Bittersweet home match: Goodbye seniors, goodbye pool

PLYMOUTH — Thurs-day night marked the end of swim competition in the Plymouth High School pool. After more than 35 years of use, the pool has become in disrepair and is scheduled to be closed forever.
Head Swim Coach Leanne Senter said, “Tonight’s meet will be bittersweet,” adding she has been coaching swim teams for 10 years and is in her seventh year as the head coach, and fourth as diving coach. “I’ve seen a lot of kids grow up in this pool and it’s just like home to us.”
Senter’s husband Mark said, “It’s a sad day for PHS. We’ve had a lot of fun here — a lot of teamwork over the years.”
Both of the Senter children began swimming in the pool when they were age 5. Daughter Megan is a junior at PHS and son Riley is a college student.
Mark Senter said, “I have a lot of emotion knowing that Megan will not be swimming here during her senior year.”
He also praised his wife for her dedication: “There was a time when Leanne was here well into the night.”
Chuck Holmquest, father of senior Alayna Holmquest, said the night carried a lot of mixed emotions for him.
“It’s sad that the pool is closing,” he said. “I’ve seen the kids improve every year.”
He too praised Senter and the entire coaching staff saying, “They have been fantastic all the way through.”
Watching the final meet were former PHS swimmers Amy Portteus and Brad Serf. Both competed on the team during the 1980s. Portteus said, “There are a lot of good memories here.”
Her son Joe graduated in 2010 after being on the team for four years and daughter Ella competed during her freshman year.
Serf said he still swims to this day. “Truthfully, I wanted to be on the basketball team, but didn’t make the cut. But it (swim team) turned out to be a great thing. It’s sad, but I understand that due to budgetary cuts, they had to close the pool,” he said.
Serf, as many others in the community, are hopeful that the community will pull together to build a community pool that could be used by the schools and local residents.
PHS seniors competing Thursday included Jared Hill, Clayton Maddox, Ben Shortt, John Slater, Jordan Wendel, Katelyn Brown, Alayna Holmquest, and Melanie Pedavoli.
Senter said, “We still hope to have a community night in March here at the PHS pool.”
Leanne Senter said, “We are competing against Culver Academies. Some of the kids on their team got their starts in this pool here at Plymouth.”
Plymouth Schools Superintendent Dan Tyree said, “Its unfortunate that the pool is closing and that we couldn’t have a replacement immediately upon the closing.”
Tyree said he hopes that the community will get behind groups within the community who are working on raising the needed funds for a new pool.
Although unconfirmed, potential arrangements are being considered with a neighboring high school where PHS swimmers could train and compete next year.