High School swim team not allowed to compete because of administrative error

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you've put in as many hours on the pool deck as Preston Niayesh, hearing an apology this time of year from your swim coach might just sink your heart.

"When it comes down to it, I just forgot and I turned it in late," said Elliot Cavale, the head swim coach of El Diamante High School in Visalia.

Every May, Coach Cavale is responsible for entering his swimmers into the Valley Swim Meet. He missed the deadline this year by 10.5 hours.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Section, the governing body for high school athletics, says rules are rules. His boys are off the roster for this Friday's competition.

"Devastating. It would be devastating. I worked all season, last season for this moment," said Preston.

Preston holds the valley title for the 100-yard butterfly. He has dreams of competing at state and in college. Many of his teammates have similar aspirations.

"I've been swimming all my life. I want to be able to show I can get somewhere with it to people who didn't think when I was younger that I could," said Hayden Greenall, a high school senior.

The boys and their families have been pleading with CIF to find a solution and found a section of the organization's bylaws that permit for an exception through a member vote. The results are expected to come on Wednesday.

"I just feel like I should be punished," said Coach Cavale. "If that includes me not being not attending the meet, our athletic department paying a fine... I would step down if they got to swim."

On Wednesday morning, the CIF voted and El Diamante High School will not be able to participate in the swim meet.
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