Swimmers Sent Home as US Olympic Training Center Shut Down by State Order

A group of United States-based National Team and Junior National Team swimmers who were training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs are heading home after the state ordered the facility to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a source told SwimSwam.

Many of the athletes had planned their trip to the OTC before the outbreak ramped up in the U.S.

The list of athletes who have been at the OTC include Arik Katz, Michael Brinegar, Haley Anderson, Ashley Twichell, Ally McHugh, Gunnar Bentz, Kevin Cordes, Leah Smith, Bethany Gallat, Brandon Fischer, Chase Kalisz, Kaersten Meitz, Matt Grevers, Jonathan Tybur, Nic Fink, Emily Escobedo, Lillie Nordmann, Carson Foster, Lisa Bratton, Zane Grothe, Devon Nowicki and a group of Cal men’s team swimmers training separately under Dave Durden.

That group includes athletes who train out of a number of bases in Arizona, California, Indiana, Georgia, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin.

Professional and amateur swimmers around the country are scrambling to find places to work out in the wake of universities around the country suspending all athletics-related activity for the year, and the White House’s recommendation to limit all gathering to 10 people or fewer.

Olympian Lilly King, for example, told USA Today that she and fellow Indiana University swimmers are struggling to find a pool as both the university and local YMCAs have shuttered. Stanford-based swimmers have also had to leave campus.

Club teams – especially those that practice at publicly-owned facilities – are canceling practice en masse. One remaining option for displaced swimmers (for now) includes privately-owned pools, but even those are starting to close.

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I didn’t realize how many swimmers were actually there. I’ve seen a lot of instagram stories around the OTC but i never looked at exactly how many. Wow. That absolutely stinks, given how clean and how high security is at the OTC it seems surprising they would shut it down.


Time to get creative guys, you can do it.


USAS needs to do something for their athletes. Athletes are putting their health and the health of others at significant risk trying to find pools and continue to train. Shut them all down.


Their lives are tied in with being swimmers. Their mental health is v important at this point. They need to be taken care of financially and have resources available during this time so they can stay mentally healthy. Hopefully their grants stay in tact throughout this year even if some of them can’t train and lose out on national team spots to those who have the ability to train.

Ol' Longhorn

Getting really tired of this swimmer’s life/dreams/whatever take. For all we talk about self-sacrifice, teamwork, delayed gratification in the sport, how bout taking one for the larger team — humanity. Their individual mental health does not trump public health.


Agree. There are certain groups of individuals in the USA right now that are gearing up for a far worse course in the months ahead, and it’s going to get a lot uglier before it improves. My sympathy is starting to wane.


im assuming you hold this opinion for every other person in the country whose employment will be affected by this, correct?


I think it would help if IOC delayed the Games now so the National teamers aren’t so stressed out! Or let them train at a common site that is completely safe.



Yes – to part 1 of your comment. Up vote.

NO!!!!! – to part 2. There is virtually no way to have a 100% safe place to train. One illness and they would just pass it to all of them. Healthy and young, yes they are. Super(wo)man they are not.

Ol' Longhorn

Exactly right. And now reports from France that younger people might have more serious illness than previously thought.


Nobody likes the French


Or the Dutch


French kids smoke and drink like sailors.


that.. would be absolutely correct sadly


USA swimming did send an email to members yesterday saying team training and practices should be stopped. I know that still leaves a loophole for training individually, and personally I’m surprised they haven’t followed USA volleyball’s example where I understand all training has been halted as they have stopped allowing anything covered by their insurance(?)


If the OTC thinks it’s not safe for these elite athletes, FOR THE LIFE OF ME I don’t understand why the one team in Raleigh that feels they are superior to all the others in the area won’t shut down. CLOSE DOWN ALL THE POOLS. Let’s defeat this virus, then everyone get back to serious training. Good lord.

The OTC didn’t necessarily decide it wasn’t safe, the governor of Colorado did.

Resident athletes (including para-swimmers) are allowed to stay and use the dining and medical facilities, but all athletic operations are shut down.

Silent Observer

Which team are you oh so subtly throwing shade at?


The OTC did not decide itself to be unsafe, the OTC did not not voluntarily shut down, the pools in Colorado, or anywhere for that matter, were not deemed unsafe. Educate yourself prior to posting. Colorado mandated that all “public spaces” with a few exceptions shut down. It was determined that in regards to non-resident athletes the OTC is a public space. The OTC is still operational and taking care of it’s residents – some of whom have no place to go or are not in a position to easily relocate. Further, USA swimming’s memorandum did not state that team training and practices should be stopped. Again, educate yourself before posting. The memorandum stated that USA swimming believes that the… Read more »


Well said Jerome- addressing this new reality calmly and thoughtfully is the right way to go.


LOL if you had your own pool you’d be training too.


Not true. YMCA teams do have their own pools, and they were the first to shut down.


Yeah, it was the state of Colorado. The OTC was not consulted.


Couple thoughts. Michael Andrew has a pool in his parents backyard. Lakeside trains in a modified quarry in the summer.

The Andrew family moved out of Kansas, where they had a pool at home, about 2 years ago. They now live in San Diego.

Ol' Longhorn

Ocean. Tough to do USRPT, but at least it’s water.


Doesn’t Michael Phelps’ house have a pool? Maybe some National Teamers can crash his pad 😉


I’m guessing that are wishing they still had access to that pool. I wonder if they sold the place.



Climate change is real

Mass migration to the former Andrew family pool in Kansas?


With only 2 lanes, this is about to be the worst meet warm up ever

Mark Nedza

You must not have been at Masters Nationals last year. I honestly had more room to warm up in my stand up shower and I didn’t have to risk injury! Love the joke though.

Regan stan

Are masters nationals really that bad?

-An optimist who had his last meet of the sc season canceled and was looking at masters nationals as a potential end of season lc meet.


Not too crowded when they are held in a proper facility like Indy or San Antonio (RIP this year’s Nats), but yes, Arizona last year was crazy crowded for space and not a great quality pool. I can’t speak for the Richmond pool this summer..

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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