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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Nswim
1 year ago

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.

Vic
Reply to  Nswim
1 year ago

Time to get creative guys, you can do it.

Swammer
1 year ago

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.

PKWater
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

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
Reply to  PKWater
1 year ago

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.

200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

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.

Eagleswim
Reply to  PKWater
1 year ago

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

Ghost
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

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.

Swammer
Reply to  Ghost
1 year ago

Ghost;

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
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

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

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Nobody likes the French

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Or the Dutch

Snarky
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

French kids smoke and drink like sailors.

anonymoose
Reply to  Snarky
1 year ago

that.. would be absolutely correct sadly

Laura
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

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(?)

NCSWIM
Reply to  Laura
1 year ago

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.

Admin
Reply to  NCSWIM
1 year ago

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
Reply to  NCSWIM
1 year ago

Which team are you oh so subtly throwing shade at?

Jerome
Reply to  NCSWIM
1 year ago

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 »

Gator
Reply to  Jerome
1 year ago

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

Amy
Reply to  NCSWIM
1 year ago

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

CarolM
Reply to  Amy
1 year ago

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

Afever
Reply to  NCSWIM
1 year ago

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

meeeee
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

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

Admin
Reply to  meeeee
1 year ago

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
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

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

Mustangswimdad
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

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

NoFlyKick
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

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

sydswims
Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

Agree

Climate change is real
1 year ago

Mass migration to the former Andrew family pool in Kansas?

DBSWIMS
Reply to  Climate change is real
1 year ago

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

Mark Nedza
Reply to  DBSWIMS
1 year ago

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
Reply to  Mark Nedza
1 year ago

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.

jvog88
Reply to  Regan stan
1 year ago

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..

Bevo
1 year ago

8 Lanes Long Course
16 Swimmers, 2 in each lane at opposite ends.
Coaches socially distanced to coach
20 Lanes Short Course
40 Swimmers, 2 in each lane at opposite ends
Coaches socially distanced to coach..
I’m just brainstorming, including shifts in the locker rooms…
I agree we can be safe and creative….

Itsyaboi
Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

This could work… if any pools were open. In Orange County we’re basically banned from doing anything outside of necessities, almost lockdown. I guess all we can do now is take this as an opportunity to become land mammals. All I can say is I’m gonna have very toned legs and abs of steel after this is over lol

Gator
Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

Almost perfect. My only add is deck changing only- lock the locker rooms and shower at home or outdoors

T Hill
Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

don’t use the locker, touch or handle handles, etc. Go home to shower off. bottom line few facilities open for use. Time to share educational topics and personal dry land time.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  T Hill
1 year ago

Exactly. Biggest help is if national teamers and coaches would share training strategies sans water to the rest of the swimming community. Tom Shields posted an IG ab routine and a really mature message to athletes the other day.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

Sounds like a great idea. That way, we can quarantine them to the pool when one of them or a contact tests positive (are they going to be quarantined outside of the pool?) and they can get in all the swimming they want. We’re outpacing Italy’s COVID-19 positive rate at this point. smh

Virtus
Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

I’m doing something similar rn and mentioned it and was burned on a stake…

VA Steve
Reply to  Bevo
1 year ago

This is actually how we were practicing the past week. They shut it down completely thought.

Frustrated
1 year ago

and USA swimming still does nothing…no support to clubs, minimal communication, nothing

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Frustrated
1 year ago

I’m sure USA Swimming is just flourishing in this robust economy.

Coach
Reply to  Frustrated
1 year ago

You need to contact the USA Swimming Board, and we need our voices heard.

Ken K
Reply to  Frustrated
1 year ago

If the economy continues the way it is, there might not be a USA Swimming. Think about that for a moment.

phelps swims 200 breast rio
1 year ago

I don’t think the Olympics are going to take place this year.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  phelps swims 200 breast rio
1 year ago

It certainly wouldn’t be a true Olympics, even if it did occur, because of the enormous disparities in how hard countries and athletes were impacted. Would be the biggest asterisk to a gold medal of all time.

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

GDR enters the chat

200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 year ago

Soviet Union and USA are on standby.

Snarky
Reply to  phelps swims 200 breast rio
1 year ago

If the US said we aren’t coming the IOC would postpone. It will take one or two bigger countries or the US (aka NBC $1 billion to cover American athletes and Pay advertisers) said postpone it WILL happen.

Amy
Reply to  phelps swims 200 breast rio
1 year ago

Wrong. Watch, read, or otherwise take in some world news. Asian countries are already returning to normalcy. Factories re-opening, stores, etc. This will pass here and it will be game-on for the Olympics by Mid-May.

phelps swims 200 breast rio
Reply to  Amy
1 year ago

Thank you, Amy. I really hope you are right.

Snarky
Reply to  phelps swims 200 breast rio
1 year ago

I hope Amy is right but the simple math says otherwise.

