Charlotte-Area High School Swimming Thrown Into Chaos After Times Thrown Out

According to Langston Wertz, Jr. of the Charlotte Observer, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championships in swimming have been thrown into havoc on Thursday, after the governing body for the state’s high school sports threw out ‘dozens of times’ that qualified swimmers for regional meets.

Swimmers in two conferences learned after their meets that a non-certified referee officiated several meets this season, and the conference decided that this would invalidate those times. The conferences are SoMeck 8 and Southwestern 4A, with teams listed below:

Southwestern 4A

  • Butler High
  • East Mecklenburg
  • Garinger
  • Independence
  • Myers Park
  • Porter Ridge
  • Rocky River

SoMeck 8

  • Audrey Kell
  • Berry
  • Harding
  • Olympic
  • Providence
  • South Mecklenburg
  • West Mecklenburg

Charlotte Catholic is in the SoMeck 8, but according to the article in the observer, their swimmers were unaffected as they used a different referee. Charlotte Catholic’s girls team is a 12-time defending State Champion, most recently in 3A (the second-biggest schools), and is home to many of the most recognizable names in North Carolina High School swimming, including swimmers like Elsa Welshofer, Maria Sheridan, Lauren Rhodes, and Nora McCullagh, among others.

Still, even without Charlotte Catholic affected, most of the teams involved are perennial scorers at the state championship meets, and thus the news will be a huge shakeup. In North Carolina, swimmers must meet a pre-determined qualifying time, and then the top 24 swimmers from those Regional meets advance to the State Championship meet (in 3A and 4A, the biggest schools, it’s 8 qualifiers per event from each of 3 regions; in 1A and 2A it’s 12 qualifiers per event from each of 2 regions).

The county has added two extra meets this coming weekend to allow affected swimmers the opportunity to re-earn their regional qualifying times.

Though in North Carolina, as made clear by this ruling, officials must be certified, not every state requires officials to be certified to work high school meets, though generally speaking only certified officials are invited to work major championship meets.

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Feels like a harsh penalty for athletes unaware.
Suspend the official.

Chris Brown

Couple things missing – first there is a conference meet the following week for SoMeck 8 so those kids have a chance there. The makeup meets on Friday night and Tuesday night – like most places this weekend is a huge club weekend for swimming.

Getting officials for a meet this weekend would be very hard. Feel for the kids here – link to the article especially if someone had a time and does not re-qualify.

Chris Brown

Also, meets where the ref was not present (Charlotte Catholic hosted South Meck as an example) – those times should be ok.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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