After the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which governs most high school sports in California, announced a condensed schedule for its 2020-2021 sports season, the CIF Southern Section has announced the official dates that it will start its seasons for individual sports.
The CIF has condensed its high school sports season into two distinct seasons, one for spring and one for fall, to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Neither of the two seasons begin until December, at the earliest.
The Southern Section is the largest of the CIF’s 10 sections and includes most of Southern California, excluding those in the Los Angeles Unified School District. There are almost 600 schools in the CIF Southern Section.
2020-2021 Aquatic Sports Seasons
Boys Water Polo
- First Contest Date – Monday, December 21, 2020
- SOP Date – Monday, January 11, 2021 (31 days)
- Last League Contest – Thursday, February 18, 2021
- Last Allowable Contest – Saturday, February 20, 2021 (62 days)
- CIF Southern Section Championship Finals – Saturday, March 6, 2021
- CIF Southern Regionals Finals – Friday/Saturday, March 19/20, 2021
Girls Water Polo
- First Contest Date – Monday, December 28, 2020
- SOP Date – Monday, January 18, 2021 (31 days)
- Last League Contest – Thursday, February 25, 2021
- Last Allowable Contest – Saturday, February 27, 2021 (62 days)
- CIF Southern Section Championship Finals – Saturday, March 13, 2021
- CIF Southern Regional Finals – Friday/Saturday, March 19/20, 2021
Boys and Girls Swimming & Diving
- First Contest Date – Saturday, March 13, 2021
- SOP Date – Saturday, April 17, 2021 (36 days)
- Last League Contest – Friday, May 21, 2021
- Last Allowable Contest Date – Saturday, May 22, 2021 (71 days)
- CIF Southern Section Championship Finals – Monday, May 24 – Saturday, May 29, 2021
- CIF State Championships – Friday/Saturday, June 4/5, 2021
Note: SOP is Sit-Out-Period, which relates to transfers between schools.
Notably, the CIF State Championship dates will be June 4 and 5, which is 8 days before the June 13 start of the 2021 US Olympic Swimming Trials. The CIF State Championship, a relatively-new state championship meet, has often been bypassed by swimmers focusing on bigger goals at summer long course meets. This year in particular, with only 2 weeks between even the Section championships and the Olympic Trials, we might see more athletes sit out the high school season. The CIF ruling that swimmers could participate in club and high school simultaneously could mitigate some of that strain.
There won’t be any overlap between the swimming & diving and water polo seasons, which should help reduce some of the strain on those athletes who participate in both.
As part of the changes, schools are allowed to have the same number of contests, albeit in smaller windows.