Sierra Grande will add a girls swimming team this winter

3A girls state swimming meet generic

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

In yet another sign of the sport's growth, Sierra Grande has announced its intention of add a girls swimming team in 2018.

The Panthers' new program will compete in Class 3A this winter, according to an email athletic director Eric Flores sent to the CHSAA office. That classification held its championships for the first time last winter.

"This is great news for the sport," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Bethany Brookens, who administers swimming. "It shows that adding a 3A classification really encourages schools to add their own program."

At last year's state meet, roughly 54 percent of the participants had never been to the state meet. The total number of participants in girls swimming grew to 4,287 in 2017, up from 4,142 the previous season.