SHERIDAN — On Sat., Nov. 7, 2015, the starting block on lane eight broke at Sheridan Junior High School. The Sheridan High School pool is located at the Sheridan Junior High School in the Early building. The Sheridan Veterans Day meet was going on for the Sheridan Swim Team and other USA sanctioned teams in the state. The blocks were in use during the second warm-up session and the teams in the water were practicing one-way sprints. A 14-year-old boy from another team got on the blocks and went down to take-his-mark when the block tipped over knocking him off balance into the water.
His coach notified the SST coaches about this and the coaches had to quickly find a solution. Assistant SST coach, Dan Black, went over to the block and twisted it off from the base. The base was so rusted where it been cemented in that he had barely needed to pull for it to come apart. While Black was dealing with the physical mess, head coach Brent Moore rushed to his computer to configure the meet into six lanes instead of eight.
After the meet settled into its usual rhythm, many wondered how this would affect swimmers and the pool itself. Sheridan installed blocks at the pool in 1976 and has not updated them since, but in the past 10 years they have renovated the bottom of the pool and purchased new backstroke flags and touchpads.
On Mon., Nov. 9, the block on lane 7 was removed and blocks for all eight lanes were ordered. However the coaches do not know when they will get here. The new blocks will improve the program by allowing the swimmers to practice with backplates so that they understand the backplates at other pools. The backplates are extensions of the blocks that can be lifted up for track starts and moved to either side of the block. They are there for the swimmers back foot to have an arched area to put itself. This will increase swimmers starts so that they are more efficient.
“I didn’t expect this to happen. We knew that they were old and that they weren’t in great shape, but we did not expect them to break like they did or we wouldn’t have had a kid get up on them.” said Moore. However he is excited to have the new blocks because they will be a safe asset for the swimmers.
Although the blocks are being replaced, the pool deck and equipment are old and may see further updates to either the lane lines or the diving board. Right now the blocks were bought for about $25,000 by the district and will be installed as soon as they come in.
By Helen Patten, Sheridan High School
Editors Note: This article originally appeared in the Sheridan High School newspaper, The Ocksheperida.