The final realignment plan of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, which governs most high school sports in the state, will lead to a dramatic shakeup in the high school swimming scene.
The top 5 teams, and 6 of the top 7 teams, from this year’s Class 3A Girls’ State Championship meet will move up to Class 4A to compete with the state’s biggest high schools.
Charlotte Catholic, Marvin Ridge, Weddington, Cuthbertson, Northern Guilford, and 7th-place Cox Mill will all compete in Class 4A from at least fall of 2021 through spring of 2025. The top returning team on the girls’ side will be 6th-place J.H. Rose, which remains in Class 3A.
On the boys’ side, the shift will be even more dramatic. The top 6 teams form this year’s 3A meet, and 7 of the top 8, will move to Class 4A: Chapel Hill, Marvin Ridge, Charlotte Catholic, Northern Guilford, East Chapel Hill, Southwest Guilford, and Cox Mill will all move to 4A. 7th-place Northwest Cabarrus and J.H Rose, which tied with Cox Mill for 8th place, will remain in Class 3A.
Realignments were based on schools’ enrollments from the 2019-2020 school year (because of COVID-19) in combination with teams’ results in the NCHSAA State Cup. The inclusion of results from the State Cup, which ranks schools based on performance across high school sports, makes it not a coincidence that the top high school swim teams in 3A are moving up to 4A.
Part of the major reorganization is that each class will be home to approximately 25% of the NHSAA member schools. Previously, Class 4A had 20% of schools, Class 3A and 2A had 30% of schools, and Class 1A had 20% of schools.
Even without enrollment changes, this means that the top 16.67% of 3A schools (or, 5% out of 30%) would have moved to 4A.
The Class 1A and 2A schools are combined into one meet at the state championship level.