In a video posted to Twitter Saturday, 2016 Olympic head coach David Marsh made a plea to California Governor Gavin Newsom to allow pools to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic under social distancing guidelines.
Marsh’s professional team, Team Elite, is based in San Diego. Some members of the team, including Kathleen Baker, have been working out in a local two-lane 22-yard backyard pool with Marsh and assistant coach Javier Sossa on deck.
Marsh is also the director of Team Elite’s developmental arm, TE Stingrays, which practices at the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla under normal circumstances.
“We can do it very safely in a controlled manner with coaches and lifeguards making sure physical distance is taken care of,” Marsh says. “I also want you to know that with the chlorine and the UVs, it’s one of the safest places you can be, and we will take good care of our time and be super careful.”
An urgent request to @GavinNewsom from me and many others who love, miss, and need swimming: Whether in my role as a club coach, 2016 USA Olympic head coach, or as a small business owner— I can assure you that we aquatic professionals can open safely w “Stage 2” protocols. pic.twitter.com/5VxlcchC6B
— David Marsh (@SwimCoachMarsh) May 16, 2020
The video has 31,000 views and nearly 200 retweets as of Monday morning. In the replies, Marsh posted a link to USA Swimming’s recommendations for facility reopenings, and says that “many would argue” that swimming is essential (or at least worthy of “Stage 2” reopening).
California’s reopening plan has four stages, with Stage 1 already complete in some counties – but not in San Diego. Stage 2 includes the gradual reopening of retail (curbside pickup only), child care, manufacturing & logistics, and some outdoor activities. Those outdoor activities so far include golf and tennis, but not pool swimming.
A handful of states around the U.S. have begun reopening pools at a limited capacity or plan to do so in the near future. In California, some club teams – including Mark Schubert‘s Mission Viejo – have been able to appeal to local government and get approved to return to practicing under heavy restrictions.