For a second straight year, California wildfires are bringing up air quality concerns that could affect swim practices and competitions.
Wildfires are tearing across the West Coast, killing seven people and destroying buildings across California, Oregon and Washington. The resulting ash in the air has caused health and safety concerns. We saw a similar situation last year, when swimming officials were forced to cancel practices or competitions if air quality crossed a certain threshold.
The Pleasanton Seahawks, one of the Bay Area’s bigger clubs, canceled a practice last night due to falling ash, even though the AQI was still under that threshold. The club continues to evaluate the situation.
Stanford University said it was continuing to monitor the AQI and would adhere to the school’s policies of canceling activities if the AQI rises too high. Stanford’s college swim team is not yet back on campus and training, though we’re told the training schedule of the professionals already training on campus has been affected.
“We are continuing to closely monitor the AQI, as outlined in our sports medicine and NCAA policies, which includes suspending activities depending on the level at that time,” a school spokesperson said. “Overall, Stanford began welcoming student-athletes to campus on June 17 to participate in on-campus voluntary activities. The health, safety and overall well-being of our student-athletes remain our primary concerns.”
California also said it would be monitoring AQI and making changes to practice schedules if needed.
“Unfortunately, the impact of poor air quality on our ability to practice isn’t new territory for our swimming & diving programs,” the school said in a statement. “It’s been a challenging piece of our puzzle over the last few years, but what is clearly more unfortunate right now is the impact of these fires on our local and statewide communities. Looking at the big picture, the air quality’s effect on our practice schedule is the least of our concerns.