While some swimming competitions have started to run in various parts of the world, the first announced meet in the U.S. appears to be taking place at the beginning of July in Wisconsin.
The Schroeder YMCA Swim/Dive Team, located in Brown Deer, has three tentative meets scheduled to run, with the first on Friday, July 3.
The meet will be an intrasquad affair, featuring the club’s 11-14 year-olds with state cuts, their senior athletes and their college athletes. The meet will be short course yards, with athletes wearing race suits.
“It will be a fun way to get back to racing and test out our new procedures for racing,” age group coach Caleb Hernday told SwimSwam.
The following weekend, Schroeder will host a dual meet with nearby club Oshkosh YMCA on July 11. This meet will be long course. These first two meets will not be sanctioned.
Using what they learned from the first two meets, Schroeder then hopes to host a larger meet in late July or early August in place of its annual Sprint/Distance meet that usually runs in May.
“We will take all that we learned from both our intra-squad and dual meet to make it a safe and fun experience,” said Hernday. “It will be long course as well.”
As you would expect, there are several new restrictions put in place for the meets due to COVID-19. Check out some of the key points below:
- No warm up or warm down in the competition pool — at least two lanes available in small pool throughout the meet.
- Athletes and families remain outside the pool at all times when not competing, adhering to social distancing guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in removal from the meet.
- Masks worn at all times (outside of vehicles) until the referee signals your race is ready to start.
- Athletes can watch the meet via YouTube live to follow the action and know when to get ready.
- No timers used — only touchpads (if there is a soft touch, athlete receives NT).
- No locker room or shower use, restrooms may be used one at a time per gender.
The state rules in Wisconsin amid the pandemic have varied by county, and Schroeder, located in Milwaukee county, also has a range of regulations in different suburbs.
Schroeder managed to run a trial practice on May 16 while working with the North Shore Health Department (NSHD), and got the go-ahead to resume training at one per-lane on May 22.
“We took eight athletes and tested our new system for running safe practices,” said Hernday. “We recorded the new system and showed it to all of our families. Each lead coach met with their respective groups (both athletes and parents) and broke down the new guidelines.”
As the NSHD moved into Phase 2, the club transitioned to a two-per-lane system on June 1.
“We began our most novice level swimmers this week after about 4ish weeks of practicing our new guidelines,” he said. “So far it’s worked out great! The families are all very appreciative of our guidelines and the athletes have been amazing in following them. Every once in a while we have to correct them, but it’s more a mental lapse than a disregard for the rules.
“We are excited to try and find ways to run competitions!”