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SPARKS and Trojans may lose swim team after current season

The Sparks and Trojans swim and dive teams have been a part of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School and Highland Park Senior High School communities for years.

"Keep our teams together" petition

The Sparks and Trojans swim and dive teams have been a part of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School and Highland Park Senior High School communities for years.

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The Sparks and Trojans swim and dive teams have been a part of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School and Highland Park Senior High School communities for years. The teams, which were a co-op between the two schools, were recently informed that this was the last year of the co-op, much to the dismay of the team members. An email was sent to everyone on the team on Dec 5, citing a difference in school cultures and too many swimmers as the reasons for the separation. The co-op was originally started as a way to get more people interested and involved with the teams and to split once each school had enough swimmers to start their own team.

While the plan was never to have the teams stay together for very long, the teams have evolved into much more, with many swimmers having formed bonds with members from the other school, and a sense of community keeping the teams together. “We have a lot of traditions and splitting us up would ruin all that,” says sophomore Adeline DeHarpporte, who has been on the team for two years and had planned to swim until her senior year. The “cultural differences” that the initial email mentioned are part of what makes the team what it is, and are not a reason to split the team.

While splitting the teams up would certainly be unfortunate for both schools because of these friendships, it could mean even more for SPA. While the Highland swimmers could form their own team, there is a likely chance that SPA will not be able to. The swimmers here would not have coaches or a swimming pool, given that they currently practice at Highland. Not only that, but the community formed by the teams will be split apart. “Because the team culture was a really big part of why a lot of people did the team, I’m worried that a lot of SPA swimmers will quit next year and we won’t be able to have a team.” says DeHarpporte, “We might have a coop with another Saint Paul school, but then we would have to swim against our former teammates and that would be hard.”

We have a lot of traditions and splitting us up would ruin all that”

— Adeline DeHarpporte

While the teams’ futures currently look bleak, there may be hope. The team captains have created an online petition to save the teams. The petition originally had a goal of 1,000 signatures, but after reaching 1,000 on December 10, the goal has been extended to 2,000. “The teams as a co-op have been able to accomplish great things that they would not have and will not be able to achieve as two separate teams,” states the petition. The paragraph concludes with the captains asking for support, “We hope to have your support and for you to sign this petition in order to help us to keep our teams together.” Due to the response to the possible cancellation, the schools may be reconsidering. The principal of Highland sent an email to the athletes on December 14, saying “Both schools are engaging in conversations to examine the possibility of continuing the cooperative partnership.” The email seems to provide hope for the future of the teams, but for students like DeHarpporte, the message could mean anything. “I think it’s good that they are taking our advice into consideration, but I don’t think it’s going to change.”

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Rylan Hefner, Interactive Storytelling Team

Rylan Hefner is a member of the Interactive Storytelling Team on the RubicOnline. This is his second year on staff. He is eager to explore working with...

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