In a press conference given virtually, Louisville Swimming and Diving head coach Arthur Albiero spoke on the impacts on the NCAA season ahead, the precautions Louisville is taking to return to training, and what the impact could be on the sport should the Olympics be canceled.
To open the press conference, Albiero expressed his gratitude for both the ability to return to the water and training and to the athletes, both professional and NCAA who made the decision to put their trust in him and his staff going forward. He also touched on the importance of having these athletes in the water training, as there is no way for them to properly train without a pool.
In regards to his viewpoint on how this coming NCAA season may be affected, he said that the only option as a coach was to prepare as if it would be occurring as normal. As a coach, Albiero said, the most important thing is giving swimmers that sense of “normalcy”, as well as working to manage their expectations after taking time away from the water.
He also talked about the precautions that the university and swimming and diving program are taking to ensure the safety of student-athletes as they resume training on campus. The biggest precaution that has been taken is that all athletes have been tested twice for the virus prior to resuming training. Other precautions include mandatory symptoms surveys to enter the building, temperature reading, and the wearing of masks while inside the Louisville facilities. Athletes are also limited in their use of facilities, as locker rooms remain shut and athletes must leave immediately via a back door following practice.
Another topic that was touched on was how the swim team was able to return to training while other sports may not have that luxury. One reason he cited was the fact that the team has a stand-alone facility, with more than enough space to accommodate social distancing. With 8 foot wide lanes and only 13 swimmers currently on campus, social distancing is far from difficult to accomplish.
While he didn’t enter into details, he did mention that the pro group at Louisville, who are currently not allowed to train on campus, have secured water space within the community.
Albiero went on to discuss the potential impact on USA Swimming should the 2020, now 2021, Olympics be canceled. In short, he said that it’s something that can’t even be thought about right now, with his number one goal being to help get his athletes back to training and focusing on the now.