USA Swimming has released guidelines for reopening facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic, offering general practices to maintain social distancing while getting swimmers back in the pool.
The guidelines, of course, are contingent on following local, state and federal public health guidelines.
“We believe swimming, like walking, hiking, running, and cycling, is a critical healthy activity within our communities,” the organization writes in the document. “Swimming does not require direct contact between teammates or coaches and social distancing can be maintained throughout practice. As with all exercise and activity at this time, swimming must comply with standards for social distancing and safety within aquatic facilities.
“We know, with collaboration between USA Swimming coaches, public health officials, and facility operators we can create safe plans for using aquatic facilities to promote physical and mental health opportunities compliant with public health directives. The CDC has indicated that there is no evidence the disease spreads through treated water. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”
The first recommendation made by USA Swimming is that each club designates a COVID-19 liaison that is “responsible for staying up to date on community and state recommendations and any associated changes.”
It then goes through questions the facility owners need to ask themselves, including state/municipality limits for gatherings, the potential capacity of the facility while following these guidelines, and whether or not they’ve familiarized themselves with both the OSHA COVID-19 return to work guidelines and the White House guidelines.
The document follows by outlining how to mitigate hazards, utilizing safe practices, communication with athletes and families, and programmatic considerations. It also outlines general practices for athletes to follow before, during and after practice, including leaving the facility “as soon as reasonably possible after practice,” including showering at home.
At the bottom of the document, there are four sample pool diagrams showing starting and ending points in sets that keep the athletes socially distant. It shows how to do so with 12, 18 and 27 swimmers in a six-lane, 25-yard pool, and 60 swimmers in a 10-lane, 50-meter pool.
Finally, it shows a sample of how to have a group of swimmers assemble on deck prior/after a workout, remaining six feet apart.