Greenville, NC (WNCT) – “It was difficult because I had to do it behind a computer screen I couldn’t be in the room with them I couldn’t feel what they were feeling” Jon Gilbert said in his press conference Thursday.

That was the reality for the East Carolina swim team on Thursday when the Pirates made the decision to cut men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s tennis to save an estimated 4.9 million dollars. When asked about the jarring news head swimming coach matthew jabs released this statement to wnct.

“I am extremely disapointed with the decision to drop our program. It hurts professionally and personally. I understand the finanical situation we are facing, however I believe our program specificly, has been the example of doing more with less.”

The swimmers though are refusing to go quietly, Ryan Brennan a sophomore swimmer, has begun a petition on to keep the program and since it’s creation three days ago it has already generated over 13 thousand signatures.

“The petition was just to show them, look here’s the backing you’re affecting real people, coaches family members they live here, they have kids here, they want to grow up here. The petition was just to show everybody that we have support from the community and everything.” Said Brennan.

Both coach Jabs and Brennan understand the decision but the pain and frustration still stands.

“We’re a family, ecu has a saying “One pirate nation one family” it just feels like they just cut us out of that without thinking into account that what they say on a daily basis that we’re a family a stuff like that you know” Brennan said.