The 2021 Pac-12 conference is planning to host their men’s and women’s swimming championships at the University of Houston in 2021. The original and regular host, the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington, has remained closed, as it has been since last March.
The diving championships will be held in Arizona.
Most of the conference’s home pools are outdoor facilities, and the conference in the last few years has shown a strong preference to host the meet indoors, because of the better control over weather.
Of course, the last time Houston hosted a Division I conference championship meet, even the indoor facility was impacted by what was happening outside – a nearby water main break dramatically impacted the 2020 WAC Championships and turned the meet into a timed finals event.
The University of Houston has a 50-meter pool with two bulkheads, able to split the facility into 3 courses. The facility has off-deck spectator capacity for 1,000 people.
Some of the final details, including exact dates and whether spectators are allowed, are still being ironed out, sources tell SwimSwam. The University of Houston has allowed limited spectators to attend home sporting events this season, though the Pac-12 expanded its ban on spectators at Pac-12 campus events beyond the original expiration of January 1.
That policy, though, has allowed student-athlete families to attend sporting events when in compliance with NCAA guidelines and local public health and campus authorities.
The current leading plan would have the men’s meet follow immediately after the women’s meet, rather than the traditional consecutive-weekends. That decision is expected to be shored up this week.
The Pac-12 previously was deep in talks to host the meet in San Antonio, but that wound up falling through late in the process.
The Houston area is currently in the midst of a spike of coronavirus cases, though there are some indications that some parts of the city have begun to turn the tide. Over the last week, Houston is averaging 56 new daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 population over the last week. While that’s mid-pack by Texas’ standards, it is well above the United States average of 44 cases/100,000 per day.
The 2020 Pac-12 Men’s Championships was among the last collegiate meets in the country to happen before national coronavirus quarantines began to set in. The Cal men, who are also the defending NCAA Champions, won the most recent title with 856 points – a whopping 278 points ahead of runners-up Arizona.
The women’s meet, a week earlier, was also won by the defending NCAA Champions, Stanford. The Cardinal women also won by a big margin, scoring 1,598 points – 373.5 points ahead of runners-up Cal.