Huntingdon swim team on chopping block, seeks donations from the community

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HUNTINGDON, Pa. (WTAJ) — A swim program that has been around for 25 years could go away due to budget cuts.

The Huntingdon Area High School swim team are doing all they can to save their team.

“While we are third lowest on our list of all our sports and cost per participant, our costs as a whole are going up because of the cost to use Juniata College pool,” said Melanie Varner, Head Coach for the HAHS Swim Team.

“They changed the cost in the last year or two so that those costs are going up dramatically.”

A Facebook post about the team being potentially cut as a program from Huntingdon Area School District began making rounds earlier this week, where Coach Varner asked the community to donate money, if possible, to assist in saving the team.

Current and former swimmers say the program has changed their life.

“I’ve made so many friends and so many relationships, and there was a point of my life where swimming was the only thing I had, if everything was going wrong in my life, I always had swimming there for me,” Sydney Houck, Senior Swimmer said.

“It’s kinda opened a lot of doors for me that I know that wouldn’t be opened otherwise if I hadn’t swam,” added Nick Buckley, a former member of the swim team.

Along with the swim team, the boys and girls tennis teams, girls field hockey and boys’ volleyball teams could also be cut.

This isn’t the first time the swim team is on the chopping block. In fact, they have been the last few years.

“It would be really sad to see that program go away when I know in 25 years, it’s really had a tremendous impact on a lot of kids,” Coach Varner continued.

“Nothing will ever be there for me, like the Huntingdon Area Swim team has,” Houck stated.

The Huntingdon Area School District is expected to make a final decision on their budget within the next two weeks.

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