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Push underway to bring swimming to Chesterfield schools

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A parent-initiated movement to bring swimming as a sport to Chesterfield County high schools is riding a huge wave of support. Swim Chesterfield was created in an effort to gain Chesterfield County School Board approval for the implementation of club level, parent-run and parent-funded competitive high school swim teams with the ultimate goal of becoming an official Virginia High School League sport.

Cassie Dickerson is one of five people on the Board of Directors for Swim Chesterfield.

She and her counterparts have been gathering signatures and rallying parent representatives at local schools. They’ve also talked with a number of school board members, with the focus being on financial stability of the clubs, liability issues and administrative support.

Dickerson said she believed those talks went well and hoped to get the clubs competing against each other as soon as early November.

Similar to what high schools in Henrico County are doing, the Chesterfield County swim clubs would be run and funded by the students and parents of each high school. Dickerson said the money would go towards paying coaches, insurance and perhaps even rental time at area pool facilities.

With the November deadline approaching, Dickerson is wasting no time. At last night’s “Parent Night” at Clover Hill High School, a representative was there at a table with a sign to inform and recruit interested swimmers. The same will be happening at events at other high schools.

Finding swimmers may be easy. There are 26 community pools that compete in the Chesterfield Aquatic League alone. The county’s YMCA pools boast a robust winter-swim league. Plus the county has two large year-round swimming organizations in Poseidon and Swimquest.

"We just started the push to bring competitive swimming to county schools two months ago." Dickerson said. "There are a lot of things that need to be done quickly, but we have great support to get this underway. Hopefully it (swim club competition) will be successful and may eventually transition to VHSL governance. Until then, the kids can still represent their schools and compete against each other."