Spartanburg District 5 Says Future of Swim Team Uncertain - WSPA.com

Spartanburg District 5 Says Future of Swim Team and YMCA Partnership, Uncertain

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Donna Brandon is the mother of a swim team member at Byrnes High School and she told 7 On Your Side Friday, that her daughter would be like a fish out of water, without swimming.

"She loves it she eats, breathes and sleeps swimming," said Brandon.

Her daughter displays a lifetime of medals, trophy's and awards in her room. It shows her dedication,  her mother said, but making practice at the Middle Tyger YMCA became harder and harder because of time.

"My daughter had to take a whole class period to practice with the swim team and the middle school would come at a different time and then the high school at another time," she said.

Byrnes High School Swim Coach Sarah Long agreed. She said three different practices throughout the day isn't working and neither are alternatives she's tried.

"We've tried going to community pools and outdoor pools, practice in the mornings but they're just not safe or they're cold or parents don't have access there," said Long.

Long describes the years that her students have had to change around their lives to attend practice and she said she kept quite for a long time. She said she put up with the fact that the students were never able to practice as a team but this year, enough is enough she said.

Long also mentioned transportation could be an issue and some students may not be able to make it to practice if it is held in a place where middle and high school students couldn't use the activity bus the district provides.

Parent Jackie Brown is also a mother of a swim team student and said high scholars who don't drive and middle scholars take the activity bus to practice. She describes how middle scholars are picked up on the way to the pool at Middle Tyger and if another pool was used, there's no telling if that could continue.

"Middle Tyger is our YMCA and we expect them to take care of us," said Brown.

What frustrates District 5 the most officials said, is that the YMCA schedules Riverside High School in Greenville County, a slot in the evening, that is desirable for District 5.

"That hurts especially with our team being 5 minutes away to one of the best pools in the state. We're paying tax dollars and our kids and teachers are members too," said Long.

Long said that the Y-Spartaquatics Swim Club Head Coach, Peter Wright, works with Riverside to accommodate them more than Byrnes, who is in their same district. 7 On Your Side asked the Middle Tyger YMCA if they'd consider working with District 5 and if they felt they were serving their community.

CEO, Rick Callebs did not want to go on camera but says they've had a relationship with District 5 for years and offered them the same time slot as last year.

"We love working with Byrnes and we have for years," said Callebs. Callebs said that he was unaware of the situation before Friday, but after further investigation he learned there had been emails exchanged between Wright and Long and people within Spartanburg District 5.

Callebs said the YMCA club team has more than 400 students who need time to practice as well. He explained that Riverside High is at the pool until about 8 at nigh and he said that slot is no more desirable.

The YMCA and District 5 said they've set up a time to meet next week and Callebs told 7 On Your side he is disappointed the situation was not brought up to him and his staff sooner.Callebs said Spartanburg District 5 was offered the same times as last year but he is open to working something out.

District 5 tells 7 On Your Side they plan to cut the partnership with Middle Tyger if things continue as scheduled. Both programs agreed the students should be their first priority.

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