The University of North Carolina will be sending a reduced roster of 14 athletes to this week’s ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, which begins on Wednesday in Greensboro. According to UNC head coach Mark Gangloff, the decision is on the advice of the team’s physician and the Orange County Health Department as a result of “COVID-related issues” within the team.
— Carolina Swimming & Diving (@uncswimdive) February 16, 2021
The full message from Gangloff states the following:
“The North Carolina women’s swimming and diving team will be represented by a small roster at this week’s ACC Championships. In compliance with Orange County Covid protocols and procedures, many of our student-athletes are unable to compete this week. While difficult, I commend our student-athletes, coaches, support staff, administrators, and health professionals for putting the health and well-being of our student-athletes and our community first. I share disappointment with our student-athletes that trained hard this season and who were ready to compete”
While we don’t yet know exactly who will be sitting out ACCs, we know that UNC will be sending 14 athletes to the meet compared to the 21-athlete maximum (up to 18 swimmers, divers count as one athlete).
Last year, the University of North Carolina women came in 4th place at ACCs, scoring 839 points.
UNC’s lowest 8 scoring athletes at 2020 ACCs scored a total of 25 points at the meet. This means the minimum projection from a shrunken roster is about 25 points, though we don’t know who the missing athletes are yet.
This news from the University of North Carolina follows a release from the ACC earlier this month regarding their increased protocols for the meet. They announced that they will not allow spectators at their men’s and women’s swimming championships, they will spread teams’ seating areas throughout the 2,500 person grandstand, and athletes will only be allowed on the pool deck for training, warming up, cooling down, or racing. Further, the ACC announced that lanes will be limited to 4 swimmers at a time and that they would be testing swimmers at the championships over the course of the meet.
Among those contributing to UNC’s 4th-place finish last year were 2020 NCAA qualifiers Bryanna Cameron, Emma Cole, Grace Countie, Caroline Hauder, Lillian Higgs, Sophie Linder, Brooke Perrotta, and Elizabeth VanNote. With NCAAs having been canceled last year amid the outbreak of COVID-19, Cole, Countie, Higgs, Linder, and VanNote are all back this year for UNC. Should they be among those who will be competing at the meet, they will be among those within striking distance of repeating as NCAA-invitees.
According to the Orange County, North Carolina COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently 7,438 active cases of the virus with 249 coming from the past 7 days. Meanwhile, Guilford County where ACC host Greensboro, North Carolina is located is currently reporting 4,398 active cases.