Nation’s Capital Swim Club Lays Out Reopening Operating Procedures

Nation’s Capital Swim Club, the biggest club swimming team in the United States, has released a “Standard Operating Procedures” document that outlines the protocols it will follow once their swimmers are able to return to the pool.

Located in Bethesda, Maryland, state officials have yet to include any confirmation on when gyms or pools can reopen, though NCAP CEO Tom Ugast told club members that he is “confident that we will be back in the pool soon.”

The club’s operating procedures for reopening, which can be found here, follow the guidelines released by USA Swimming and are in line with what we’ve seen from other clubs around the country.

NCAP’s plan does, however, have a few notable requirements we haven’t seen from every club.

Coaches will be required to wear masks and gloves during practice at all times, and athletes are to do the same other than when they’re swimming. USA Swimming’s guidelines do suggest PPE as a preventative measure, but it is not required.

Another measure taken by the club is that the coaches will conduct temperature tests on the athletes prior to entering the facility. Any swimmer who registers a temperature above 100.4 degrees won’t be permitted to practice and will be sent home. This isn’t standard practice, but has been implemented by some other teams, including Texas Ford Aquatics.

While the club doesn’t outline how many athletes will be permitted per lane, it does follow other standard procedures we’ve seen across the country, including having a one-way entrance and one-way exit, a 20-minute window in between practices when common areas will be disinfected, and a full clean of the facility once practices are wrapped up for the day.

Should a swimmer or coach test positive for COVID-19, the facility will be shut down for a minimum of 24 hours for deep cleaning.

NCAP, who currently operates out of 15 pools across the D.C. area with close to 2,000 members, won its sixth-straight USA Swimming Club Excellence Program Honor in December, indicating prolonged success for its 18 & under athletes.

NCAP is home to USA Swimming National Team member Phoebe Bacon, as well as National Junior Team members Paige McKenna, Chase Travis, and Claire Nguyen. Multi-time Olympic and World Champion Katie Ledecky also represents NCAP at most domestic competitions despite currently training at Stanford University.

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Do you have to put your mask and gloves on before you get out of the pool?
Are you supposed to get dressed with your gloves on?
And how effective is a mask after it gets wet?

The goal for each day is to come up with a rule that is more ridiculous that the most ridiculous rule that came out yesterday.

If you are healthy enough to swim, the virus is no risk to you.

USA Swimming guidelines recommend not using locker rooms, and from plans we’ve seen elsewhere, the idea is to have athletes get dressed at home to minimize time at the pool. I don’t believe there are any recommendations to get masks wet or wear them in the pool. Not sure any of these rules are as ridiculous as you make them sound.


Agreed. Coaches having to wear masks is unsafe for water safety. Sadly being PC is more important than water safety. People recover from COVID-19. People do not recover from drowning!


Masks are not PC. Every country in the world that has had success in fighting COVID has included them in their strategies. Masks can be quickly and easily removed. They are part of the discussion in industry water safety plans, also.


DC coach, masks are not required in USA guidelines. This club has chosen to add them. Even more curiously they added gloves as a requirement. Since there are no known benefits to this protocol in a swimming environment, one can only surmise that the club is under tremendous pressure to be PC. In rescue situations where seconds matter, it seems foolish to be adding even one second to the rescue. I do sincerely hope they no one is harmed due to this ill conceived policy.


Interesting that you equate a slightly different level of caution with being “PC”. It’s almost as if you have some sort of agenda.


Swimmer, the agenda is water safety. Guilty as charged!

The michael phelps caterpillar

Ferg, I am sure that if an athlete appears to be drowning the coach is allowed to take off their mask and save the athlete.


100k people are dead. No rule is ridiculous. And your last sentence is, sorry if this offends, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard


Eagleswim, Drowning isn’t fatal? It is sick that people are willing to put anything ahead of water safety.


drowning is fatal and we take pretty intense precautions to try and make sure it doesn’t happen. It still does happen too often, but not for lack of rules and regulations trying to prevent it.


Eagleswim, what isn’t true about it?


swimming is for everybody, including (perhaps even especially) people in the populations at high risk for COVID. spend any time at a masters practice or open swim, and you’ll see that lot of the people who love swimming and use it as their primary form of exercise are exactly in those high-risk populations. There is a man in his mid-90s in my area who swims basically every single day and has been for his whole life. Should we be lax in our precautions because surely if he is healthy enough to swim, then the virus is no risk to him? Pools opening is important for the health of these people (more so than for the high school sophomore trying to… Read more »


Eagleswim, not the topic at hand which is youth swimming. Nice try though!

Not a scientist

Gloves for coaches and athletes seem a little excessive to me. COVID virus isn’t absorbed through skin and the small risk of transmission through contaminated surfaces is due to people then touching their faces. Gloves won’t protect that. They can still carry the virus on gloves. It’d prolly be better to just require hand washing more frequently. Maybe I’m missing something.


Standard PPE always includes gloves (and lab coat) by OSHA standards. An extra layer of protection is rarely a bad idea. Just ask Trojan.


Gloves are meaningless in this situation. CDC clearly has stated contact is not an easy way to get infected. Whether wearing gloves or not, if your hands have virus and you touch your face it can transmit. I would say no gloves, watch what and wear you touch, and keep a bottle of disinfectant at hand


Better yet, disinfect the gloves regularly. Never touch the face gloves or not. I think I would go with OSHA over CDC presently and unfortunately.


Ridiculous. Just let everyone do what they’d normally do. This is absolutely crazy overkill!

How is the coach (wearing a mask) going to scream in little Johnnie’s face when he pulls on the lanelines???


Gifting our coaches with volume adjustable megaphones. Let’s go safely!


The USA swimming spacing includes rest points on lanelines, so that wouldn’t work as well.

The michael phelps caterpillar

Agreed, Garrett. How am I supposed to yell at children for not going fast enough while wearing a mask? Two weeks ago I made an athlete quit because I said he was too slow after missing an interval. Are we just going to forget about this staple of American swimming?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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