A lot goes into hosting conference swim meet

WARREN — Steam spewed out of the one door leading to the Warren G. Harding High School parking lot, separating the frigid conditions outside from the high humidity permeating around the school’s natatorium.

It’s one of the perks the Raiders’ swim coaches sees this time of the year as his team comes though that entrance.

On Saturday, the swimmers and onlookers surrounding the Olympic-sized pool could see that foggy mist briefly enter the tropical conditions at the All-American Conference meet.

“It’s smoke on the water,” Harding coach Steve Lukco said.

The clash of conditions collided this weekend.

Friday night’s weather was sleet turning to heavy snow, which made road conditions, even on main roadways, virtually impassible unless you had sled dogs or a snowmobile.

Would the AAC meet still happen?

Lukco and WGH athletic director Bill Nicholson decided to move the diving and swimming each back one hour to 10 a.m., and 2 p.m., respectively.

The City of Warren plowed the roads and the Warren City Schools maintenance crew got things ready for Saturday’s event.

“They did a bang up job for us,” Lukco said.

The WGH support staff and boosters help with the timing, concessions and other things at a swim meet.

“There’s no way I could do it by myself,” Lukco said.

Boardman coach Terry O’Halloran said he didn’t know if Saturday’s meet was going to take place.

He was happy that Lukco made the move to push the meet an hour back so those coming would be safer.

“That was my biggest worry when I went to bed (Friday) night and when I woke up at 6 (a.m.) to check the road conditions,” he said. “I wasn’t optimistic we were going to get this in.”

Ashtabula Lakeside was the only team not in attendance because of the poor road conditions around Lake Erie.

“I didn’t want anybody to travel if they didn’t feel safe,” Lukco said.

After everything was put away, Saturday night felt pretty good to the WGH coach as he relaxed at home.

“Can’t wait,” Lukco said near the end of Saturday’s meet. “It’s been a long day. It’s dark when I got here. It’s dark when I leave.”

Saturday’s meet was filled with plenty of AAC marks falling once again, a meet dominated by team wins from Boardman.

“We’ve got a lot good swimmers in this area,” Lukco said. “It’s a fun meet to host. It’s a fun meet to watch.”