The Swedish Swimming Federation (Svensk Simidrott) has canceled the 2020 National Championships and Junior National Championship meet that was scheduled for November 11-16 in Helsingborg.
The move is the latest to impact sport in Europe as the continent, like much of the northern hemisphere, is seeing an increase in cases of the coronavirus.
“We have had a close dialogue with both (the Swedish Sports Confederation), the organizing club and the organizing city, but at present there is unfortunately no opportunity to carry out the competition,” federation manager Mikael Jansson said. “It is a challenging time for all of us and we need to be helped to persevere and persevere to reduce the spread of infection.
“I fully understand that it means disappointment for our athletes and associations when conditions change at short notice, and I really suffer with them, but this is unfortunately the reality we live in right now,”
Associations can apply for compensation from the Swedish Sports Confederation for the financial consequences of the decision.
Sweden, which was being watched globally for its early laissez-faire approach to coronavirus response, has seen a similar increase in coronavirus cases over the last few weeks as other European countries. The country reported 2,820 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, which is the highest the country has seen so far and is about a 75% increase over its previous peak in late June.
Sweden has seen an increase in new daily cases over the last week, though with just 21 deaths in that time period, it’s still well below the rates of death early in the pandemic.
If the meet had gone on, it would have been without many of its biggest stars. Sarah Sjostrom, Michelle Coleman, Louise Hansson, and Erik Persson are all participating in the 2020 ISL season in Budapest, leaving them sequestered in the ISL ‘bubble.’ Others, like Bjorn Seeliger (Cal), are in the United States training, where they’d be unlikely to return to Sweden given the risks of travel restrictions.
Sjostrom reacted to the news on Instagram.
The announcement to cancel on Thursday comes less than a week after the federation announced that the meet would be held without spectators.