According to the agenda for the CIF Southern Section Council meeting held on Thursday evening in Long Beach, California, the California Interscholastic Federation is considering presenting a single state swimming & diving championship in the future.
That’s as compared to now, where the state is divided into 10 sections, each of which has its own championship, which is the end-of-the-line in the country’s deepest and richest state for swimming talent. Beginning in May of 2015, however, that could change.
In April, the CIF Southern Section voted “Support” by a tally of 49-15 to allow one mega-championship that without a doubt would be the biggest and baddest high school meet in the country.
According to Dan Albano of OCVarsity.com, the proposal sees the Southern Section receiving five entries per event, which is the most among the state’s sections.
The Southern Section, which is currently divided into 4 divisions based on enrollment, has been the spark-plug to these changes. The host would be selected in a bidding process, and the State Federated Council will vote to finalize the measure at their meeting in February.
The CIF SS has long pushed toward creating a single, bigger meet. Until 2012, they held a “Masters” meet combining all four of their divisions. That, though, was largely an unpopular meet among club coaches, as it pushed the California High School season even later into the long course season, when California already has one of the latest High School championships in the country.
Though this new meet would create a spectacular spectacle, criticisms are that with the level of depth in California, there would be potential Division 1-caliber swimmers that wouldn’t even earn an invite to the championship, which could discourage them from joining. This could hurt the positive growth that high school swimming and California has seen recently, including a 2.8% uptick in boys’ swimming from 2012-2013. That’s the biggest growth that any California boys sport saw other than softball, field hockey, and water polo (noting that the former two are small numbers – softball grew from 107 to 226 participants, and field hockey from 67 to 195).