The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has approved a proposal that will allow schools to host virtual swim meets during the 2020-2021 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure, which was proposed and passed unanimously by the swimming and diving committee, will now go to the Board of Directors for approval.
Under the measure, schools will have the option to either hold their meets in-person, or virtually.
During a virtual meet, teams compete at their own pools with timers and officials present under the traditional high school meet format. The results from the separate meets will then be compiled into a finalized document in order to determine a winner.
The swimming and diving committee has recommended that virtual meets be held on the same day as each other, or no more than one day apart. Additionally, they have recommended that in order to enforce social distancing, all swimmers exit the water on the opposite end of the pool after finishing a race and that all relay teams stand six feet apart prior to entering the water.
Swimming committee member and Xaverian High School athletic director Ted Currle says that he is very keen on the idea, stating, “It will reduce travel so that will cut down expenses. That’s important now, since we would need more buses for a meet due to the social distance. In some places, there might be restrictions on how many people you can have in the pool.”
Under the MIAA, swimming and diving are spread across both the fall and winter seasons, with teams competing in either season. The fall season began on September 18 and will end November 20, while the winter season will occur from November 30- February 21.
Winter is the more popular season for swimming and diving, which has a total of 240 boy’s teams and 212 girl’s teams competing across two divisions. In the fall, the continent is much smaller, with only 40 girl’s teams and 12 boy’s teams sponsoring programs. Several fall teams had already announced that they would be moving to the winter season this upcoming season prior to the pandemic.
In August, the MIAA voted to cancel the postseason for all fall sports, eliminating the Sectional and State Championship Meets. The winter championships are currently still scheduled to occur in February.