Pine Crest School in Florida has announced that it will not participate in high school athletics in the fall season of 2020 as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to upend the athletics calendar.
On July 11, the school’s “continuous learning plan” in August said that the school would follow Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) guidelines for returning to athletics. But after the FHSAA announced on Monday that it had rejected the recommendations of its own medical advisory board and decided to continue with the fall sports season as scheduled, Pine Crest announced that it would not be participating in fall athletics.
One of the most-decorated programs in state history, the school has won 28 FHSAA girls’ high school state championships in swimming & diving. Last season, their first in Class 2A, they won a state championship after finishing 2nd in Class 1A behind Bolles in the 3 prior seasons.
The Pine Crest boys also won the 2019 Class 2A state championship, one of 18 total state championships for them.
The two programs have combined for around 400 individual event championships.
“P.E., swim, and tennis will be offered for Lower, Middle, and Upper School students when it is safe and prudent to do so. For Middle and Upper School students, coaches will continue to provide individual, specialized, and small group training before, during, and after school. Like many independent school and collegiate teams, Pine Crest will not participate in Middle and Upper School competitive sports in the fall.
Mariusz Podkoscielny, a 2-time Olympian who is the head coach for both the club and high school programs at Pine Crest, says that the club program will be able to train “on a limited basis,” but has not yet returned to the water.
Among the fallout: this will be the first time in more than 55 years that the Woodson Invite hosted annually by Pine Crest School will not be held.
The school has a long list of swimmers who have excelled both nationally and internationally, including names like 1998 World Championship bronze medalist Ricky Busquets; world-famous marathon swimmer Diana Nyad; 1972 US Olympian Ann Marshall; and 3-time World Champion and World Record-breaking freestyler Andy Coan. Coan remains the school record holder in the 100-yard freestyle, a record set in 1975.
Pine Crest School is a private pre-kindergaten through 12th-grade private school with campuses in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The school has over 2,600 students enrolled, with tuition ranging from almost $24,000 for pre-K to just over $35,000 for high school students.
The school’s two campuses are located in the southeastern part of Florida, which has been the hardest-hit of the virus’ surge in the state over the last 2 months.
Broward County, where the Fort Lauderdale campus is located (including the school’s 3-pool aquatics complex), has confirmed 42,577 positive tests for coronavirus according to Johns Hopkins, which is the 11th-most of any county in the United States.