In the Louisa County High School swim team’s four years of existence, finding swimmers willing to dive headfirst into the sport hasn’t been entirely difficult. It’s finding a pool to put them in that has become the obstacle.
Without facilities of their own, the Lions are forced to practice at Fork Union Military Academy’s pool, which is 45 minutes away. Most teams get at least four days of practice, but the Lions only get three. On those days, the swim team makes the tedious trek just to get in an hour and a half of practice. If another team has a meet scheduled for that day, Louisa runs the risk of having practice canceled altogether.
“That’s a good four hours of their night that are dedicated to swim team,” second year head coach Jennifer Thorpe said. “That’s opposed to if we were on campus where we’d be able to have a two hour practice and be done. Some kids have part time jobs, some kids do two sports, so being that far away is our biggest obstacle.”
Despite the obvious inconveniences that the Lions are presented with, Thorpe and members of the team are slowly pressing along in her quest to build a successful program. And while a look at the stat sheet may not immediately show it as such – the Lions fail to win nearly all of their meets – signs of progress are becoming evident.
Diver Danny Parshall is a state qualifier already this season, just four meets into the Lions’ eight-meet season. Close behind Parshall is fellow diver Cameron Stanley, who Thorpe expects to also qualify for states within the next few weeks. Both qualified last year, and Thorpe said their consistency has been good for the team’s morale.
And as with any great foundation, the basis for a rising swim program starts at the bottom. Swimmers from Louisa County Middle School now are also participating in practices with the high school team. Though only students in high school are allowed to compete, Thorpe said the young swimmers keep practice lively by interacting and assisting the older swimmers and that they also help increase curiosity about the sport.
To read the entire story, see the Jan. 9 edition of The Central Virginian.