Letters To The Editor


Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Howard County

April 17, 2005

Make swimming a high school sport

Thank you for highlighting Sunday's Howard County high school swim meet in The Sun (April 13, "A time for fun, school spirit"). The annual meet, in which over 200 kids participated, is the county's only venue for swimmers to compete for their schools. Unlike in neighboring counties, these kids, who represent the tip of the iceberg of high school-aged swimmers, cannot swim on a high school team because the Board of Education has declared that high school swimming is not necessary. The Board believes that many sports seek varsity status in the schools, and swimming does not deserve special consideration.

But swimming is not like all other sports. Swimming enjoys broad participation among Howard County kids. Thousands swim every year. Swimming is co-ed. It is a life-long sport; the most popular sport world-wide. And we live in a county blessed by ample pool space. Still, the Board of Education has not embraced swimming as an important or feasible high school sport.

Because there is not swimming in high school, swimmers in Howard County generally quit the sport in their early teens. Club swimming (which the Board claims is a viable alternative), with six or more practices a week (including some at 5 a.m.) all year long, simply doesn't appeal to high school kids. Also, high schoolers want to compete for their schools. Thus, just when they can most benefit from swimming, its absence in the schools deprives kids of a wonderful experience.

The need for high school swimming in Howard County is clear. The rewards for swimmers are ample. We have the facilities. Cost is not prohibitive. And, as a co-ed sport, swimming is beneficial to the county's Title IX needs. There are hundreds of swimmers in the county who want to swim for their schools. They will want to compete in the soon-to-come Maryland High School swim meet. And they want to continue participating in a sport that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. I only hope that the Board finally recognizes the need for high school swimming. Its time has certainly come.

Several of us have formed a committee to again present this issue to the Board. Anyone interested in getting involved should e-mail me at hsswimming@comcast.net .

Andy Lazris


Backing O'Connor for Columbia Council

As Chairman of the Dorsey's Search Village Board, I am pleased that there is a real election this year for our Columbia Council representative. The Village Board does not endorse particular candidates, but as an individual I urge my fellow residents to vote for Tom O'Connor.

I have worked with Tom and seen him in action during the past 4 years that he has been the Dorsey's Search Council representative. He is an effective leader on the Council, and even more importantly, an effective advocate for our village.

Tom is adept at working with the staff of the Columbia Association (CA) to address our needs. He worked recently to obtain prompt repairs to Linden Hall, the village center, after a frozen water pipe broke and flooded the building. He has also been a successful advocate for items in the CA budget that directly affect our village.

Tom has been instrumental in our dealings with a developer of land near our village center, and through Tom's efforts, this development will be subject to the same architectural reviews and guidelines that keep our village such an attractive place to live.

Residents of this new development will contribute to CA's operating funds to help finance open space maintenance, repairs and updates.

Throughout his time on the Council, Tom has maintained close contact with our Village Board and the Village staff. He is a conduit for important information to travel between us and CA, and between Dorsey's Search residents and CA. Prior to being elected Council representative, Tom served for several years on the Village Board, and as the Board Chairman. I believe that to be an effective Council representative, service on a village board is needed before being elected to the Council.

I do not wish to denigrate Tom's opponent, but he has never appeared before our Village Board, nor participated in any village activities in the four years that I have served. When he recently ran for school board, Tom's opponent did not come to the Village Board to introduce himself or seek support. Although he briefly served on the Village Board several years ago, Tom's opponent missed a large number of meetings, and resigned because he did not have sufficient time available. Being Columbia Council representative requires substantially more time than required for a village board, and I question if Tom's opponent will be able to devote the time that Tom has.

I am pleased to see a real election campaign, but believe that the best interests of Dorsey's Search are served by re-electing Tom O'Connor as our Council Representative.

Jeffrey Marcus

Dorsey's Search

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