HCHS makes a ‘splash’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2008

AHOSKIE – Hertford County High School is jumping in head first.

The Bears, who have such non-revenue sports as soccer, indoor track and tennis, will make an addition this fall.

Thanks to a plan from HCHS Principal Jerry Simmons, student-athletes at Hertford County will be able to participate in swimming.

“We began having conversations about expanding our athletic program and what we could offer,” Simmons said. “We felt as we looked at our students and what the Northeastern Coastal Conference offers, swimming was the right choice.”

Simmons said the only two schools in the conference not offering swimming were Bertie and HCHS and that he felt it was time for the Bears to make that step.

“I am always looking at new and innovative ways to broaden every part of the curriculum,” he said. “We intend to give our students the same opportunities as every other kid in the state.

“Any time you can do that, we’ll try it,” he said.

The swimming program, which will begin in November, will be open to both boys and girls. They will practice at the ViQuest Center and participate in both conference and non-conference matchups.

The principal gave credit to making the plan work to HCHS Athletic Director Charles Simmons.

“Coach Simmons did the in-depth planning on this,” he said. “He did all the leg work and made the calls to make it known we were interested in participating at the conference level.”

Charles Simmons said the league would now have six swimming teams and that the Bears would be able to compete for a conference championship.

“We want to try to have the best overall program we can,” the AD said. “Swimming is one of the pieces we were missing. I’ve thought about it for the past two or three years, but this year seemed like a good time to get it going.”

Both the boys and girls will be coached by Deana Ross who is already on staff at Hertford County High School.

“Right now we will be competing in conference meets in Elizabeth City and on the beach,” Charles Simmons said. “We also hope to compete in non-conference meets with Rocky Mount, the Nash County schools and the Pitt County schools.”

The Athletic Director said he anticipated having 10 to 15 swimmers during the first year.

“We now offer everything the North Carolina High School Athletic Association offers,” Charles Simmons said.

Jerry Simmons said that offering was part of the overall improvement he wanted to see at HCHS.

“We don’t have a perfect situation at Hertford County High School, but we are on the path to do great things here for both athletics and academics,” he said. “We have both moving in the right direction.”