Samesame
Reply to  Snarky
1 year ago

The Asian countries mostly coped well because they admitted there was a problem early and brought in strict conditions early

James
Reply to  Samesame
1 year ago

False. COVID-19 is called such because it was found in 2019. Did any of you hear about it in 2019? Nope. Asian countries knew about it and tried to cover it up for a LONG time. Hit me up in June and tel me I’m wrong… if am.

Samesame
Reply to  James
1 year ago

Was referring to Singapore and Hong Kong

Corn Pop
Reply to  Samesame
1 year ago

For other reasons HK was alread y in 50% lockdown .

NoFlyKick
Reply to  James
1 year ago

Um, actually they were only dismissive/secretive for less than 2 months. Patient “0” was likely in Wuhan late November or early December. It took a few weeks for anyone to realize something serious was going on. By Jan 23 the entire country was in full blown lockdown. In contrast, here in the US it has been obvious since that date to anyone with a reasonable science education that this was coming and was very very serious, but we *still* have not taken the draconian measures that are currently the only known way to get ahead of this thing. Our response has been much more irresponsible. And yes, I did hear about this in 2019. For those following the news, there… Read more »

James
Reply to  NoFlyKick
1 year ago

@anony No, it started in November 2019.

anonymoose
Reply to  James
1 year ago

didnt it start on f-ing 31st december 2019? lmao

James
Reply to  Snarky
1 year ago

I’d love to see this simple math you refer to.

John
1 year ago

My daughter swim team is still open. I wish police can come to shut them down too. They are selfish and don’t care others to get covid 19. All they care is just money, not swimmers

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  John
1 year ago

John – Perhaps “selfish” is not the best label. Shortsighted, ignorant and lacking in civil sensitivity might do it. Rest assured while we do live in a free society, public health does trump libertarian ideals. As a libertarian to the core, I agree with your concerns but not your assumptions.

gator
Reply to  John
1 year ago

John, how is that worse than going to the grocery store or drive through fast food restaurant?

Swimming is not essential to life
Reply to  gator
1 year ago

Buying food is essential. Swimming is not essential to survival. This situation is disappointing for athletes but it needs to be kept in check. Look at what is going on in the world. I think a few weeks out of the water isn’t going to kill anybody.

Jerome

Buying food is essential. And if you are a swim coach you have to work to buy food.

Doconc
Reply to  gator
1 year ago

You need food. Don’t need to swim. Pretty simple

Gator
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

Most times I’ve been food shopping in America, almost everyone I see there definitely does not need food. Could benefit from less food.

Groceries
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

Yeah and the less you swim the less food you need.

RUN-DMC
Reply to  Doconc
1 year ago

If life is just about buying food then count me out.
We should not judge people for wanting to continue their lives as much as they possibly can.
Everyone needs a real purpose and meaning in life.

Mike
Reply to  John
1 year ago

This Is all evolving quickly. A week ago I thought with 15-20 person per practice,6-8 lanes, outdoors in a chlorinated pool we would probably be one the few things that was allowed to continue. Controlled environment, kids get to stay active etc. That seemed perfectly reasonable. Well a week later everything is different. I don’t think it is fair or productive to ostracize others as their reality evolves.

Stay safe and patient. We will get through this eventually.

M d e
Reply to  John
1 year ago

The club I am at is at a point where an extended period with no operations will financially cripple us.

We still made the decision to close down, but myself and other coaches are getting prepared to start looking for work elsewhere.

This is a club that has tripled in members in the last 12 months since I started there and has done quite well financially over that period as well.

I understand as a parent why you want it shut down. But you also need to understand that there is other things that should be considered also. I was advocating a shut down for the time being, but it certainly wasn’t an easy decision or one I took lightly.

PsychoDad
Reply to  John
1 year ago

One of our kids’ club shut down and the other one is still doing practices, but we are not attending. I will continue to pay monthly fees to support them for as many months as they let me or until kids can go back to practice. Maybe you can do that, John?

Corn Pop
Reply to  PsychoDad
1 year ago

I pay a 2 year olds swim fees of $80 per month for his weekly lesson . I’ve paid till the end of May & won’t be going nor ask for a refund . This is my way to support swimming & my family’s health..

I myself changed my swim habits last year in the face of severe flu warnings . E.g. less pool time, resceduling fluid intake so no bathroom breaks ,no change roomvisits , prioritising lung capacity e.g. 1500s lc breathing 5 strokes. I still came down with pneumonia & am sure I got rib stress fractures coughing . I can easily see others with lesser functioning lungs needing ventilators with covid 19 acquired pneumonia. I saw… Read more »

Jerome
Reply to  John
1 year ago

John,

Maybe they care about their coaching staff and the fact that they won’t be able to put food on the table if they can’t work and have no club to return to if it folds due to people over-reacting.

Irish Ringer
1 year ago

Time to get ready for 2024, 2020 is in rear view mirror.

Ghost
Reply to  Irish Ringer
1 year ago

Or 2021

RUN-DMC
Reply to  Irish Ringer
1 year ago

If there is an Olympics in Paris 2024 it will be a shell compared to what it is today.
People will still be too afraid to travel or congregate.

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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