UPDATE: Southern California Finds New Home for Junior Olympics

Update on 3/12, 8:30 AM Eastern Time:

Late on Thursday night, California governor Gavin Newsom announced that all large gatherings should be cancelled. The standard set follows in the footsteps of fellow west coast state Washington, with more than 250 people being considered “large.” While we don’t know how many athletes will continue plans to participate in this meet and how many will request a refund, it’s likely that the event will have more than 250 people in attendance.

As of now, Newsom’s statements seem to be only recommendations and not mandatory.

Update on 3/11:

After a day of decimation of American age group swim meets, there has been a break in the clouds. The Southern California Swimming Junior Olympic Championships (JOs) have found a new home.

Southern California Swimming says that it was the meet’s original host facility, the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, that shut them out from the meet. After learning of the closure on Monday evening, other teams within the local swimming committee (LSC) stepped in by offering to host the event this weekend.

SCS has accepted the offer of the Mission Viejo Nadadores and the Marguerite Recreation Center, and the meet will be held there from March 12th-15th. The Marguerite Aquatic Center reopened in 2018 after an $11 million renovation and this year for the first time will also host a stop of the USA Swimming Pro Swim Series.

The closure of Rose Bowl was made after the city of Pasadena declared a state of emergency, in spite the city not having any confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus yet. Mission Viejo, which is located about 60 miles by car south, has not declared a state of emergency yet or put in place any restrictions yet in spite of Orange County having 5 confirmed cases.

Original Report

While the spread of the novel coronavirus hasn’t been as drastic, yet, as in countries like China or Italy, the virus has already begun to impact many large-scale gatherings, with the cancellation of a number of conferences and conventions across the country.

On the west coast of the United States, which has seen the highest concentration of COVID-19 cases so far, this has also begun to impact sporting events. While there has been no widespread cancellation of professional events or closure to spectators as has been seen in Europe and Asia, some youth events are being cancelled out of caution.

That includes the announcement on Monday of the cancellation of the Southern California Swimming Junior Olympics that were set to be hosted at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. The meet was scheduled for March 12th-15th.

The move follows a state of emergency declaration by the City of Pasadena on March 4th, which was made even though the city had no known cases of COVID-19.

Southern California Swimming has also cancelled their Board of Directors meeting scheduled for March 18th.

The Junior Olympics are a championship-style age group meet, for swimmers aged 14 and under, held twice annually: once in short course and once in long course. The meet holds races for 3 age groups: 7-10, 11-12, and 13-14. The meet is not affiliated with the Olympic Games, but has been allowed the right to continue using the name because it was first used prior to September 21, 1950, under a grandfather clause.

This weekend will also have Sectional championship meets at 3 sites around the U.S.: Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin; Columbia, Missouri; and Federal Way, Washington. So far, there has been no alterations to those schedules. Pacific Northwest Swimming, which will host the Washington sectional, has put out a statement on the topic that includes the following statement

  1. The Reality: While the King County Aquatic Center remains open and there are no required event cancelations, the reality is that it could happen at any time between now and the end of the event.   There will be no refunds for travel or meet related expenses. The situation is very fluid, and it could change instantly.   We want you to be aware that this is a possibility.

That Sectional meet is of particular note because King County has confirmed 116 cases of novel coronavirus. King County also has 20 deaths, though 19 of those are associated with a care center for elderly or sick individuals that has been the center of the outbreak so far in the United States. There are 162 confirmed cases statewide in Washington with 22 deaths.

According to coronatracker.com, the U.S. has 755 confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus so far, with 27 deaths caused by COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases is expected to rise in coming weeks as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) distributes more tests nationwide.

There are over 116,000 confirmed infections globally, with at least 4,090 deaths so far.

The full announcement that was sent to teams is below:

It is with tremendous disappointment and out of concern for everyone involved in this weekend’s upcoming meet, that the decision has been made to indefinitely postpone the short course JO’s scheduled for March 12-15 at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.

While there isn’t evidence that swimmers, coaches, officials, spectators or Center staff are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 by attending this event, the overwhelming concern of public safety and well-being, along with a perceived increase of risk of transmission and public perception have led us to this conclusion.

We know that there are many of you who will be exceedingly frustrated by this news, and we share your great disappointment. Rose Bowl Aquatics boosters have contributed countless hours in preparation of this event, planning committees have been assessing contingency plans and a significant level of expense has already been incurred and may or may not be recoverable. The reality is that none of that is more important than the safety and well-being of all those who were planning on being at the Center over the weekend. We are hopeful that we all can agree that the public interest outweighs any individual interests or views.

Please know that we will continue to stay in contact with SCS, as well as local, county, state and national public health officials in order to determine when it is safe to host this event. SCS will make the decision as to when and if this meet will be held in the future. Plenty of notice will be given to all teams.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Collectively, we have been working to determine the most safe, wise and fair way forward. Unfortunately, the ever-changing nature of this virus, and our collective reaction to it, are making it extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible to determine, beyond any doubt, that we can deliver a safe event for all concerned without risking transmission.

