‘Abundance of caution:’ North at East swim meet postponed after unsatisfactory water test

Columbus North and Columbus East were all set to renew their swimming rivalry Tuesday at East before finding out around the end of the school day that the meet had to be postponed.

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. director of operations Brett Boezeman put out a statement saying, “… A water sample collected from the East pool today was reported as unsatisfactory. Although not required, BCSC will postpone the meet out of an abundance of caution. A rescheduled date of the event to be held at East will be announced as soon as possible.”

Boezeman said weekly water checks are performed on the on the East, North and Northside Middle School pools to rule out an error by the courier or a handling or sampling error. After the test was done on Tuesday at East, the company that did the testing gave Boezeman a courtesy call saying the report that will come back today will be unsatisfactory.

The technician said the unsatisfactory test did not come from e-coli and that if there’s any presence on the test at all, even at a low level, the report will come back unsatisfactory. If the test is unsatisfactory two weeks in a row, the pool has to close temporarily.

“We’re going over and above here just out of caution,” Boezeman said. “Even though we didn’t have two tests, we didn’t want to have the swim meet. We wanted to do our due diligence and postpone the event. The last thing we want to do is put kids in harm’s way. It is more of us being overly cautions than something being harmful in there. We’re just erring on the side of extreme caution.”

Boezeman said the technician told him that swimmers who were in the pool over the weekend or on Monday had nothing to be concerned about. He said another test likely will be performed today.

“We normally wouldn’t do that until next week, but likely (today), we’ll test it and see if it was a false alarm so to speak or something we can rectify,” Boezeman said. “It it is something we can rectify, usually it’s just increasing the chlorine we put in there. It it comes back clear (today), we’ll be back to normal.”

East boys coach Doug Trueblood said his swimmers practiced Tuesday morning before school and were in the locker room getting ready for a pre-meet workout Tuesday afternoon when they learned of the news.

“The kids were really excited, and the parents were really excited, so it’s a bummer,” Trueblood said. “It’s unfortunate because these two groups of kids want to compete against each other. But things like this happen. We’ll get it rescheduled.”

The East girls did a dryland workout, running and lifting on Tuesday. Jill Arnholt, who has coached the Olympian girls in two stints since 1985, said she can’t remember a time when one of their meets was canceled because of an issue with the water.

“We’ve had meets called for other reasons, weather and stuff like that, but never for this,” Arnholt said. “We were all fired up and ready to swim tonight, so we’re all disappointed. But I’m just glad that they’re being cautions and doing what’s best for their athletes.”

Because of the scheduled meet, North wasn’t planning to practice Tuesday, and by the time they found out the meet was postponed, most of the swimmers were gone from the school.

“Things come up from time to time, but these things happen,” North boys and girls coach Brett Findley said. “I’m sure we’re looking forward to a reschedule at some point. It’s smart on BCSC to err on the side of caution.”

East athletics director Pete Huse said a makeup date likely would be determined today or Thursday.

“I think (postponing was) the right thing for Dr. Boezeman to do,” Trueblood said. “We have enough going on in the schools with COVID and kids getting sick. There’s no reason to take a chance in this regard.”