Sanctioning the Swim Team

After almost 30 years since the first swim meet took place, Idaho officially sanctions swimming as a sport.


Photo Credit: Southern Idaho Conference

2017 Boise Braves Swim Team

McKenna Johnson, Reporter

In December of 2016, a momentous occasion occurred for competitive high school swimmers throughout Idaho. The Idaho High School Activities Association, or IHSAA, sanctioned swimming as an official sport almost 30 years after the first swim meet took place in Idaho. In doing so, Idaho became the 49th of 51 states (including the District of Columbia) to sanction the sport.

The last we heard of sanctioning the swim team before 2016 was 2008, when the IHSAA rejected the request to sanction the sport. However, they offered that in order to reconsider, the swim teams would have to start aligning their rule book with the IHSAA guidelines. After complying to the suggestion for 8 years, swimmers all around Idaho finally got their wish.

Now, what exactly goes into sanctioning a sport? It is no simple task. The IHSAA rule book is a lengthy one. The sport must conform to eligibility standards, contest regulations, and academic obligations, all easier said than done considering the lengthy list of swim team athletes.

Last year marked the first full season for the newly sanctioned swim team. As we enter the second year of our own sanctioned swim team at Boise High, I got the chance to sit down with one of the swim team captains and a few teammates, past and present to ask their opinion.

This year’s captain, Christopher F. Patrick, has been part of the Varsity Swim Team here at Boise for all 4 years of high school. When asked, he gave some detailed insight of what the shift was like, going from a club sport to a sanctioned sport. “With swimming becoming sanctioned it changed a lot of the rules and a little bit of the atmosphere at our dual meets and State. Specific to our team dynamic, our passion for winning and focusing on dropping time never changed, the sanctioning just created new problems and ideas that we hadn’t had to deal with being a “club sport”(school district rules, regulations by the ISHAA, etc.).”

In Patricks own words, the swim team becoming sanctioned was an action needed and overdue. “It is one of the most all-around sports, requiring strength in all of your muscles(plus a lot of mental work). We deserved to be sanctioned and recognized after decades of competing, and our BHS team is one of the most successful- we have won both the boys and girls last 3-4 state championships.”

Another varsity swimmer, junior Patrick Yost, has a bit of a different opinion. “So far I’m not very happy with the changes that are coming with the sanctioning of swimming. A lot of regulations are being made at the meets that in my opinion make it seem like the meets aren’t meant for the competitors.”

With the season beginning in August and meets continuing this month, the Boise High Swim team has already begun its second season as a sanctioned sport. Yost feels confident entering a new season with a new team. “I feel good about myself and the team this year. I am very motivated this season to work as hard as I can to score as many points as I can for the team in our meets.”

At the end of the day, it’s the atmosphere of the swim team, not the sanctioning, that makes it special. “We love to get rowdy at the meets cheering our teammates on,” says Yost.