2021 FINA SHORT COURSE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, December 16th – Tuesday, December 21st
- Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- SCM (25m)
- Prize Money
- Meet Site
- Psych Sheet
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- FINA Live Results
- Omega Live Results
A trio of American swimmers have returned home from the Short Course World Championships early. USA Swimming confirmed the news, but refused to share any details, as they have with other COVID-related withdrawals.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Michael Brinegar, Michael Andrew and Rhyan White have withdrawn from their final events at the FINA World Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi, and will return home to the U.S,” the short statement from USA Swimming read.
A spokesperson in Abu Dhabi said that she could not share any other information.
This makes for 5 total American swimmers who have withdrawn from the meet for COVID-related reasons. The other two, Katie Grimes and Lydia Jacoby, were more specifically announced to have withdrawn “due to COVID-19 protocols.”
The lack of detail makes it hard to parse the difference between the Grimes and Jacoby decisions and the three new withdrawals on Sunday. It is believed that Grimes and Jacoby were pulled out for exposure and/or a positive test and will be required to isolate in Abu Dhabi for at least 7 days before returning home, whereas the other three voluntarily withdrew to avoid the same fate if they tested positive.
USA Swimming’s statement about Grimes and Jacoby did not mention returning home to the United States.
Indiana head coach Ray Looze confirmed that Brinnegar, who trains at Indiana, is returning home to avoid an infection that would result in a quarantine in Abu Dhabi. “It’s just not worth being stuck there for 10 days,” Looze said.
Brinnegar was scheduled to swim in the 1500 free, his only individual event, later in the meet. White dropped the 50 backstroke on Sunday, which meant no Americans swam the race. She won gold in the 200 back and silver as part of the 200 medley relay earlier in the meet, and was likely going to swim a leg of the American 400 medley relay on Tuesday.
Andrew skipped prelims of the 50 fly on Sunday, and without him, USA Swimming missed the medals in the 200 free relay in finals. He had not been swimming near his best times to this point of the meet.
Andrew, who was infected with COVID-19 earlier this year, wasn’t vaccinated at the Olympics. He said in his most recent vlog post that he is still unvaccinated.
A number of British swimmers have withdrawn from the meet too, and anecdotally, it appears that COVID-19 fears have begun to spread throughout the meet, which could lead to more absences over the final 2 days of competition. Some coaches and athletes are pondering, or have decided to, withdraw from the event early to avoid getting a positive test and having to quarantine in Abu Dhabi. This has left countries scrambling to fill relays – the British men scratched both of theirs on Sunday.