The state of Arizona will postpone the start of fall sports, but will still keep all fall sports – including swimming & diving – in the fall season, rather than pushing them to the winter or spring.
Girls and boys swimming & diving will be able to start practices on August 24, according to the updated calendar sent out by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA). Meets can begin as early as September 14, with a state championship meet scheduled for November 5-7.
That leaves the state meet about the same time it usually is, while cutting about two weeks off of the beginning of the season. Winter sports will also be delayed slightly under the new calendar.
Arizona is the latest in a series of states to shorten or condense the seasons for fall sports. Arizona, though, will still keep football in the fall – unlike Colorado and Minnesota, which both pushed football to the spring in decisions made this week.
Arizona saw a huge spike in coronavirus cases this summer. On June 1, the state saw 1,176 new cases of COVID-19, then a new daily high by almost 300 cases. By the end of June, the state had hit 5,473 new coronavirus cases in a single day. Those numbers have started to tail off, though – by the end of July, new cases had dipped below 1,000 a day, and so far in August, the daily high has been 747 cases in a day.
The death toll has also slowed, from as many as 84 deaths in a single day twice in mid-July to no more than 17 deaths in a day so far in August.
Update 8/10/20: The state has released a document of modifications to each sport. Here are some of the key swimming modifications:
- No more than 3 athletes per lane
- Athletes should arrive in swim suits and plan to leave in swimsuits and change and shower at home after practice
- No spectators at meets
- It’s recommended that teams use “athletes not participating” as timers
- No high fives or group cheers that break social distancing guidelines
- Meet pace may be significantly slower to allow for social distancing and other health measures
Coaches have also been informed that the current plan would assign each school a site to compete at for an October 25 competition, and times from those competitions will be used to nominate and select athletes for post-season competition.