Update 2: the meet has been delayed until 6:30 Eastern to give teams some extra time to prepare. A tornado watch, which is a lower level of alert than a tornado warning, is in effect until 9:00 Eastern.
Update: the meet has been delayed until 6:20 Eastern
Adding more challenges on to an already challenging meet, and season, a tornado warning issued for Greensboro, North Carolina will delay the start of Thursday night’s finals session at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. The session will now start at 6:20 Eastern instead of 6:00 Eastern.
Reports from the facility are that coaches and athletes have been sent to bathroom and locker room facilities to take cover during the warning.
The National Wather Service issued a tornado warning after the conculsion of consolation diving. It’s set to expire at 6:00 Eastern Time, the same as the start time for the meet, meaning nobody will be able to get on deck until then.
The National Weather Service bulletin says that “at 454 PM EDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over High Point, moving northeast at 40mph.”
The alert also says that “Radar indicated rotation” and hail greater than .75 inches in diameter.
The storm was expected to approach Greensboro around 5:25 Eastern Time, though one coach who is not at the facility says that rain has already stopped at his team hotel, so the storm appears to be passing quickly.
This storm is part of the same system that impacted the Division II Championships in Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday.
For the male coaches, which make up the majority of the coaching staffs even at the women’s meet, that means hunkering in one bathroom that has been dedicated for men at the meet. A high degree of testing for COVID-19 at the championships helps reduce concerns about spreading within close quarters, but doesn’t fully eliminate that concern.
SwimSwam has reached out to the NCAA to ask about specifically how long the meet will be delayed, but has not received a response as of posting.