Should you have questions about this event, or the implications of the event being canceled, please communicate with Rose Bowl Aquatics coach and business manager, Mr. James Gallagher. His email address is [email protected]

Thank you again for your commitment to the sport of swimming, to the participants and officials. This extremely difficult decision is something that we all hope is a once in a lifetime challenge. We wish you and your families the very best and we look forward to being able to share with you a rescheduled date for this event in the not too distant future.

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Concerned
2 years ago

Over 1400 athletes entered on Friday, before scratches. Let’s say one parent, on average, per athlete = 2800 people plus coaches, officials, and volunteers. Quite a lot of people gathering in one spot during a state of emergency…

Vic
Reply to  Concerned
2 years ago

Just got canceled.

Concerned Citizen
2 years ago

@MVN with Governor Newsom’s new guidance recommending the cancellation of any gatherings of 250 or more people, are you still moving forward with the meet? https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-11/coronavirus-outbreak-large-gatherings-canceled-governor-gavin-newsom-california

Concerned Citizen
2 years ago

This is an incredibly reckless decision by MVN. Nearly every top epidemiologist agrees that this type of gathering puts the community at risk. In a sport that must prioritize the safety of the kids and families continuing to hold meets while nearly every other gathering everywhere is being canceled is reprehensible. The coaches, parents and organizers who are shrugging their shoulders while endangering fellow residents in the face of an unprecedented public health crisis are selfish and misguided. MVN is not a a savior – they and those who attend will be remembered not for their achievements but how they were prioritized over the well being of their neighbor. The sport is better than this – I hope we find… Read more »

Troy
Reply to  Concerned Citizen
2 years ago

Speaks volumes, not just MVN but SCS. Just two days ago they sent a nice letter to all families stating how much they care about swimmers health and safety. Then follow up with moving the meet to MV, completely contradict what they said earlier. They just care about money.

StaySafe
Reply to  Troy
2 years ago

Sadly this may be the end of SCS..

Troy
Reply to  StaySafe
2 years ago

No wonder Orange Section wants to break away from SCS.

Concerned Citizen
Reply to  Troy
2 years ago

It is even more duplicitous that SCS would cancel their March board of directors meeting over these same concerns yet deems it ‘safe’, responsible and ‘a good idea’ for our children, parents (most vulnerable to infection) and to the community. Does SCS, MVN or Brian Goddell have epidemiology knowledge superior to that of public health officials? Are Brian, SCS and meet putting our kid’s health and safety first or their own selfish interests? Are they brazen enough to proceed with Governor Newsom’s request that public events/gatherings of 250+ be paused? I love the swimming community and have faith that we will rally and do the right thing for our swimmers that are counting on us to protect them. I have… Read more »

Vic
Reply to  Concerned Citizen
2 years ago

Just got canceled.

SwimMom
2 years ago

Illinois just canceled their JOs

MaverickSwim
2 years ago

Here’s a thought – SocalSwim does not want to cancel the event because of the lost revenue. If they hold the event (event if parents don’t want their kids to swim) then they don’t have to issue refunds to parents. Nice way to pick dollars over safety. Will SocalSwim issue refunds if parents do not want their kids to attend?? This is a 14 and under swim meet. . . . there’s plenty of swimming for these kids in the future. Let’s keep them healthy.

I sincerely hope they provide extra hand washing stations . . . if you’ve ever been to the pool, you’ll soon find the bathroom facility was not part of the 11 million dollar budget.

Paying Tin Quotes
Reply to  MaverickSwim
2 years ago

SCS is offering the chance for people to withdraw their swimmers and not be charged. MVN is also providing extra hand washing stations and reducing touch points. Not saying this is a great idea but it does reduce the appearance of money grab. I think this meet is back on because teams and coaches wanted to let their kids race.

Troy
Reply to  MaverickSwim
2 years ago

There’s hardly any deck space at this pool, it’s gonna be a total mess.

Frmrmvner
2 years ago

MVN. Typical. Irresponsibly greed motivated. As always. This is a city with an elder population. The swim center is flanked by both a 50+ community AND an elderly home. Way to go inviting people from all over SoCal and the potential harm they can do to our community. You didn’t come through for anyone in this decision, you may have just brought the virus to Our city. Swimming is not as important as our community health. How dare you.

Taa
Reply to  Frmrmvner
2 years ago

Exactly how is the virus spread when someone parks their car on the street and walks on the sidewalk to the pool entrance? How many residents leave the city every day and work in another city and return home every night? I’m sure it’s thousands.

Troy
Reply to  Frmrmvner
2 years ago

You can thank the Mayor for that

Taa
2 years ago

This cancelling of swim meets seems to be a hot button topic. I’ve figured this out for everyone. So the rule we should implement is as follows: As long as Disneyland remains open we should be holding swim meets.

Vic
Reply to  Taa
2 years ago

Ha, I believe some of their staff have been tested positive for Corona virus. Be careful!

Taa
Reply to  Vic
2 years ago

Not true they were actually caught drinking Corona beer on their break

bigNowhere
Reply to  Taa
2 years ago

Disney’s parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong have been shuttered for weeks because of the coronavirus threat.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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