Diving a cost casualty at Dallastown High School

  • The Dallastown High School diving program has been discontinued.
  • The decision was made by the school board for financial reasons.
  • Dallastown still has two divers, but they must take care of all of their own expenses.

Swimming and diving programs have been joined together in high school athletics for many years.

They typically practice and compete together.

Garrett Sommer of Central York dives in the PIAA state meet at Bucknell University last March. Diving has been cut from several area high school programs because of financial reasons. John A. Pavoncello photo

For scoring purposes in dual meets, the diving competition is included in the overall team score.

Perhaps as recently as a decade ago, many local swim teams fielded a diving program. Nowadays, however, that number is approaching zero.

The most recent casualty may come as a bit of a surprise, however. Filled with a history of talented divers over the past 20-plus seasons, Dallastown will no longer field a boys’ and girls’ diving team.

The reason? Cost.

“A lot of it right now is coming down to the almighty dollar,” Dallastown swim coach Rich Howley said. “We needed to get a new fulcrum and, just as an estimate, that was going to be around $15,000. Plus, to run the program, it costs around $5,500. And looking into the amount of money that would go into all of that … budgets are tight right now. So they decided as a school action to cut that.”

While things can always change down the road, Howley isn’t optimistic about the chances of diving ever returning to the program.

“If we could raise somewhere around $20,000?. Sure, but we’d have to be able to come up with the reoccurring costs and, as of now, we don’t raise enough a year to cover that," Howley said. "And we’re putting that money into just two or three children, compared to when you have 60 (swimmers) over here. So it’s a quagmire.”

Two divers must cover own costs: While the Wildcats, who have won the past eight Division I boys’ and girls’ swimming and diving titles, won’t have a diving team this year, the two divers who were slotted to be on the roster will still have the opportunity to compete, albeit on a limited basis.

“We have two divers right now, one boy and one girl,” Howley said. “They both go to Northeastern (to practice) and they will dive at one meet for us, which is at Spring Grove, because they are the only ones that have a board at an away meet that we’ll be at. They’ll dive at Cumberland Valley when we go there. And they’ll compete at invitations as well.”

The two divers, Bryce Willet and Kelsey Oswandel, will have to self-fund all of the costs to participate.

“Their parents have to take them to all of the meets,” Howley said. “And their parents have to foot the bill. Whatever the costs — the invitation costs, travel costs — the parents have to cover it.”

Nothing new: The loss of the diving program is nothing new given the current environment. Schools such as Red Lion and York Suburban, both of which used to have teams, do not have them anymore.

“We’re not the only ones that this type of thing is going on with,” Howley said. “And I think (the school board) took that into account as well. Red Lion got rid of (its) board, Suburban got rid of (its) board, West York and Susquehannock don’t have it. It’s just Central, Spring Grove, South Western, (Northeastern) and Dover. And Dover is in the same place. As soon as they have to do any major work, there’s no money for it and they’ll be gone too."

Diving isn’t the only thing eliminated at Dallastown. The Wildcats also had to cut the third-grade swim program.

“We lost our third-grade swim,” Howley said. “And to fund that, it’s tough. I’m glad that I don’t have to make the decisions, let’s put it that way.”

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.