Swimming: What’s Changed?

Covid-19 has forced the swimming season to be altered and new regulations to be added to ensure the safety of students.

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In order to avoid waterboarding swimmers by requiring them to wear masks at all times as other athletes do, new regulations have been set in place to ensure the safety of student swimmers. Both practices and meets look significantly different from years past, but students are making do of their altered season as best as they can.

For practices, swimmers wear their masks until they get in the water and immediately put them back on once they are out, along with being constantly reminded to keep 6 feet of distance in between them and their teammates.

During meets, volunteers and officials are required to wear masks at all times, but swimmers are permitted to remove their masks when they have an upcoming race. Designated areas to wait before and after races where masks are not worn are provided at every meet. 

While some changes have been made in other sports to allow fully inoculated students to remove their masks, swimmers must keep their masks on no matter their vaccination status. In addition, spectators remain restricted at meets to ensure the safety of student swimmers.

The swim season this year has also lost a major aspect from previous years, that being the competitive atmosphere that many students thrive in. While individuals still race for first, second and third place, the competing schools do not take home wins from the swimmers’ collective scores as they did in previous years. This change has many students, such as sophomore Sophie Robinson, disappointed.

“I think the most frustrating thing this swim season is not being able to compete to win,” said Robinson. “The competitive atmosphere is what makes swim meets so exciting and the lack of that this year has been disappointing.”

Yet another loss to this year’s swim season is time. The season is only six weeks long this year, a significant reduction that has been a point of upset for swimmers such as sophomore Amanda Osborn.

“I am definitely frustrated by the length of the season because it’s much shorter than it would have been without Covid,” said Osborn. “I would have liked to have a longer season, but I’m really glad we were able to do it at all.”

Due to the state of the pandemic during the typical winter season months, not only is the season shorter, but the swimmers are now experiencing an entirely different time of year for practices and meets. Contrary to feelings toward the shortened season, the warmer weather has been a welcome change for Sophie Robinson.

“In the winter, it can be rough to go to practice, especially if the pool isn’t heated,” said Robinson. “Now that the season has been pushed back, the warmer weather has given me less excuses to skip practices and motivated me to swim my best.”