Alexa Warner wakes up in the wee hours of the morning twice a week to work three hours at Peak Sports Club in Loves Park before spending more than six hours in school. Then she spends more time at swim team practice in the afternoon. But the Harlem High School swim team senior wants nothing more than morning practice time for the sport she loves.
Alexa Warner wakes up in the wee hours of the morning twice a week to work three hours at Peak Sports Club in Loves Park before spending more than six hours in school. Then she spends more time at swim team practice in the afternoon.
She has a high grade point average and is enrolled in advanced placement classes, which demand extra time and work. But the Harlem High School swim team senior wants nothing more than morning practice time for the sport she loves.
She’s one of several girls on the team upset about the cut of morning swimming practices.
Last year the girls practiced twice a day, once before school at 5:15 a.m. and again after school let out at 2:09 p.m. But this year, because the Harlem School Board pushed back the school start time, morning practices are limited to two days a week for 30 minutes each.
Principal Joe Hazen said he is looking into the situation and met with Superintendent Julie Morris this morning.
“I don’t want to punish those athletes,” he said.
Expanded practices unlikely
Still, School Board President Sandi Johnson seemed cool to the idea of expanding morning practice sessions.
“We restructured the whole school day, and that’s counterproductive,” Johnson said at Monday’s board meeting. During an interview Wednesday, she said there will be ongoing discussions on the subject, but added, “I don’t believe that’s going to happen right now.”
Athletic Director Shane Turner could not be reached for comment.
Team members said they need morning practices in order to compete with other NIC-10 teams, which practice twice each day. The team needs a decision quickly because its season ends in November.
YMCA one possibility
One option may be using another pool to practice. After speaking with some families, Johnson said some of the girls are members at the YMCA, which offers student rates of about $23 a month.
“If that’s the answer for these families, then I’m all for it,” Johnson said.
“We have a pool, why not use it?” said team member Skyler Pyzynski.
2 sessions necessary
Pam Woolbright, whose daughter Arica is a senior on the swim team, said beginning swimmers do about 3,000 yards each day. But senior-level swimmers should be tallying between 15,000 to 20,000 yards, she said.
To reach that distance, swimmers need to break up that practice in segments; the length of a school day is the perfect break for the girls’ muscles, Woolbright said. In an ideal world, she said, the administration would tell the girls they could have morning practices.
“They would say yes,” she said. “Because your sport requires it, you can go ahead and swim during those times.”
Cathy Bayer can be reached at (815) 987-1369 or email@example.com.