Bellefonte swim team finds new home

Dominic Capperella, Sports & Entertainment Director

For the past two and a half seasons, the Bellefonte boys and girls swimmers have had to travel 45 minutes to Tyrone for practice and then travel the whole way back, with normal days beginning for the swimmers at 4 in the afternoon and not returning home until 9 at night or even later. 

However, this has all changed, as on December 6 the Bellefonte School Board ruled in favor to allow the swim team to use the McCoy Natatorium, the home of Penn State Swim and Dive. 

The swim team had to use Tyrone’s pool for all of last season and the beginning part of this season up until last Thursday December 8, when they began to use the natatorium for their practices. The swim team will be allowed to use the pool at McCoy nearly every practice for the rest of the season, other than during the Penn State holiday break, as all facilities will be closed. 

“Being able to practice at Penn State’s McCoy Natatorium is possible because of the letter our head coach Tony Edmondson wrote,” senior Kate Rarrick said.

Kate is one of this season’s swim captains, along with fellow seniors Jacob Skrzycki, Emmalin Pringle, and Finley Musser, as well as junior Cedric Bagwell. 

This season, the swim head coach, Tony Edmondson, is not working within the school district, which would make it even harder for the team to be able to travel to Tyrone. This is yet another reason as to why the team and Coach Edmondson, would want to have practices occur closer to home.

“He wrote to the school giving many reasons as to why we should be able to practice at the Penn State facilities, including our GPAs and how much community service we are involved in,” Kate said.

Penn State’s home pool is not foreign to the Bellefonte swim team, as prior to the COVID-19 shutdown the District 6 championship swim meet was held each year at the McCoy Natatorium. The District championships will also return to the McCoy Natatorium this spring, for the first time since 2020. 

The change in scenery could also potentially benefit the Red Raiders in terms of training ability, and it showed during their first meet that occurred at their previous practice home of Tyrone. The meet took place on Friday, December 9 at Tyrone High School against two other schools, Tyrone and Penns Valley, and after battling the other two schools the Red Raider boys and girls teams both brought home wins. 

Being able to train at a Division One school could bring the Red Raiders even more success than they have had in the past. The teams have won many district championships in the past few years, with immense amounts of regular season success as well. The team has seen lots of local success with regular season and district wins, and now the ability to train at a new pool could potentially bring the team more state meet success.