The Virginia High School League is moving to a same-day prelims/finals format for its 2015 High School State Championship meets, Bryan Flaherty of Reach for the Wall reports.
This is the latest in a run of changes by the governing body for most of Virginia’s high school athletics that has been met with displeasure from the local swimming community. Beginning in the 2013-2014 season, Virginia started recognizing 6 state champions in most sports, though swimming only has 5 across 6 classes (the two smallest classes are combined). That almost doubled the number of state championships awarded, and in some swimming classes resulted in events at the state meet that couldn’t even fill all of their lanes.
Some of the state qualification rules have been changed, with 10 swimmers from each region in each classification advancing to the state meet, meaning that the issue of empty lanes should be resolved.
According to RFTW, the moves are all involving attempts by the league to reduce the cost burdens upon teams for participation in state championships while still “preserving the quality of the event.”
Flaherty quotes Shawn Knight, VHSL’s assistant director in charge of swimming and diving, as saying that this was the solution to reduce those cost burdens while still maintaining a prelims-finals format, which Knight says was very important to coaches they spoke to.
The new dates for the meets:
6A swimming will held on Friday, Feb. 20 at Collegiate School Aquatic Center, with diving taking place Thursday. 5A swimming will be held Saturday, Feb. 21, with diving taking place the day prior at near-by St. Catherine’s School. 4A, 3A and 2A/1A will be held Feb. 19, 20 and 21, respectively, at Christiansburg Aquatic Center.
Flaherty captured the reactions of several coaches around the state, including those upset by both the change in general as well as specifically changing the format 30 days out.. Click here to read those.