A trio of multi-site mega-clubs in the Washington, D.C. area have suspended practices until the end of March, at least. The Nation’s Capital Swim Club (NCAP), Rovkville-Montgomery Swim Club (RMSC), and Machine Aquatics, 3 of the largest swim clubs in the United States, all serving the Washington D.C. area, have suspended group practices in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
NCAP has finished on top of the last 6 USA Swimming Club Excellence program rankings. The 3 clubs in total boast a membership of over 4,000 swimmers, which in aggregate accounts for around 1% of USA Swimming’s total membership.
In a letter posted on the team’s Facebook page on Saturday, NCAP says that they will be keeping in contact with athletes “multiple times per week” to see what they are doing to remain active, and they have developed an app for athletes to use to do dryland workouts at home.
“The coaching staff is looking at this as an “early spring break” and a time to take a deep breath and understand that our health and well being is more important than swimming for the next 2 weeks.”
NCAP says that they are working on plans for their 22 Olympic Trials qualifying swimmers to practice “on a limited basis in very small groups.” Saturday marks 100 days until the scheduled start of the 2020 US Olympic Swimming Trials.
“The staff felt this is important and I agree with that assessment,” the club’s CEO Tom Ugast said in his letter.
NCAP’s break will begin on Monday March 16th and, for now, run through Sunday March 29th.
Meanwhile, Machine Aquatics has suspended “all practices and operations” until March 31st, 2020.
We understand this decision may be very upsetting and challenging for your swimmer and family to accept and understand; but we must take all factors into consideration for the overall health & safety of the entire Machine Family.
Currently, our goal is to reopen on Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 but this decision will be carefully reviewed as we get closer to this date and evaluate the COVID-19 recommendations as of that time. Should we resume practices on Wednesday, April 1, 2020; Machine will not be taking our previously scheduled Spring Break from April 5th – April 13th, 2020 and will have normal training schedule during this time.
We certainly will miss our time together each week at Machine and we hope everyone enjoys this family time and stays safe and healthy.
Earlier this week, USA Swimming sent its membership a letter cancelling all USA Swimming hosted events and “strongly recommending” the cancellation of all meets.
USA Swimming’s message to its membership did not mention practices or other team events, and several clubs have been hosting intrasquad time trial racing, though most regular meets have followed the USA Swimming recommendation.
Both NCAP and Machine Aquatics have produced a number of national team members and Olympic medalists for USA Swimming. Current National Team member Phoebe Bacon trains with NCAP, as do Junior National Team swimmers Paige McKenna, Claire Nguyen, and Chase Travis. Junior National Team member Anna Keating trains with Machine Aquatics.
Washington D.C. has 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Maryland has 26 confirmed cases, and Virginia has 41 confirmed cases. Virginia also has 1 confirmed COVID-19-caused death. Most infectious disease experts believe that a lack of testing has resulted in underreporting of cases in the United States.