FAIRFIELD — One phrase you won’t hear uttered by the members of the Westhill-Stamford Co-op Girls Swim team is “There’s No Place Like Home!”
The Vikings and the Black Knight swimmers are the latest group to be impacted by the problem and slow solution to the mold issue in the Stamford School system.
Even though girls swimming and girls volleyball are the only FCIAC fall sports played indoors, work by the engineers to abate the mold problem in the Westhill swim pool was scheduled for early August.
However, delays ensued.
So now, the Westhill-Stamford swimmers are practicing at night at the Chelsea Piers Connecticut pools in Stamford. Which means the swim parents are shuttling and picking up the athletes.
The Stamford Sharks youth swim team practices that co-op coach Rick Lewis has run for years at the Westhill pool have moved to the Stamford YMCA pool.
Since there are no diving boards at Chelsea Piers, Westhill-Stamford diving coach Jim Bowser and his trio of divers — Julia Stepanowicz, Abigail Desyr and Debbie Desyr — are commuting each day to use the diving area at the Norwalk High School Pat Spinola Natatorium.
There was a time a few years back where the Norwalk-McMahon divers could not use their pool and were invited to practice at the Westhill pool — arguably the best diving facility in the FCIAC.
“We are grateful that we were able to find an available time slot at the Chelsea Piers pools. The Chelsea Piers people have been great to us,” Lewis said. “We have a very young team in terms of experience even though we have 12 seniors on paper. We have less total time to practice. We have to be efficient. The girls have been good at that. We can do a limited amount of specialized instruction on the side during practice.”
Of course, the cost of rental time at Chelsea Piers has created yet another new line-item in the budget of fixing the continuing mold issue.
The situation also means that at this moment, the Westhill-Stamford co-op has all nine regular-season meets on the road.
The Vikings and Black Knights overcame all these obstacles Thursday, opening its season with a 100-81 triumph over Ludlowe High.
“No excuses for our girls. They have been working hard,” Lewis said. “Getting a season-opening win is nice. We swam well and our depth in diving paid off.”
Both Ludlowe and Warde High School girls swim teams use the Fairfield University pool for home meets and practice when the weather turns colder. At the moment, Ludlowe has some practices at the outdoor Hunt Club pool, which only has three lanes and three starting blocks.
Westhill-SHS swept the top three places in the diving. It will be interesting to monitor how the situation affects Westhill senior diver Abigail Desyr, who is a true threat to win some FCIAC and state championship diving gold this year. The FCIAC diving championship has traditionally been held at the Westhill pool.