Panthers dive right in

BLANCA — Sierra Grande High School announced they will be participating in women’s swimming for the 2017/ 18 season. The Panthers will be competing at the 3A level, which as it stands includes schools like Pueblo County, St. Mary’s Academy and Aspen.

All three were formerly members of 4A in the years prior. For the ‘15/’16 season the 4A league was bursting at the seams with 62 clubs. The following year saw the inclusion of 3A, which helped relieve pressure in 4A by bringing their number of schools down to 34 while 3A boasted 30 in its first year. Now that they have opened up the 3A classification it frees up schools in both leagues to a more inclusive environment. But with such a wide array of talent in 3A, there may still be pressure on smaller schools that want to compete but might be better suited to a 2A or a 1A.

As with anything there will be growing pains but if the sport continues to grow the way it has, things may swing in their favor soon. For this coming winter the 4A league is still showing growth compiling 36 schools while 3A has grown in its own right up to 40. Participation numbers for girl’s swimming are also on the rise; CHSAA numbers show an average of 135 new girls per year are taking part in their schools swimming programs.