Swimming

SMU Women’s Swim Roster Decimated by Cuts, Transfers, Graduations Ahead of ACC Move

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By Riley Overend on SwimSwam

Ozzie Quevedo appears to be doing his best Deion Sanders impression in his first year as the head women’s swimming coach at SMU.

Sources tell SwimSwam that a mass exodus of cuts and transfers have left the former Alabama associate head coach with just seven women remaining on his roster, down from the 34 he started with last fall. And unlike Coach Prime, Quevedo only has a handful of replacements lined up for next season.

About a dozen of the departures are seniors and graduate students who are naturally wrapping up their time in Dallas. But eight women — five juniors and three sophomores, including a big-time transfer — were cut despite their plans to return next season.

Another group of seven women, including Paraguayan Olympian and two-time NCAA qualifier Luana Alonso, have been off the roster since December due to differences with Quevedo, according to sources close to the program. SMU freshman Madison Patel announced her transfer to Rollins College just before Christmas.

One of the Mustangs’ two individual champions in the pool at February’s American Athletic Conference (AAC) Championships, freestyle specialist and 2023 AAC Swimmer of the Year Lucrezia Napoletano, is also in the transfer portal with plans to leave the program. SMU won’t have much time to rebuild before joining the ACC this summer, where powerhouse programs such as Virginia, NC State, Cal, and Stanford will be waiting for the Mustangs.

SMU deputy athletic director Brad Sutton told SwimSwam the roster turnover was “not unexpected” and that evaluating roster size after the season concludes “does not paint an accurate picture.”

“With incoming transfers and freshmen, we expect to have a roster size around 20 in the fall, with a few more possibly joining for the championship season,” Sutton said.

It is unclear how the Mustangs are planning to almost double their roster size over the offseason. They have two high school recruits — Teia Salvino, who flipped her commitment from Alabama, and Summer Osborne, a New Zealand native — after anticipated 2024 prospect Colombia’s Isabella Bedoya joined the roster early during the 2023-24 season. Izzy Krantzcke is slated to arrive as a transfer from Arizona State, but sources indicated that Missouri graduate transfer CJ Kovac will not be swimming for SMU next season as expected, with speculation that she might serve as a graduate assistant instead.

Diving coach Darian Schmidt also recruited three divers to bolster the Mustangs’ roster next season: Sadie Klepfer, Natalie Stubbs, and Reagan Evans. That means the SMU women could only have 13 on their roster next season unless they find more reinforcements in a hurry.

Quevedo took over the SMU women’s team last year from longtime head coach Steve Collins, who led the program for 37 years. Quevedo’s first recruiting class featured five high school recruits and one transfer. At the time, he called the group “a special one because it will set the foundation for what’s coming next.” Only one swimmer of the six now remains with the Mustangs.

The SMU women placed 2nd at ACCs behind FIU in Quevedo’s first season at the helm. The Mustangs did not qualify anyone for NCAAs after sending one swimmer last year.

Sutton clarified that any changes to the men’s roster “are just a ‘right-sizing’ of the roster following several years of student-athletes having additional ‘COVID years’ to compete as well as our entry into the ACC” — not Title IX cuts because the women’s roster was decimated.

“It’s a matter of being efficient with our resources — not just fiscal resources, but coaching time as well — in our efforts to build a championship contender,” Sutton said.

SwimSwam: SMU Women’s Swim Roster Decimated by Cuts, Transfers, Graduations Ahead of ACC Move

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