CMS students, parents petition for school board to allow swim season to continue amid pause on high school athletics

CMS students, parents petition for school board to allow swim season to continue amid pause on high school athletics

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The fight for high school athletics continues in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district.

A petition signed by parents and students is asking that the school board allow swimmers to finish their season. It has gained more than 3,000 signatures in just two days.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education voted on Thursday to keep all learning virtual until at least February 12.

The district also announced that all high school athletic activity would be paused until at least February 15. In-person practices are not allowed at this time either.

Many swimmers are frustrated with the decision especially since it ended their season less than two days before their conference on Saturday, Jan. 16.

“I found out I was going to conference the same day I found out it was canceled, so that was a whirlwind of emotions,” said Myers Park senior Grace Hanson.

Sports currently in post-season playoffs are allowed to continue with their competitions. This includes volleyball and cross country.

Fellow Myers Park swimmer Ham Williams-Tracy said the board’s decision is frustrating but he hopes other student-athletes get the chance to compete in the spring.

“I just don’t want those people who still have their seasons to play to lose out on their opportunity,” he said.

Without conference and other competitions, that means less time to showcase their skills in front of college scouts to secure an athletic scholarship.

“I want to go to the best college for me and you know colleges aren’t cheap so I’ve been working super hard to try and get a scholarship so I can swim in college,” Hanson said.

Her mother Diana Rugg, who is also a swim coach, believes they should still be allowed to compete like the volleyball and cross country athletes currently in the playoffs.

“How is that fair that two sports get to do their postseason and swimming that’s also in postseason doesn’t get to do its postseason?” Rugg said.

Swim coach Pierce Bradshaw said the swimmers he works with across the district have been going above and beyond to stay safe.

“They have assigned lanes every practice of where they need to be going to and they’re always spaced out like I said it’s a non-contact sport and we’re in a body of chlorine which has been shown to kill the virus,” Bradshaw said.

Parents and students are hoping that they can get one last chance to compete and continue doing what they love.

“For seniors this kind of like our last final year. This is our last chance to make a mark on our team,” Hanson said.

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