The University of Michigan has paused voluntary summer workouts in field hockey, volleyball, swimming & diving, and ice hockey as a result of “COVID-19 test results and contact tracing protocols.”
Voluntary summer workouts for the field hockey, volleyball, and swimming & diving programs will resume on Monday, August 3, while ice hockey will resume this week.
There continues to be a shroud of mystery around the voluntary summer workouts for the Michigan swimming program. A few weeks ago, posts on the team’s official social media accounts showed that student-athletes had returned to training at the indoor Canham Natatorium on campus. That is in spite of the fact that the state of Michigan’s reopening plan does not yet allow for pools to reopen.
After public pushback, those social media posts were removed, and the school has steadfastly declined to address them. When asked this week if the August 3rd return to voluntary workouts for the swimming & diving program would include indoor training at the Canham Natatorium, a spokesperson for the athletics department said that “I have no information on specific facilities or future workout plans. I can say with certainty that we are in constant communication with local and state officials to ensure compliance in all areas.”
The NCAA allowed all Division I sports to resume voluntary physical activity on June 1. These workouts are supposed to be of a conditioning nature with no on-field skill instruction. There is a loophole allowing strength staff members and swim coaches to passively supervise their teams for safety purposes.
In swimming, the line between “conditioning workouts” and “skills training” is a blurred one, meaning that those programs that have returned to campus are generally just having normal workouts with no coach instruction. Other programs have swimmers training at off-campus sites under the umbrella of a USA Swimming club team, where they are allowed to receive direct coaching.
Michigan is one of a handful of schools that have had to pause their swimming & diving workouts because of positive tests for the novel coronavirus. Texas A&M and Louisville have also suspended training at times this summer as part of their safety protocols.