BY ELLAH FOSTER
Many teenagers eagerly await prom, excited to dance the night away in a fresh suit and tie or ballroom gown. Likewise, the Mission Trail Athletic League championships hold importance in many swimmers’ lives, whether it is to advance to finals or beat a school record. But with the two events coinciding on the same day, May 5, upperclassmen are having to make a decision between the two.
Athletic director Golden Anderson says that the date for the MTAL championship was released months ago and isn’t subject to change since multiple schools are involved.
“There was a lot of arguing back and forth from schools over start times,” Anderson explains. “There’ve always been different impacts. It doesn’t matter what day in the spring MTALs was, it was going to impact some event.”
MTAL championships have taken place on Fridays in years past, but since that caused students to miss school, the event eventually was moved to a Saturday, according to Anderson.
CHS activities coordinator Aubrey Powers says she planned this year’s prom nearly a year ago. This year’s destination is in San Francisco, where students spend an evening on a cruise ship in the bay. Due to the boat leaving the dock at a set time, it is nearly impossible to have another bus shuttle swimmers to the prom once the meet is over.
With prom traditionally taking place on a Saturday, few dates were available for the spring event.
“One factor in deciding the date was the Heritage Festival, which includes a lot of music students in April,” Powers notes. “Another factor was the Big Sur Marathon the following week, since we needed availability of bus companies to transport us. We also couldn’t go too far into May because then we run the complicated risk of being too close to AP testing, so May 5 seemed like the safest date at the time.”
With both of this year’s events initially scheduled in spring of 2017, neither prom nor MTAL championships are able to be changed, according to both Anderson and Powers.
Junior and senior swimmers now have to choose which event to attend, with some students trying to attend both.
“As of right now, I am planning on going to prom and leaving MTALs early, but that means I won’t be able to swim my best events, unfortunately,” senior Sophia Supica says. “Personally I am really upset about this scheduling conflict. Given it is my senior year, I want to be able to finish my swim season strong.”
Other students plan on skipping the swim meet entirely, such as senior Jake Glaser.
“It is a complete scheduling flaw and it makes me mad that we have to choose between them,” Glaser notes. “Both are obviously very important to attend but in the long run, prom is a high school experience that I would never miss.”
Varsity girls’ swim coach Chelsea Peterson recognizes that both events are important to the upperclassmen. Although she hasn’t asked the swimmers for an official decision yet, she says she will meet with the students one-on-one to discuss their plans.
“Swimmers have expressed concern about how this conflict will affect them and the team, especially those who have goals of achieving CCS-qualifying cuts and school records this season,” Peterson adds. “There is no easy or good choice between these two events. Both are incredibly significant activities, especially for seniors.”