Courtesy of SwimTopia, a SwimSwam partner. Please check with your local health department when making plans to swim safely.
We’re all glad that 2020 is in the rearview mirror. When the pandemic landed on our doorstep right as summer swim teams and leagues around the country were gearing up for the season last year, many teams found themselves in the unfortunate position of having to cancel their summer swim seasons. As we move into 2021, summer teams and leagues are coming out of hibernation and starting to think about what the summer might look like this year.
Luckily, this year, we’ve all had more experience, we have time to plan, and Covid vaccinations are rolling out. That’s three big pluses we didn’t have last year! While there is still a strong likelihood that our days of social distancing and wearing masks will not quite be over by the time summer swim season begins, at SwimTopia, we’re optimistic that with proper precautions and modifications, summer swimming can still occur this year.
Drawing on our experiences with leagues who held modified seasons last year, and lessons learned from year-round teams who are currently conducting practices and meets, we’ve compiled some resources to help with planning the season for summer swim teams and leagues.
See the following resources to help you plan a fun and successful summer swim season:
- Webinar Recording: Covid Planning Roundtable for Leagues
- Checklists for Covid Planning
- Virtual Meets
- USA Swimming Resources
Webinar Recording: Covid Planning Roundtable for Leagues
We recently hosted a roundtable webinar with some SwimTopia leagues to share ideas and best practices about holding a Covid-safe season. The conversation was led by Tracy Nelson, SwimTopia’s Director of Customer Success, who is also an assistant coach for a year-round team and a co-head coach for a summer team in Austin, TX. Joining the conversation was Elli Overton, SwimTopia’s Director of Sales and Marketing, 3-time Olympian, and former summer team head coach; along with Joel Shinofield, the Managing Director of Sport Development at USA Swimming.
The discussion was very informative and offered tips about safe ways to conduct practices and meets. We heard great input from Joel at USA Swimming about how year-round teams have been handling safety protocols for their teams. USA Swimming has been monitoring Covid incidents with its teams, and through their studies, they’re finding that there are very few secondary outbreaks because teams are following strict safety protocols.
We also talked about the many decisions to be made along the way, and the importance of appointing a Covid subcommittee who can begin making those plans now.
We invite you to watch the video of our webinar, to help jumpstart your planning for 2021:
In the webinar, we referred to a series of checklists that will help your team make plans for a safe return to swimming:
Checklists for Covid Planning
We’ve put together some lists of things to consider for a modified season in the Community section of our Help Center. While our lists are quite comprehensive, these lists can be a good launching pad for other considerations specific to your team or league.
- Pre-Season Planning and Actions, including:
- Set up a Covid Planning subcommittee
- Create Covid illness policies
- Communicate with families
- Planning for Practices, including:
- Number of swimmers per lane
- Changes to practice hours/times to accommodate fewer swimmers at each practice
- How to get swimmers safely in and out of the pool area
- Planning for Meets, including:
- Virtual meets
- Multiple shorter meet sessions, divided by age range
- More spacing in the meet layout
- Keeping parents and spectators out of the pool area, but informed about the meet progress
Feel free to add comments or questions to each topic in our Community. If you “Follow” the topic, you’ll be notified when others add comments as well.
With our meet management system, Meet Maestro, you can conduct virtual meets where each team competes from the safety of their own home pool. Meet Maestro is the only meet management software that allows simultaneous virtual competitions with live scoring as soon as each swim event is completed.
Parents can keep up with meet day excitement when the SwimTopia mobile app is combined with Meet Maestro, including great features such as swimmer history, heat sheets, and team scores. And SwimTopia Mobile is helpful to keep parents updated about the progress of the meet, featuring a live event/heat bar, estimated start times (updated in real time), upcoming swim reminders, and live results notifications. The app is great for keeping parents in the loop, especially if you’re asking them to remain away from the deck except when their child is swimming. (Some features require a Pro upgrade)
Meet Maestro comes free with all SwimTopia accounts, so teams who are using SwimTopia for team management will receive Meet Maestro at no extra charge.
For teams who haven’t yet switched to SwimTopia and who wish to continue using their own team management system but try Meet Maestro for meet management, we’re offering a Covid special to help teams get back to meets again as easily as possible: Meet Maestro accounts are FREE to swim teams through July 31, 2021.
USA Swimming Resources
USA Swimming has posted a very helpful Coronavirus Resource Guide for its club teams, and the following items may be of particular assistance to summer swim teams:
- Facility Reopening Plan Guidelines (see social distancing practice layout slides at the end)
- Template Waivers
- Pool Diagram Blanks
- CDC Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19
As you can see, there is a lot to think about, and fortunately we have time to plan. Even if the season won’t look the same as usual, any sort of modified (and safe) swim season is better than no season. The goal is to get our swimmers back in the water and bring our families back to their beloved swim community.
Join SwimTopia’s Community to get the discussion started, get your Covid subcommittee rolling, and dive in for a safe and fun 2021 swim season!
Courtesy of SwimTopia, a SwimSwam partner
About SwimTopia & Meet Maestro: Launched in 2011 with a focus on ease-of-use and exceptional support, SwimTopia helps summer and high school swim teams save time and increase fundraising with an intuitive, cloud-based software platform providing web content management, electronic commerce, online registration, volunteer coordination, team communications, online swim meet entries, and more. Meet Maestro is SwimTopia’s online meet management platform that runs on any computer. Meet Maestro’s modern interface is intuitive and easy to learn, offering you the flexibility to run your meets how you want to. Meet Maestro is included with every SwimTopia account, or can be used separately. SwimTopia is the flagship product of Austin-based Team Topia Inc.