Students at Grand County High School who enjoy swimming will soon have a new outlet for that passion. With the blessing of the Grand County Board of Education, the high school has decided to start a competitive swim team.
The idea was first brought before the school board by Kris Hackney. Hackney explained during last month’s school board meeting that several parents were interested in starting a swim club that would enable high school age students to practice and compete. Hackney originally suggested a club, so that it could be an extra-curricular activity that the school would not have to pay for.
However, after speaking with representatives from the Utah High School Activities Association, Grand County High School Principal Stephen Hren said he found that if the students were only members of a swim club they would not be able to compete against other students. He suggested forming a swim team that would allow students to compete with other teams around the state. But he said the team would still be funded completely by parents and fundraising efforts.
School board member Deb Hren voiced support for the idea. She said that she worked with the summer swim program and believes many of the kids who participated were good swimmers who would benefit from a high school team.
“There are a lot of kids, and you see a lot of growth in them,” Deb Hren said. “It’s a neat thing because it can be a team, but it’s also very individual... It’s something that I would like to see us do.”
Deb Hren said that a group of parents attempted to start a swim club last year, but they ran into trouble finding a time for the kids to practice. She said that, this year, the staff of the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center has been much more accommodating in finding room in their schedule to allow swim team members to practice.
Stephen Hren reminded school board members that the high school’s soccer team was started in the same manner 15 years ago.
“It was grassroots, up from City [Recreation],” he said.
He explained that, for the first few years, soccer was paid for through parents and fundraising without any expenditure on the part of the school district. However, as the program became a more popular sport, it eventually became fully funded.
Stephen Hren estimated that the school would initially have around eight to 10 students who would be interested in participating in the team. In order to hold meets locally, the team will have to raise approximately $30,000 to provide a scoreboard and touch pads, he said. Students and parents have already started trying to find local businesses to help provide those funds, he said.
School board member Beth Joseph expressed some reservations about the future of the team, pointing out that the expectation would be if the team does well, eventually the school district could potentially end up picking up the cost for the program down the road.
According to Stephen Hren, the team will compete in Region 12, against teams from Carbon, Delta, Juab, North Sanpete, Payson and Spanish Fork.