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First Ever Lobo Swim Team to Cut Swimmers: Could this have been Prevented?

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For the first time in history on November 15th, 2017, the Rocky Mountain Lobos made cuts on their girls swim team. In an email to the team during pre-season, head coach Rob Huey explained that, “We have lane and meet entry capacity limits, which will limit our team size.”


The girls have practiced at Mulberry Pool since anybody on the team can remember. Due to limited water space for the four high schools, Poudre High School also practices at Mulberry Pool and the two teams alternate (5:15 am) morning and (3:30 pm) afternoon practices.


Making cuts on the swim team has been hard for returning swimmers at Rocky Mountain High School, even the ones who made the team.


Captain Sarah Neff believes, “Swimming shouldn’t ever have to be a cut sport…I think we are a very committed group of people. We’ve all gotten so close to each other.” Neff believes that the program will continue to grow because of these close relationships, but is worried that the cuts will scare potential swimmers, especially freshmen, away from the team.


Each cut is a sad loss for this team that has been so close in the past. Unfortunately, these losses are inevitable and unavoidable due to the lack of pool space. During tryouts, the team had up to 12 people in one lane. According to Rocky’s athletic director Wayne Moddelmog “Any more than, maybe, eight swimmers in a lane is too much.”


Also practicing at Mulberry Pool each night is the fast growing Vortex Swim Club. After the Vortex head coach Marty Jaxson retired and was replaced by Aaron Thatcher two years ago, the team had a slight decline in population just before beginning to grow rapidly in size. With this growth, the club team can no longer solely practice at Mulberry Pool.


Vortex has started utilizing the local Raintree Athletic Club (RAC) for their younger swimmers. Unfortunately, the RAC pool is not the same length as any competition pool that the Vortex or Rocky swim teams compete in and is an invaluable practice space for older swimmers.


According to Moddelmog, “Having swimming pools is tremendously expensive and our district has never made the decision to pursue [another pool] because it is so expensive. It’s a shame, obviously, because we desperately need a couple more pools for the city to make our programs a lot more feasible.”


Neff and Moddelmog both agree that Mulberry Pool has seen its better days. Despite the most recent installation of new blocks, Mulberry is no EPIC (Edora Pool and Ice Center where Fossil and Fort Collins high schools practice).


Loveland, Thompson Valley, and Mountain View High Schools in the Thompson School District all have pools on site. However, none of the four high schools in the Poudre School District have pools and two of these high schools, plus one club team, must share the end of life Mulberry Pool.


Moddelmog explains that “There’s been proposals out there between the city and the district to go in together and build a facility. I know the city is interested in pursuing that…it just hasn’t made any head way, unfortunately.”


In the future, swimmers can hope for another pool, but only after Mulberry closes for good. Thankfully, Moddelmog expects to see another EPIC-like facility to be built which will help accommodate the growing swim teams as well as the growing city of Fort Collins.


According to USA swimming, the city of Fort Collins ranks number eight in the top cities (of the US) for swimming. Thus, the increase in number of swimmers on the Rocky and Vortex swim teams should be no surprise. The city and the district’s reaction to this increase will be key in the continued production of high level teams and swimmers from both the high schools and the club teams.

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First Ever Lobo Swim Team to Cut Swimmers: Could this have been Prevented?