The Swedish Swimming Federation, which has been on the leading edge of hosting virtual swimming competitions during the coronavirus pandemic, has announced that it will host a virtual national swimming championship this summer to replace the scheduled Swedish National and Junior National championships. The events will be held from June 25-28, 2020, with local associations being allowed to decide which of those days they want to compete. Results from smaller meets hosted by local associations will be compiled into a national championship result.
The national federation is recommending, officially, that swimming be done in long course meters, though they do plan to keep a separate short course meters ranking for teams without access to long course pools. The federation will also hold national championships for para-swimmers.
Athletes must be at least 13-years old to participate and there will be no qualifying times. A full results page for the meet will be published, and medals will be awarded by age groups and in all events.
To participate, each local organizer will have to apply for a sanction no later than June 11. Unlike other virtual competitions being held in Sweden, these meets must have officials, and results will be validated as official swims.
In para-swimming, where events have at least 5 competitors, awards will also be given based on World Para-Swimming points (multi-class competition). Those points are determined by an athlete’s proximity to the World Record in their classification in a certain event.
Events will have to abide by government rules regarding public gatherings, which includes a limitation on public events for more than 50 people. This means that meet hosts will likely have to segment their events, and minimize spectators, to remain aligned with those guidelines.
The Swedish Championships were originally scheduled for June 26-30 in Halmstad.
The Swedish national federation has also launched a big ongoing national competition that compiles results from different competitions every 2 weeks. That event is less formal, organized more ‘for fun,’ and only a few top-level swimmers are participating.
Part of Sweden’s ability to organize these virtual competitions is that more lenient restrictions related to stopping the spread of the coronavirus has allowed more athletes to stay in the water and allows for more flexibility in organizing events. So far, Sweden has confirmed 30,143 cases of coronavirus infection and 3,679 deaths from COVID-19. Sweden has about twice the population as their closest neighbors in Norway, but almost 4-times as many infections and almost 16x as many deaths.