Lap swimming was among a handful of activities that were approved to resume on Friday in Louisiana as Governor John Bel Edwards began to ease restrictions that were designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Restaurants, churches, casinos, gyms, lap pools, barber shops, nail and beauty salons, movie theaters, and other businesses were allowed to reopen on Friday May 15 at 25% of their normal occupancy limits.
The governor also said that while events like youth baseball and summer camps have not been explicitly prohibited, experts are “working on social distancing and sanitization guidance for these sorts of events.”
Among other sports, racetracks are allowed to reopen, though without spectators.
Among the teams that have returned to some form of training this weekend is City of Lafayette Aquatics (COLA). Located in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is the state’s fourth-largest city with a population of over 126,000, COLA has resumed training in their 5-lane outdoor pool with 10 swimmers at a time.
The team has prepared a sophisticated protocol for allowing their athletes to maintain social distancing while training and produced an instructional video for their athletes and families.
COLA is doing 60 to 90 minute practices, depending on ages and level, and doing dryland warmups. According to head age group coach Sarah Landreneau, the return has gone smoothly so far.
“It makes for a long day going 10 swimmers at a time out of our 5 lane outdoor pool, but it was worth it to see the kids and see how excited they were to be back in the pool again,” Landreneau said. “Parents and swimmers responded well and followed all of the guidelines. I think a lot of it is their excitement to be able to get out and see their teammates and friends and have some activity.
“We have an awesome swimming family that has been really supportive through this whole stay at home process.”
While Louisiana has been among the hardest-hit states during the coronavirus pandemic with 2,491 deaths in a population of 4.6 million, most of that has been concentrated in the New Orleans area. Lafayette Parish has seen only 578 cases and 23 deaths. That’s a recorded infection rate-per-population of about 13% of the New Orleans area.
Tiger Aquatics in Baton Rouge, a program owned by LSU head coach Dave Geyer, has also returned to limited training in 2 outdoor community pools. That club has 120 swimmers in 11 lanes at its main site, divided across 4.5 hours of use per day. Older swimmers are getting four 1-hour workouts per week, while younger swimmers are getting three 30 minute workouts weekly, with a 15-minute window between workouts and 2 swimmers per lane. Tiger Aquatics is one of the state’s biggest clubs.
UPDATED LIST OF POOL REOPENINGS
- Alabama – 50% capacity (May 11)
- Alaska – 50% capacity
- Arizona – 50% capacity (May 15)
- Arkansas – 50% capacity (May 22)
- Delaware – Community Pools at 20% capacity, no swim lessons or team practices (May 22)
- Florida – some localities have allowed pools to begin to reopen under a patchwork of restrictions
- Indiana – Adhering to Social Distancing Guidelines (May 24)
- Georgia – 10 or fewer people, or 6 feet of space per person (May 14)
- Kentucky – Pools designated for training or exercise can reopen (June 1)
- Mississippi – six feet apart
- Ohio – CDC Guidelines (May 26)
- South Carolina – Smaller of 20%/5 people per 1000 square feet (May 18)
- Texas – 25% capacity
- Virginia – Outdoor lap Swimming only, 1-per-lane (May 15)
- Wyoming – 1 person per lane