Letter — Pisces, THS swimming thrive despite crumbling facilities
Over the past seven years the Trumbull competitive swim programs have continued to thrive while our 50-year-old Hillcrest Middle School pool has continued to decline.
The THS Girls Swim Team has risen to fourth in Class LL and #8 in the entire state. Each season the Trumbull Eagle Swimmers have improved upon their previous achievements. In 2015 they were 11th in LL and 33rd at the State Open. After the most recent season Coach Bill Strickland was recognized as the FCIAC coach of the year. Coach Strickland was recognized not only for his results in the pool, but for the culture that has become the envy of swim teams across Connecticut.
During Coach Bill's tenure the Trumbull Pisces have grown into a club that annually has a dozen or more swimmers qualify for the Connecticut Age Group championship,s where they've competed in 40-50 events each long and short-course season. In the most recent years, the Pisces have progressed to having several swimmers qualify for the highest level of Age Group swimming and compete at the USA Swimming Eastern Zone Championships. The Trumbull Pisces are also regular season champions of the Connecticut Yankee League three years running.
Over these past seven years there have been more than two dozen Trumbull swimmers competing at the collegiate level at colleges and universities such as Villanova, Notre Dame, Penn, UConn, Fairfield, and Connecticut College to name just a few.
It is clear that competitive swimming in Trumbull is on the rise, however the Trumbull High School teams and the Pisces are in serious jeopardy. Our facilities and our programs are headed in opposite directions. This past year Hillcrest Middle School celebrated its 50th anniversary, and its pool facilities are rapidly declining, as you would expect from a 50-year-old pool.
Multiple times every season for the past several years the Hillcrest pool has been shut down for several days due to various maintenance issues. Just last week, while heading into the Pisces championship trials weekend and the THS boys season finals, the facility was closed for three days for yet another maintenance failure. I truly feel that Trumbull would never let this happen to the football, baseball or soccer fields.
Three years ago Hillcrest pool lost its diving board forever; leaving the THS Dive teams to borrow time from neighboring towns like Orange and Monroe. Diving Coach Rob Devine has done an amazing job keeping the program competitive, but the THS team has suffered from not having a diving board in Trumbull. Our rising swim programs will be met with a far more dramatic demise when Hillcrest pool eventually goes the way of its diving board.
Now is the time. Trumbull needs a realistic plan to upgrade the Hillcrest facility or build a new aquatic center that will serve our programs and community for decades to come. If we continue to wait our community risks losing one of its best assets - the Trumbull swim programs.
Note — Redgate is president of the Trumbull Pisces swim program, and a member of the Aquatics Facilities Building Committee that was formed in 2018.