'Unfair advantage:' Broken school pool leaves NJ student swimmers in limbo ahead of championships

CeFaan Kim Image
Friday, January 26, 2024
Broken pool leaves 3 school swim teams in limbo ahead of championships
CeFaan Kim has the story.

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- There's a pool at Ferris High School in Jersey, but for student swimmers who compete in it, it's so much more than just diving platforms and lanes.

The sport is their passion.

Their team is their sense of community.

There are three high schools that uses this pool: McNair Academic, William L. Dickinson and Ferris.

Problem is this pool has been broken for months, and students say they haven't gotten answers as to why or when it will be fixed.

"A lot of time has been wasted in this situation," said Diany Diaz, who is one of those students. "This gives us an unfair advantage when it comes to swim meets and competitions. Of course, we have tried making the best out of the situation by not complaining or making excuses. But it's getting exhausting."

They turned out to a Board of Education meeting Thursday night to demand answers.

"The school development association has not funded any capital projects in the district. We have focused our efforts on improving roofs and installing new boilers to make sure those things are in place," said Superintendent Dr. Norma Fernandez. "However, at this time I can tell you that everything mechanical for the Ferris pool is operational and ready to go."

You would think that was the update that students wanted to hear; except the pool will be fixed just days before championships.

In the meantime, they've been forced to practice in subpar facilities.

"It should have been a priority much earlier on and not this close towards the end of our season," said Lamar Ghith, a student at Ferris.

"Imagine how much better we could've been with a real pool, real equipment, practices," said fellow student Zanaiyah Baker. "Dry land only does so much for you."

"I think it's kind of strange that they decided to fix the pool during our season," said Kayir Maples, a student McNair High School. "Because they took the pool away from us during the season in which we need the pool. If they would've done it before or after it would've been fine because it wouldn't gotten in the way."

Not to mention, students say they still haven't gotten reasons why the pool was shut down in the first place.

Students say to begin with, three schools have been sharing one pool due to a lack of funding.

So, to lose almost an entire season to the same issues makes them feel like no one cares.


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