Jefferson considers forming swim team

October 14, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Some Jefferson High School athletes may be diving head first into a new team sport at the school.

A varsity swim team may soon be formed, the first for Jefferson High School.

The Jefferson County Board of Education approved Monday night the posting of the newly created position of swim coach for Jefferson High School, said board spokeswoman Liz Thompson.

Jefferson High athletic director Donald Hetzel said some parents had contacted him recently about the school forming a swim team so he held a meeting last week to see how much interest was there.


He expected a few students, but to his surprise, 43 students showed up for the meeting. More than 50 have signed a sheet expressing interest in joining a swim team.

"We had a mob," he said.

Many of the swimmers do not participate in other sports, so it will not present a conflict in scheduling for them, he said.

Hetzel said it is possible to form a team by the time swim season opens in November.

Hetzel said the team could practice at Shepherd College's Wellness Center's pool. Since the high school does not have a pool, the swim meets would have to all be away matches.

Jefferson would schedule meets against Martinsburg High and Hedgesville High, which have recently formed swim teams.

There are about 14 swim teams at West Virginia high schools, but the number could double this year, Hetzel said.

"I think there's just a groundswell of interest throughout the state," Hetzel said.

Many of the students have participated in swimming programs at other pools, but there were no teams for them at the high school level, he said.

"Many of us played football as high school students, but that is not a sport most of us continue throughout an adult's life," said school board President Peter Dougherty.

"This is an opportunity for more students to participate in school activities. The board is always interested in expanding the opportunities for students in the academic areas and in extracurricular activities. Every study shows that the more actively involved in the school community a student is, the better they will do academically," said Superintendent David Markoe.

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