More cancellations of college swimming & diving meets across the country have been canceled for this coming weekend as the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by the hyper-viral Omicron variant, continues.
Dual meets between LSU and Florida State, Pitt and Denison, and University of Illinois-Chicago and Southern Illinois are the latest cancellations among meets involving NCAA Division I programs.
LSU – Florida State
A meet scheduled between LSU and Florida State in Baton Rouge was canceled because of COVID issues within the Florida State program, according to LSU’s press release.
“We are disappointed that Florida State will be unable to make the trip to Baton Rouge,” head swimming coach Rick Bishop said. “They are great competitors, and we always look forward to competing against them. We wish them the best and hope their athletes get healthy soon. The COVID virus is so contagious, and it has created a very difficult time for all student-athletes as they try to be vigilant, train hard and stay healthy to compete and go through college life.”
“We’re seeing meets and other sporting events canceled or postponed all around collegiate and professional sports because of this COVID spike,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “The well-being of our student-athletes is our top priority.”
LSU still plans to have a home intrasquad meet this weekend.
This is already the third dual meet that Florida State has had canceled this season. A home meet against Texas A&M that was on the schedule for last weekend was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, while a November meet against the University of Florida was canceled by non-COVID-related illnesses.
Leon County, where Florida State is located, has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the state, averaging 274 cases per 100,000 residents over the last week. Cases on campus have risen since classes restarted on January 5: in the period from January 3 to January 9, 358 students and 40 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, with 557 university-affiliated individuals who have tested positive currently in isolation.
The Seminoles have one met remaining, at home against Tampa, before the ACC Championships, along with the Auburn First Chance meet – though that is usually an event for non-championship swimmers.
Pitt and Denison
Division I program Pitt was scheduled to square off against Division III powerhouse Denison on Friday at Denison. Pitt says that this was due to “health and safety protocols within (Denison’s) athletic program.” Denison also canceled its meet scheduled for Saturday against Carnegie Mellon.
Licking County, Ohio, where Denison is located, is averaging about 160 cases per 100,000 residents over the last week. The school doesn’t publish its COVID-19 testing data publicly.
This is the second-straight week where Pitt has had a meet canceled. Last week, the team pulled the plug on their meet with rivals West Virginia, with West Virginia saying the cancelation was because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols within Pitt’s program.
UIC and SIU
For the second straight week, UIC has had a meet canceled. Last week, it was a matchup with IUPUI and Cleveland State that was lost, and this week it is an intra-state showdown with Southern Illinois.
UIC says that this is “due to Covid protocols in the SIU program.”
Instead, the Flames will hit the road to race Valparaiso just across the state line on Friday before racing back home on Saturday against Green Bay for the team’s annual Senior Day meet.