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Dozens of Charlotte high school swimmers’ regional qualifying times thrown out

By Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com.

Dozens of high school swimmers who thought they had qualified for the regional meet will instead have to swim again to qualify because a non-certified referee was used in several meets this season, the N.C. High School Athletic Association ruled this week.

But the swimmers will have one last chance to qualify for the Feb. 1 N.C. 4A Western Regionals at the Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatic Center because Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has added two additional meets next week.

Swimmers need to qualify for the regionals to have a chance to make it to the state meet.

This issue affects most swimmers from the SoMeck 8 and Southwestern 4A conferences. The Southwestern 4A includes Butler High, East Mecklenburg, Garinger, Independence, Myers Park, Porter Ridge and Rocky River. The SoMeck 8 4A includes Ardrey Kell, Berry, Harding, Olympic, Providence, South Mecklenburg and West Mecklenburg. Charlotte Catholic is also in the SoMeck 8, but its swimmers are not affected. Catholic athletics director Kevin Christmas said his school used a different referee for its meets.

A third Mecklenburg County conference, the MECKA 8 — which mostly houses schools in the northern end of the county — was not affected.

Impacted swimmers who had previously achieved qualifying times or were close will be invited by CMS to compete again at two additional meets. The Southwestern swimmers will swim Tuesday at Providence. The SoMeck 8 swimmers will swim Thursday at Providence.

Schools have until Jan. 25 to report qualifying times to the state association.

“I’m disappointed, first and foremost, for our student-athletes,” said Sue Doran, director of athletics for Mecklenburg County Schools. “But the good news is if we want to try to find any good news in this, is that it was discovered in time for our student-athletes to be able to swim and make times and go to regionals. Everybody would feel 100 percent worse if this was discovered the day before, that times due to the association for regional qualifying were not good. That’s one bit of good news in this situation, but I’m disappointed for our student-athletes no question.”

Check back for more on this breaking story throughout the day.

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