The Maine Swimming LSC has ordered all of its member clubs to stop all swimming activities in the largest rollback of reopening efforts for the aquatics community to date amid a resurgence of new coronavirus cases.
A letter sent to the state’s membership by General Chair Taylor Rogers instructs clubs that “all swimming activities, including in-water practices, dryland training sessions, competitions, and other club activities under the jurisdiction of Maine Swimming, Inc. are suspended.”
Maine Swimming says that a violation of those guidelines will be considered a violation of the Executive Order issued late last week by Governor Janet Mills and are punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
This comes after clarification from the state that its directive to limit ‘team swimming’ activities was not a reference to just relays, but all activities of swim teams.
Maine Swimming says that they have submitted a letter to the Governor requesting that swimming be recalssified from a “Moderate Risk” activity to a “Low Risk” activity. Per the state’s guidelines on Moderate Risk activities, athletes are prevented from “performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with household members” until December 7, 2020 and “team-based practice with physically distanced group activities” until December 14, 2020.
That means that athletes are not even supposed to participate in individual conditioning activities like running or pushups at home, if they’re guided by the team.
Rogers clarified to SwimSwam on Sunday that while the state cannot dictate what athletes choose to do from home on their own, as Community Sports Organizations, Maine Swimming and individual clubs cannot “facilitate, organize, or in any way be involved with these activities until December 7th.” That includes writing individual workouts for dryland or to be used during open lap swim times.
According to state guidelines (seen in full here), other moderate risk activities include baseball, softball, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, cheerleading, martial arts, ultimate frisbee, field hockey, and doubles pickleball.
Examples of Lower Risk activities, which are essentially allowed to proceed fully with the exception of no competition against teams from other states, includes batting cages, singles or doubles tennis, singles pickleball, individual swimming, disc golf, golf, individual biking, surfing, horseback riding, sailing, fishing, hunting, motor sports, gymnastics, weightlifting, skiing, and running events where physical distance can be maintained.
This does open a loophole to the rules where swimmers can swim “individually” or participate in physically distanced running or weightlifting activities that are not a function of their participation as a member of the swim team if they were to, say, join a running club or weightlifting program.
The new order also requires individuals to wear masks in public settings regardless of the physical distance, establish a 50 person indoor gathering limit.
Until this point, teams in Maine have been able to train with some restrictions, and had begun holding virtual meets again. That includes one last week where Cole Gorsuch of the Portland Porpoises broke an LSC Record previously held by Olympic gold medalist Ian Crocker.
Like most states in the country, Maine has seen a rise in new daily coronavirus cases over the last 2 weeks. The state generally kept cases lower than 80 per day throughout the pandemic, but last week hit a new record high of 184 cases.
A tripling in the average of new daily cases over the last 2 weeks has also led to a tripling in the number of hospitalizations attributed to coronavirus.
With an estimated 5,723-per-million population, Maine ranks only behind Vermont for fewest coronavirus cases. The state’s 152 deaths caused by COVID-19 (113 per-million population) also is 2nd-fewest in the country behind Vermont per capita.
The Full Letter is Below:
A letter from the General Chair:
November 7, 2020
To Maine Swimming Athletes, Coaches, Club Leadership, Volunteers, and Families:
We write today to inform you that, as discussed during last night’s Emergency Meeting, effective immediately all swimming activities, including in-water practices, dryland training sessions, competitions, and other club activities under the jurisdiction of Maine Swimming, Inc. are suspended pursuant to the State of Maine’s Department of Economic & Community Development Community Sports Guidelines. Any violation of these guidelines is considered a violation of Governor Mill’s Executive Order issued on November 4, 2020 and punishable by the State of Maine with up to 6 months in county jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
We understand the implications of this decision and the impact it will have on our members. We have already reached out to the State of Maine to seek clarification on what constitutes individual swimming versus team swimming. Unfortunately, we received clear and decisive confirmation directly from the Commissioner of the DECD that “they did in fact intend ‘team swimming’ to mean all swim team-type activities, not only relay swimming events”.
We have now submitted a letter to the Governor requesting “team swimming” be reclassified as a “Low Risk” activity; however, until this happens we must all adhere to the “Moderate Risk” requirements which include a moratorium on “performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with household members” until December 7, 2020 and “team-based practice with physically distanced group activities” until December 14, 2020.
The Athletes’ Committee will be hosting a town hall meeting tonight at 6 PM open to all athletes to discuss how they can all stay connected during this time and the Board of Directors will be meeting Monday at 8:00 PM to discuss our options and next steps. As always, this meeting is open to all registered members of Maine Swimming.
Please reach out if you have any questions.
Maine Swimming, Inc