The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has rescheduled the Girls Swimming & Diving State Championship meet for January 15-16 after the state opted to not further extend a pause on high school sports. The initial pause came about a month ago amid rising coronavirus cases in Michigan, as in much of the midwestern United States.
The MHSAA is allowing all in-season teams to resume practice on Monday, December 21.
Fall sports tournaments, including those in football and girls volleyball, will be held as part of a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services pilot rapid testing program. That program is “designed to gain insight and collect data on the spread of COVID-19 as the MDHHS plans to provide expanded rapid testing availability to schools in January.”
The 3 divisions of the Michigan state championship series in the lower peninsula will each be held simultaneously but at separate locations, as is customary. Diving competition will be held on January 15, with swimming proceeding on January 16.
Indoor winter sports, which are not being included in the MDHHS rapid testing program, will remain on pause until January 16. Girls and boys alpine skiing, which is held outdoors and following specific safety protocols, will be the lone winter season sports allowed to resume on December 21.
The MHSAA Council will meet again on December 22 to hold further discussion on other winter season sports, including swimming & diving, ice hockey, and basketball.
All spring 2021 sports are expected to ‘begin on time and play complete seasons concluding with their traditional MHSAA Tournament dates in May and June.
The MHSAA first paused high school athletics in mid-November, the week before the girls’ swimming & diving state championship was scheduled to begin. As the end of that initial 3-week pause neared, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the pause by 2 weeks to asses the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday.
While cases were spiking in mid-November when the pause, part of a set of broader statewide restrictions, was enacted, new daily cases in the state have begun to decline since. Over the last 7 days, the state has averaged 4,508 new cases of coronavirus infection per day, which is down from a peak of almost 8,300. Cases have fallen by 38% over the last 14 days, and the number of people hospitalized in the state has fallen by 13% over the same time period according to New York Times data.
Deaths attributed to COVID-19, which typically lags the trend in new cases, continues to rise, though, with the state seeing more than 900 deaths over the last week.
Last season, the girls’ Division I state championship meet, for the state’s biggest schools, was one of the most exciting championship meets in the country. Farmington Hill’s Mercy High School placed 3rd in the final relay of the meet to beat Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High School by half-a-point.
2020-2021 MHSAA Girls’ Swimming & Diving Sites & Defending Champions:
- Division 1 – Hudsonville High School (Defending Champions: Farmington Hills Mercy High School)
- Division 2 – Grand Rapids Northview High School (Defending Champions: Birmingham Seaholm High School)
- Division 3 – Lake Orion High School (Defending Champions: East Grand Rapids High School)
MHSAA Fall Sports Resumption Plan, By Sport
- The Girls Swimming & Diving Finals with return with its three Lower Peninsula Finals competed during the weekend of Jan. 15-16 with one division at each of three locations. Diving would be completed Jan. 15, with swimming the following day.
- The Football Playoffs will begin again Saturday, Jan. 2, with Regional Finals for 11-player teams and Semifinals for 8-player teams. The 8-player championship games in both divisions and all 11-player Semifinals will be played the following Saturday, Jan. 9. The football season will conclude with the 11-Player Finals in all divisions the weekend of Jan. 15-16. All Semifinals in both 11 and 8-player will be played at home sites. Sites for championship games will be finalized soon and posted to the MHSAA Website.
- The Girls Volleyball Tournament will begin again with Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Semifinals and Finals will be played Jan. 7-9 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.