For the first time since 2012, North Schuylkill High School in Ashland, PA will field a boys’ and girls’ swimming and diving team this season.

Due to needed repairs, North Schuylkill closed its pool and suspended its swimming and diving team after the 2011-12 season. For the past four seasons, North Schuylkill students competed as part of a co-operative agreement with Mahanoy Area High School. A $225,000 renovation project to the North Schuylkill natatorium was completed earlier this year.

“The enthusiasm at practice has been terrific,” head coach Linda Jones said in an interview with the Republican Herald. “The kids who were at Mahanoy are doing twice the yardage that they did last year and they’re handling it fine. They’re very upbeat about having their own team. They’re very excited.”

Jones started both the Boyertown YMCA Navy Seals program in 1991 and the Boyertown Area High School program in 1995. She coached 405 national qualifiers in her 24 years with the Boyertown YMCA. At the high school level, Jones coached Boyertown’s girls team to two District 1 Class AAA championships, and the boy’s team to one District 1 Class AAA boys’ championship. The 2010 inductee to the Berks County Aquatic Hall of Fame has received several Coach of the Year honors from the Pottstown Mercury and Reading Eagle newspapers.

“I love coaching high school. It’s a lot of fun,” Jones said. “It makes it a lot of fun for the kids. They get some publicity and recognition, which they don’t get at the Y.”