Shouts From The Stands: Leveling the Playing Field

by SwimSwam 5

March 31st, 2020 Coronavirus, Lifestyle, Opinion

SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please send [email protected]

This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Chris Dahowski, the head coach of Paseo Aquatics.

Have you ever felt like you wanted a restart? Have you ever known that you could have done better if you just would have tried to be more consistent in your training? Have you ever let yourself down because of poor sleep or nutrition? This is present in pro, semi-pro and amateur athletes on every level in every sport.

COVID-19 has hit a massive reset button. So, what exactly does this mean? Opportunity.

Big opportunity. I guarantee you right now there are many athletes that are aware of this. They are doing everything on their own to make certain when the day comes to get back to the grind of specific sport centric training, they are prepared. They are increasing their sleep, they are perfecting their nutrition, they are working on their flexibility, they are adding some strength and building the disciplines of a champion into their toolbox.

Right now the playing field is level. Isn’t that enough information to drive every athlete to be better?  Take advantage of this time. The athletes that were going to make the 2020 Olympics will not be the same ones making the 2021 Olympics. Athletes that were mending injury now have a better opportunity; athletes that are ageing, have lessened opportunity. What is certain is someone will sneak in and someone will miss out, and sports announcers will use this as a topic during the Games of 2021.

This worldwide pandemic will likely release one nation at a time; even one state or county at a time. The USA is on the tail end of this. So athletes around the globe will be starting before the USA. You can be sure that these international athletes will be jumping back into their sports with a fury to be a champion. While in the USA we may be waiting a bit longer or the Olympic hopefuls will travel with their coaches chasing water internationally where bans have been lifted.

When the USA is granted a release from this pandemic, our nation’s backbone of athletes will be coming back strong — however, on a level playing field. While not all swimmers are vying for a spot on the Olympic team or hoping to get an OT cut, most are aiming to improve their value to colleges and positioning at Junior National, Future Nationals, Sectionals, Junior Olympics, CIF States and high school leagues.

To our backbone of age group swimmers, listen very clearly. The playing field will be level for you too! Now is your chance to train harder then you have ever trained before! Dedicate yourself to the behaviors of a champion who understands in times of adversity, winners are born.

Don’t miss your opportunity.


Chris Dahowski is an ASCA Level 4 swim coach and the head coach of Paseo Aquatics in Santa Clarita, California.

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I think the playing field is much less level than before the coronavirus pandemic.

that guy

Id say the playing field is not level. There are teams still swimming everyday and have access to pools while some are stuck at home and the only water they touch is in the shower. some have home gyms and some only have a 25 pound bag of rice to work with. Not exactly level in my opinion.


Just out of curiosity, what teams are still training?

That guy

I believe a few pro groups are in and Ive heard clubs in Atlanta are doing doubles still and some teams in the mid west


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