Superintendent Pam Moran has submitted a school division budget that could potentially cut Swimming and Diving in Albemarle County Schools.
The Albemarle area is HUGE on swimming. CYAC (Charlotessville YMCA Aquatic Club), SMAC (Shenandoah Marlins Aquatic Club), and the Virginia Gators all have swimmers from the high school teams in Albemarle county. The summer league, JSL (Jefferson Swim League), has some teams with over 200 people. The young summer league swimmers can look forward to swimming on a high school team. The high school summer league swimmers do not have to wait until next summer to swim; they can look forward to swimming in the winter.
The high school swim teams bring together eclectic groups of peers working together to succeed together. Swimming is a part of so many peoples' lives, cutting the high school program will cut the bonds of friendship made between teammates and competitors.
Dan Bledsoe, Western Albemarle Swim Coach, says, "Obviously, this is a situation that is near and dear to my heart. I believe that athletics (particularly swimming) is an important part of the high school experience! As a teacher and coach I see the positive opportunities that athletics provide to student-athletes. It teaches student-athletes how to manage their time, develop priorities, and how to overcome adversity. As James Hargrove (our dryland & motivational guru) often says - 'you can do much more than you think you can' - sports help student-athletes learn this!"
American University senior Sean Cudahy, Albemarle swim alumni, shared his thoughts on the potential cut, "I’m disappointed this discussion is even on the table. The swim teams at Albemarle and Western Albemarle High Schools are among the most successful athletic programs in Central Virginia.
$29,000 saves .04 percent on the budget deficit but it’s hard to quantify how big swimming is in the Charlottesville community. Getting rid of high school swimming will be a major blow to that community.
Personally, I’d like a little more transparency from Pam Moran on how she came up with this particular idea. There are many alternatives in play around the state, like in Fairfax County, where students pay a participation fee. I’m sure parents would be more than willing to pay some money to avoid having the team evaporate. I’m finishing my senior swimming season in college right now and it’s in large part thanks to the experience, the fun and the growth I had as a swimmer at Albemarle. The swimmers in Albemarle County deserve that opportunity."
Please sign the petition! Only a few moments of your time could save the Swim and Dive teams!