Several weeks ago, a senior member of Keene State’s men’s swim and dive team Kyle Shadeck decided to depart from the team. This decision came only weeks into Shadeck’s returning season after he decided to take the season off last year to focus on mental health.
Shadeck’s full statement and reason for his early retirement is as follows:
“There were several reasons for my departure, one of which being wanting to focus on completing my degree to prepare for my next chapter. However, one of my main reasons for my early retirement was due to a lack of respect I feel I received from both within the team and from the athletic department. For instance, it has been nearly 21 months since I set the school mark [record] in the 200 fly back in February of 2018 and to this day my record still is not on the school record board. To me, that shows a lack of appreciation for the time and effort I put in to represent this program especially since the pool that I set that record in, University of Rhode Island, had updated its board with my achievement months ago. Keene State has had a very high caliber of performance in the pool for the last decade and I made my decision to come here because I wanted to continue the tradition of excellence. However, for the past few years, I felt that my goals to represent Keene at the national level were not paid attention to thus making me feel like the previous values of high performance and achievement were gone and my goals to compete for Keene at the highest stage were overlooked. While I do still have a passion for the sport, I simply refuse to continue to represent a program that has not shown me the respect that I felt I worked so hard for as an athlete.”
Shadeck set the school record in the 200-meter butterfly back in February of 2018 during his sophomore year at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships. His time of 1:49.18 beat out the previous record of 1:51.41, set by Cole Hogg in 2015. His time also beat out the previous NEISDA Championship meet record set by Keene State alum Drew Ludwith back in 2012. Shadeck’s time also set a pool record at the University of Rhode Island.
The record board Shadeck refers to, found on the pool deck in Spaulding Gymnasium, was last updated with records set in 2017.
Keene State College’s Athletics Director Phil Racicot responded to Shadeck’s statement, saying, “It was unfortunate to learn that Kyle decided to step away from the team again, but we certainly respect his decision. It is always our goal to fully support the effort and commitment that student-athletes put forth to succeed and for their experience to be special. An important part of this is to recognize their achievements appropriately. Being new to Keene State, I was not aware that Kyle’s record performance has not been appropriately displayed. I’m sure that nothing intentional has occurred in this regard and we will coordinate efforts to update the record board in the swimming pool area. Overall, we will be looking at ways to celebrate and display the individual and team successes that we have been so fortunate to enjoy in all of our programs.”
Head Coach of the Swim and Dive team Christopher Woolridge declined to comment on the statement, saying “that issue wasn’t brought up when Kyle came to talk with me [Woolridge] about why he was quitting. Since I haven’t had a chance to talk with him about it, I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment.”
Claire Boughton can be contacted