By Ben Killion
With the competitive swimming season starting again, coaches have been looking for creative alternatives to swim meets in order to keep swimmers safe and socially distant. Since the beginning of 2020, everyone has had to make changes to their daily lives due to COVID-19; however, the swim team is working on an alternative to in-person swim meets. According to Natalie Thompson, Varsity Swimming Assistant Coach, “We will swim the meet at our pool, our opponent will swim at their pool and we will submit times to each other…we just won’t be doing head to head competition at the same pool.” The coaches’ creativity has left the team with events to look forward to and a reason to practice, giving swimmers a chance to leave their house and socialize with friends.
Given swimming with a mask on is not possible, the pool has small groups of people in the area at any given time to remain as safe as possible. Practices started on Monday, December 14, 2020. Though they will look different, creative problem solving means that everyone will be socially distanced while still being able to swim comfortably.
This opportunity to swim is something the sport is lucky enough to have, though these ideas for virtual competitions could apply to other sports such as sailing, cross country, and golf. Although a traditional swim meet provides benefits such as seeing other competitors in the water, meeting new people, and seeing new places, virtual meets don’t require a swimmer to spend a day traveling to a pool off-island or spending money on an expensive ferry ticket. This leaves more time for school work, or other sports.
Swim meets are due to start in early 2021; however, in an effort to remain socially distant, spectators will not be allowed into the building. Fortunately, for students and families who would like to watch the swim meets, the athletic department and team coaches have been working on virtual plans to enable the public to enjoy swim meets while keeping spectators and swimmers safe.
Thankfully, with the help and creativity of team coaches, athletic directors, swimmers, and their families, everyone can stay safe while still enjoying swim meets.