several male teams including the swim team.

“We came very close to closing it down altogether. The university must never go under, and as much as we love athletics, we are not willing to sacrifice the university for them,” said Chancellor Oral Roberts in the 1989 edition of the Tulsa World.

The official reason the swim team is no more is unclear. It seems budget cuts are the most probable cause.

The hope is someday the Golden Eagles will once again take to the water, and make the enigmatic room in the Aerobic Center come alive.

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