Call outs for fall sports are underway at IPS schools, but there’s a winter sport that’s seeking interested students now: girls swimming.
The sport is only being offered to IPS high school girls at Crispus Attucks, George Washington and Shortridge high schools. Arsenal Technical High School already has a girls swim team.
Darren Thomas, athletic director for IPS, said the pilot program for the 2019-20 school year is open to girls first to test interest and because the district doesn’t have enough high school pools to support adding both boys and girls swim programs — at least not right now.
Pools are only at Arsenal Tech and George Washington. To accommodate swim practices for all schools, Attucks swimmers will practice at George Washington and Shortridge will use Arsenal Tech’s pool.
To ensure students are aware of the new sport, “Announcements will begin going out during morning announcements and PE classes, on flyers, social media and on school websites,” said Thomas. “With a pilot program, you really have to push the message in as many ways as possible.”
Interested students should reach out to their school’s athletic directors to sign up for tryouts, which will begin in the fall. The timing for tryouts will be unique to each school. The district is currently in the process of hiring coaches.
“The pilot will give us a baseline of interest in the program,” said Thomas, who eventually would like to add swimming to the PE curriculum as early as middle school.
“Even if they’re not swimming competitively, it’s great to have it as a life skill,” he said.