High school notebook: Swim teams may be looking for new homes

Delaware State News file photo Swimming official Al Hauser talks to swimmers from Polytech and Caesar Rodney before a meet at the Central Delaware YMCA in Dover. (File photo)

The coronavirus pandemic has already brought plenty of changes to high school fall sports.

But it’s also starting to have an impact on winter ones, too.

Because of state restrictions on pool capacities right now, schools that practice and compete in YMCA pools may have to find new facilities for their programs.

The loss of Dover’s Central Delaware YMCA would mean that Caesar Rodney, Dover and Polytech High would all have to relocate, probably to Lake Forest High. Cape Henlopen uses the Sussex YMCA in Rehoboth as its home pool.

“To be completely transparent, I just don’t see us being able to provide the same amount of space — if any — because we’re already struggling with providing space for our own programs,” said Linda Rusk, the marketing vice president for Delaware YMCAs.

“That’s the sad relatively of this pandemic world that we’re in. That’s kind of where we are.”

Rusk said current health guidelines call for no more than four swimmers to be in any one lane at a time. She said she’s still hoping to have conversations with the schools involved and knows it would be a hardship for them to find new pools.

“We want to be able to serve a community need — and it is a community need,” said Rusk. “It is a wonderful program for our youth. It is worth a conversation.”

The YMCA is still dealing with a considerable loss in membership since re-opening over the summer. It’s also facing the new health and safety restrictions.

The YMCA is providing youth swim teams, which have already starting practicing. But the Central Delaware YMCA has eliminated the two full-time coaching positions from its aquatic program.

Rusk said not enough swimmers signed up for elite-level training.

Having four high school programs use Lake Forest’s pool would mean juggling of schedules with perhaps some teams having to practice in the morning and others having to practice in the evening.

Some schools may also have to use buses to get their swimmers to Lake Forest. Clearly, the situation wouldn’t be as convenient as using the YMCA for the three Kent County schools.

There are a few more options in Sussex County, where Sussex Academy is the only high school with a pool.

“We still have to prepare, either way, for a swim schedule,” said CR athletic director Bob Beron. “We’ve been there for years. … Being that the ‘Y’ is so close, a lot of our kids could drive themselves. But now, being that it’s all the way down at Lake Forest, we may to provide transportation on a daily basis.”

“I think it will definitely put us and other schools in a bind,” said Polytech AD George Eilers. “It’s not like there a plentiful amount of indoor pools around.”

Board to vote on sports

One of the last major hurdles to playing fall high school sports in Delaware may be cleared tonight.

The State Board of Education is slated to vote on the DIAA’s latest proposal at its regular meeting today. The virtual session is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

With seven voting members slated to be on hand tonight, four ‘yes’ votes are needed to approve the measure.

At its last meeting, the state board voted 7-2 to approve the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association’s request to play the high school sports schedule in three condensed seasons beginning in December.

But, after getting new guidelines from the governor’s office, the DIAA is now asking that fall sports be played starting with pre-season practice on Sept. 28.

The state board can’t make any changes to the DIAA proposal. It can only approve or disapprove.

Notes

In anticipation of a new fall schedule. Henlopen Conference ADs have started tinkering with their online sports schedules. While the slates are very much a work in progress — most still list the old dates — Caesar Rodney’s football schedule has it opening at Sussex Tech on Oct. 23. …. Because a Henlopen North football schedule would be seven games, some squads will have four home games while others will have three. … Braden Davis, the highly-recruited Middletown High quarterback, has transferred to Lake Minneola, Fla. because of Delaware’s uncertainty about playing football this fall. A junior, Davis expects to return to the Cavaliers for his senior season. “I figured, ’Why not play down here where it’s certain we’re going to play this fall?’ “ Davis was quoted in the Orlando Sentinel. “The plan is to just play the season and then go back to Delaware. This is really just a move, just a business trip to play football.”