Swim team members adjust to Covid-19 guidelines

Restricting the number of meet participants is among changes

Swim+team+members+gather+on+the+pool+deck+during+last+year%27s+regular+season+meet+at+Avon.+

Cathedran file photo

Swim team members gather on the pool deck during last year’s regular season meet at Avon.

Ellie Schnur, Reporter

Just past the one-year anniversary of the first documented Covid-19 case, the persistent pandemic continues to affect nearly every aspect of our daily lives. 

Administrators have implemented new policies and guidelines throughout this school year in compliance with safety protocols and in an effort to keep both students and staff safe and healthy. For one, sports teams and clubs have altered their operations to adapt and reduce the risk of being shut down. 

Entering into winter sports seasons, the swim team has made arrangements for handling Covid-19 whilst preparing to have a successful and meaningful season.

Head Coach Ms. Ashley Hill has been responsible for both coaching her swimmers and assuring that they are being as safe as possible. The women’s swim season began on Oct. 26 and the men’s season began on Nov. 9. Both are scheduled to continue through February. 

At first glance, swimming seems like it would involve a higher risk of spreading Covid-19 because of participants being in the same water at the same time. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is no evidence that Covid-19 can be spread to humans through the use of recreational waters.” 

In lieu of any special protocol or different safety suggestions to follow, the CDC encourages swimmers to “follow safe swimming practices along with social distancing and everyday preventative actions to protect yourself.” 

And Hill has done just that. 

The coach said, “We have had to add extra practice slots in order to spread our team out into pods. Athletes practice in the same land pod, there are no more than three people in a lane on the side of the pool, and all team meetings have been moved to online.”

Similar to other sports, Hill adds, “We have to limit the amount of time we are within six feet of one another, and we have to have a mask on at all times when we are out of the water.” 

Additionally, competing against swim teams of other schools has also been amended to comply with Covid-19 safety regulations. Hill said  “We have to limit the number of athletes competing to 30, which means 19 athletes cannot compete in each meet.” 

Hill is not alone in establishing and enforcing safety guidelines to sustain the swim teams’ seasons and assure the health of each participating athlete. She mentions a group of students who have stepped up as leaders on each team. Among this collection of leaders, Hill recognized seniors Abygail Dravis, Annabella McGinley-King, Lyndsey Huntzinger, Erica Weed, Bailey Johnson, Jake Carlson, Michael Carnes and Nate Hillenburg. 

Carlson, one of the team’s senior leaders, is determined to secure the entirety of the season and avoid the threats of Covid-19. As a four-year varsity swimmer and current team captain, he is working to be an example to those around him. Carlson said, “The fact that we’re able to have a season this year is incredible. Thanks to our amazing coaches, we are able to train and compete safely. Corona isn’t stopping the Irish.”