The Future of Hopkinton High School’s Swimming and Diving Program Remains in Question

Rachel Muench

With new regulations to be put in place by the MIAA, the outlook for the Hopkinton Hiller Swim and Dive Program is unknown. Photo by Rachel Muench

By Rachel Muench
Due to new MIAA regulations, to be passed later this month, the Hopkinton Hillers Swimming and Diving team may not have enough pool time to sustain a competitive team in the next three years.

The Hillers Swimming and Diving Team had another terrific season this year, winning the TVL title for the third year in a row. The team has recently made great strides and with the addition of many high performing underclassman it seems they will enjoy success for many years to come.

The problem the Hillers will face in the near future is the new push by the MIAA to make swimming solely a winter sport. Presently, 47 Massachusetts High Schools compete in the fall. This division of seasons has some girls teams swimming in the fall because the particular high school is too large to support a co-ed swim team in the winter. Milford High School is a local example of a split season team.

Why the sudden push to move swimming to just one season? In the last several years a few boys have been permitted to swim for girls fall teams, which wasn’t a problem until the boys began to break the girls records. This happened in the Girl’s Sectional Meet in the 50-yard freestyle.

Many people were bothered by the idea of a boy holding a record in a girls meet because it didn’t seem fair. Dozens proposed that the boys not be allowed to compete on the girls teams in the fall thinking this would be an easy solution to the problem.

“The MIAA can’t prevent the boys from competing in the fall season on the girls teams because of Title IX,” said Bryan King, Head Coach of the Hillers Swimming and Diving Team. “The solution the MIAA has since come up with is to end fall swimming all together and simply make it a winter sport.”

The idea of moving the sport to one uniform season throughout the state is good in theory, but what many fail to realize is the high demand for pool time in places like Eastern Massachusetts.

“The majority of schools around here don’t have their own pools,” said Senior Captain John Lagasse. “Because of this we, and five or six other local schools, all use Joseph P. Keefe Technical High School for practices and meets.”

Pool time is indeed already in high demand. This year Hopkinton, Ashland, Natick, Framingham, and a few other teams had crazy practice schedules that ranged from 2:00 pm to 10:00pm.

“Sometimes we only had 45 minutes to practice,” added Lagasse. “But you have to make do with what you’re given.”

With pool time already so hard to get a hold of, the fusion the two seasons can only add to the frustration. There is a strong possibility that swimming would no longer be possible in the Tri-Valley area.

“Throwing more teams into the mix can only complicate things,” commented Senior Captain Jamie Horrigan. “With the large amount of kids we have on our team we already lose practice time just dividing it among the swimmers. With any less time it would be almost impossible to maintain a competitive edge.”

The MIAA Swimming and Diving Sub-Committee has come to the decision that for the next three years (2012, 2013, and 2014) Girls and Boys Swimming will be offered in both the fall and the winter seasons. They intend to phase out fall swimming all together and by the 2015-2016 season it will become solely a winter sport.

“What will most likely happen is the girls and boys teams will have to operate completely separate of each other,” commented King. “There will no longer be any co-ed meets [which is standard in the Tri-Valley League]. The girls and boys will have to share the pool for practice though, resulting in a huge loss of practice space.”

While the Hillers could survive, other teams may not be so lucky.

“Some teams don’t have enough girls or enough boys to operate as two separate teams. This is the backbone for co-ed meets and why we made the Tri-Valley league a co-ed league in the first place,” said King.

The MIAA Swimming and Diving Sub-Committee will officially present this proposal to the full MIAA Swimming and Diving Committee on Thursday, April 12. If this proposal is accepted, the future of Hopkinton and many other towns Swimming and Diving Programs remains in question.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email