The Sandpipers of Nevada have halted all practices as of March 15th, joining a growing list of large club swim teams having to halt operations around the country due to COVID-19 concerns. In a letter sent out to team families on the 15th, head coach Ron Aitken says the the Sandpiper staff met and decided the safest option was to halt all operations. The letter also states that the staff will be reviewing the situation on a weekly basis to determine when it’s safe to resume practice.
The Sandpipers have approximately 400 swimmers on their roster. They have a large group of swimmers already qualified for the Olympic Trials in June. Erica Sullivan is one of Sandpipers’ Trials qualifiers. Sullivan is one of the rising stars in U.S. women’s distance, currently ranked 5th all-time in the U.S. women’s 1500, 15th in the 400 free, and 19th in the 800 free.
Here are the rest of Sandpipers’ Trials qualifiers:
- Sawyer Grimes: 400 free, 800 free, 1500 free
- *Brennan Gravley: 800 free, 1500 free
- Dylan Becker: 800 free, 1500 free
- Joseph Gutierrez: 1500 free
- Tyler Edlefsen: 200 IM, 400 IM
- Katie Grimes: 400 free, 800 free, 1500 free, 400 IM
- Bella Sims: 400 free, 800 free, 1500 free, 200 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM
- Chloe Freeman: 400 free
- Paige Kuwata: 1500 free, 200 fly
- Reese Hazan: 400 IM
*Brennan Gravley is currenty a swimmer for the University of Florida. He’s included on the list because qualified for Trials when he was a member of the Sandpipers. Many college students, inlcuding athletes, have been sent home, so Gravley may be back in Nevada.
The Sandpipers are a USA Swimming Club Excellence Gold Medal team, marking them as one of the top 20 teams in the country for last season. As we’ve seen over the past week, the largest teams in the country are being hit the hardest by this pandemic. The current recommendation is for groups to be no larger than 10 people, which isn’t feasible for clubs with hundreds of swimmers. The Sandpipers are, however, currently looking for pool space so their top group can practice in some capacity. As the situation has developed over the past week, more pools have begun to close for the time being.