Published in the July 26, 2018 edition.

By JILLIAN STRING

NORTH READING — The Wilmington High School Wildcats will be joining the Hornets to form a cooperative swim team beginning with the 2018–19 season.

Both the North Reading and Wilmington School Committees, as well as the athletic departments, have approved the team. The two school districts have received the necessary approvals from the Northeastern Conference and the Cape Ann League.

“Our swim team would serve as a co-op, North Reading High School and Wilmington, supporting both programs and sustaining both programs,” High School Principal Anthony Loprete told the School Committee recently.

According to Loprete, discussion regarding the cooperative team has been ongoing between the two athletic departments, and a presentation was made to the Athletic Subcommittee last month.

School Committee Vice Chairman Scott Buckley asked Loprete to elaborate on the number of students currently participating in the NRHS swim program.

“The numbers have been sustainable, but I think we’re looking at potentially moving down a little bit, and then Wilmington reaching out to us and saying what about some kind of co-op arrangement,” Loprete stated.

Loprete continued on to say that North Reading currently has around 25 swimmers, and Wilmington has between six and 10.

“It’s more driven by Wilmington’s perceived inability to sustain a program on their own,” Superintendent Jon Bernard commented.

Loprete indicated that the additional swimmers would not keep NRHS students from making the team.

Pool fees increasing for district

School Finance Director Michael Connelly stated that the fees for Burbank YMCA, where the team swims, will be increasing, so the additional revenue from Wilmington will help defer some of the costs.

“We are involved in a transition plan over the next three years. Those rates (for the YMCA) are going to go from about $4,500 to close to $12,000 over the next three years,” Connelly said.

According to Connelly, Wilmington students will be assessed the same $400 user fee as NRHS students.

“Will we wear North Reading uniforms?” Buckley asked.

Loprete stated that since North Reading will be the host school, the team will remain the Hornets.