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Student athletes should not be excuses for Sears Cup

Athletic Council Chair Kathleen Smith's remarks on the Sears Cup only serves to show how "marginal" her opinion really is of student-athletes. I find it difficult to believe that "no one in the University cares about" our team. Considering our team consists of over 50 Duke students and we had a packed house for our only home meet this semester, I would say a few hundred care.

Maybe I should point out that at Stanford, a national powerhouse for swimming, a home to several Olympic swimmers and coaches, and the Sears Cup champion multiple times over, swimming is one of the most popular and cared about sports on campus.

Furthermore, I find it hard to comprehend why the Athletic Council would allege that athletes such as ourselves are academically marginal, when at the beginning of the school year, both the men's and women's swim teams received national recognition from College Swimming Coaches Association of America for having two of the highest grade point averages of any swim team in the nation. I guess spending 20 hours per week training, spending many weekends away at swim meets, holding down part time jobs, being members of fraternity/sororities and maintaining our high GPAs do make us students of limited capability. I find it strange I don't hear other schools insulting their student-athletes' academic capabilities and propounding negative commentary about their athletic teams.

Instead of using their student-athletes and smaller sports programs as excuses about letting other schools beat us in the Sears Cup, I suggest Duke and the Athletic Council strive to make us as competitive as possible.

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