LINCOLN — For the third time in five years, snow will make it an adventure to get to and from the state high school swimming and diving championships.
The championships haven’t been delayed because of inclement weather since 1965, and the Nebraska School Activities Association has no plans to end that streak this week.
NSAA officials put out a press release Wednesday that said the meet was not being postponed. It begins Thursday at 9:30 a.m. with girls 1-meter diving at the Devaney Center.
The NSAA has communicated with the schools involved in the championships and asked them to arrive in Lincoln ahead of the impending snowstorm.
“The NSAA Swimming and Diving championships will remain as scheduled as we monitor the local weather forecast,” meet director Jennifer Schwartz said. “It is up to each school to determine whether or not to bring their teams to Lincoln early. Our primary goal is to keep everyone safe as they travel to Lincoln.”
With snow accumulation predicted to end Thursday evening, NSAA officials believe Lincoln will have adequate time to remove snow from the main roads, allowing schools and fans to reach the Devaney Center from their hotels.
Many teams — including Millard South, Omaha Westside, Omaha Marian, Omaha Creighton Prep and Elkhorn/Elkhorn South — brought their swimmers and divers to Lincoln on Wednesday.
In many cases, the boys swimmers, who don’t begin their prelims until 1:30 p.m. Friday, won’t head for Lincoln until Friday morning. Not only were coaches scrambling to make hotel reservations, they were also trying to line up pool time for Thursday practices.
Millard South coach Tyler Hammond said he had arranged with Lincoln Northeast coach Kyle Hunt to have a workout at the Rockets’ pool. The other five Lincoln Public Schools high schools also have pools, and teams staying in downtown Lincoln were looking into getting some time at the YMCA.
“We don’t want to have to drive kids clear across town to practice if the roads are bad,” Hammond said. “It might work better if there’s too much snow and the winds aren’t bad to have everybody walk over to the YMCA.”
While Creighton Prep is favored to win its seventh consecutive boys team title, the girls race appears more open.
Lincoln Southwest and Millard West appear to be the leading contenders to dethrone Omaha Westside as the girls champion, while other schools like Lincoln Southeast, Millard North and Elkhorn/Elkhorn South will make strong pushes for a top-5 finish.
Millard South, Southwest and Elkhorn are the teams most expect to finish the closest to Prep.
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