Haines High School swimmers will compete against 2A schools again this year after the school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to formally include swimming among high school activities.

The board voted last year to support the team financially for one season, but Tuesday’s vote made swimming an official school activity for the long term and will compete under the governing regulations of the Alaska School Activities Association.

Superintendent Roy Getchell said swimming had been an official school sport in the past, but interest declined. The Haines Dolphins Swim Team, a nonprofit swim club, has sent high school-aged athletes to club meets and other swimming competitions.

“It’s been done before but the interest waned. There’s strong interessst with this program and the Haines Dolphins is super active right now and I think there’s a whole pipeline of students who will be ready to go,” Getchell said.

Haines High School is among five other 2A schools that will compete regionally, including Petersburg, Wrangell and Craig. Haines swimmers who qualify will compete at state against all competitors across the state, regardless of their divisions. Lucia Chapell qualified for state last year.

“We’ll be working with a lot of athletes who may not have done other fall sports or other sports,” Getchell said. “It’s one more thing to support their mental health and well-being while wearing a Haines jersey.”

Their first practice started Wednesday afternoon and the season goes through early November. The state championship is scheduled for Nov. 4 at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.