The Fall Swimming and Diving Season Awaits MIAA Decision

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The seniors of the Walpole High School Swimming and Diving team

Gina Conti

The seniors of the Walpole High School Swimming and Diving team.

 

The Title IX controversy in Massachusetts that involved the fall and winter swimming and diving teams has not stopped.  An MIAA subcommittee has proposed phasing out the girls fall swim season by 2015, all in the unlikely name of gender equality.  If approved by the MIAA, the move could be a problematic situation for some of the girls teams that compete in the fall.  This step taken would ensure that boys and girls have equal access to athletic activities.

The high school swimming and diving season currently occurs during in the fall and winter. In the winter, there are teams for boys and girls and the MIAA holds separate championships. But in the fall, swimming is considered a girls sport and only one tournament is held for girls.  This did not become a problem until last fall, when several boys swam on girls teams because their schools do not offer boys swimming, and qualified to compete in the girls state championships. Last November, Will Higgins of Norwood High broke the sectional record in the girls 50-yard freestyle.  Not wanting to see a boy crowned as a girls swim champion next year, the MIAA Swim Committee recently formed a subcommittee to figure out how to handle the issue.  They voted 4-2 to hold boys swimming championships in the fall for the next three years, and then, in 2015-16, drop the fall season altogether and make swimming solely a winter sport – for both boys and girls.

Dropping the fall season altogether, as well as the 47 teams that compete in this season, would cause difficulties.  The fall season helps out a lot of schools financially and would not be a good decision to drop it.  It’s certainly something that’s going to cause hardships to some of the schools that swim in the fall.  For instance, the Walpole High School swimming and diving team competes in the fall with the other Bay State League teams.  This could become a problem for Walpole in the future years because of the lack of pool time practice and the fact that the high school does not have their own pool facility.  The Walpole swimming and diving team travels to Canton to practice and compete at the Blue Hills Regional Technical School.  Since Walpole does not own this pool the team can only afford certain hours and days to use the facility.  The fall season gives Walpole an advantage with a vast number of pool hours at a low cost.  The winter is not ideal because of the many other teams that compete here in the winter.  The loss of the fall swimming season would also become a detriment to other athletes that compete in winter sports.  Athletes would have to make a decision to participate on the swimming and diving team or their other team that is held in the winter.

High School swimming and diving has taken place in the fall for many years now and could let down many teams if the season is changed to the winter.  The MIAA committee has many decisions to make for the 2012 fall season.   The subcommittee is scheduled to present their recommendation to the MIAA Swim Committee on May 23, 2012.