Spartan Swim Club feels stresses of budget cuts in Holt

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By Sally Zimmerman
Holt Journal staff writer

As the Holt School Board comes up with a plan for the upcoming year’s budget, the Spartan Swim Club may be hurt. One of the board’s proposed money savers was to close the pool at Holt Junior High School. This would be problematic for the Spartan Swim Club because it uses this pool for practices. They also practice at Holt Senior High School.

At the school board meeting on April 8, the board decided the junior high pool would stay open. They presented the yearly cost to run the pool at $26,000 with sporadic repairs costing $15,000 to $25,000. The board also said it cost another school district $156,000 to decommission its pool in the past. This cost far outweighs the savings from closing the pool.

The Spartan Swim Club operates in Holt, Haslett and Okemos and is open to kids age 5 and up. The club benefits Holt in more ways than one.

“It teaches the kids discipline and brings structure to their lives,” said parent Kris Mayhew.

The club is divided into three levels: Mini Spartan, Junior Spartan and Spartan. It acts as a feeder program for the high school swim team.

“Kids go into high school already knowing the strokes,” Robertson said.

The club also provides a safe environment for kids to interact and have fun. There are coaches for each different level.

John Malatinsky, school board president, said the pool would remain in use for junior high classes as well as community use.

If the pool closes, Head Coach Damon Robertson said the Spartan Swim Club would have to “readjust and get more creative.”

“The older kids would do more dry-land training,” Robertson said.

Holt High School does not charge the Spartan Swim Club to use their pool, unlike other districts. This is also subject to change. “If Holt starts to charge us,” Robertson said, “It’d be similar to what we’re paying in other districts.”

Natalie Fisher is a fifth grader who enjoys swimming with the club because she gets to be with her friends and get a good workout. Her dream is to become an Olympic swimmer and win a gold medal.

One coach, Courtney Chambers, describes the Spartan Swim Club as “its own little community” where everyone knows everyone.

The club competes in meets year round, with their next stretch of meets coming up in May.

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