BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – For the first time ever, girls on the swim team in the Buffalo School District can compete against other schools in the state.
For decades, the boys swim team could only compete in state competitions or sectionals, and the girls couldn’t.
“I thought it was just unfair. We should have been able to go to sectionals with the times were getting and how well we were doing in the BPS league, “Julia Penchaszadeh Robert, a sophomore at City Honors and a member of the girls’ varsity swim team.
Alize Allen used to swim in the district. She graduated last year.
While Allen was part of the city’s league swim team, she was also part of USA Swimming club team. However, she couldn’t compete at the state level. “It was a little disappointing,” she said.
Allen and her father pushed for the girls swim team to be moved from the winter to the start of the school year. That’s because girls’ swimming is a fall sport in New York.
After years of pushing for it, it finally happened
“It doesn’t matter if you have the opportunity to be a part of it. Now the girls here have the opportunity and they can go farther,” Andre Allen, Alize’s dad, said.
Athletic Director Aubrey Lloyd also helped make this happen. He conducted an interest survey and collected data to see if the girls could compete against regional competitors.
They came up a budget and presented it to the school board. Members approved it in May.
“We’ve had combined swimming for the last 100 years. So it’s about time for the girls to have their season, so they can show what they’re made of inside the pool,” Lloyd said.
“I’m so excited,” Penchaszadeh Robert said. “I think it’s awesome because we now get the chance go to sectionals. We can make new times.”
Girls are bused from all over the district to City Honors each day for practice.
“I’m glad that everyone as a whole can represent the city of Buffalo,” Allen said.
The 28 member team has only had a few meets and, already, the 200 medley relay team has qualified for sectionals.
The other girls say don’t count them out. They plan on competing there as well.
“We’re going to show up at sectionals. We’re going to show this region what a strong team we are. United as the Buffalo Public School Swim Team. We’re extremely excited,” Jackie Yager, a Buffalo Public School Girls Swim Coach said.