October 1, 2021 | ACTIVE LIFE | Daniel Soares | Photo by Rickki Held
COVID-19 has affected life at Colorado College in many ways, but as restrictions are loosened this year, sport teams are seeing a return to normal. For the swim team, unique conditions allowed them to compete during the 2020/21 school year maskless (unlike many sports teams) while still abiding by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
Swimmers were able to experience a small semblance of un-masked normalcy when they were in the pool for two reasons. First, wearing a mask while you swim would probably make you drown. Secondly, and more importantly, swimming was considered “safe” by the CDC due to virus-killing effects of chlorine and ability to distance swimmers across lanes.
Despite these liberties, CC swimmers saw their season dramatically altered.
In order to properly socially distance, last year the swim team reduced their practice times to only an hour and a half, which allowed them to split the team into multiple time slots. During practices, swimmers were limited to two per lane, with each person having to start at opposite ends of the pool — further distancing the swimmers from each other.
The shorter practices also meant that swimmers were constrained to swimming to less yardage during practice. Less distance, coupled with strict COVID-19 tracing, which caused members of the team to miss two to three weeks of practice when positive cases were recorded, limited the conditioning that the swim team was able to achieve and unfortunately prevented the team from being able to maximize their full potential.
This year, as COVID–19 restrictions have been lifted, swimmers are able to convene once again. The swim team is able to host morning weightlifting workouts and swim practices have returned to a normal full team, two–and–a–half hour time slot. Most lanes now host five swimmers- causing the lanes to feel more cramped, but fostering a greater sense of camaraderie.
The swim team is now also able to host meetings in person (rather than via Zoom) and swimmers are allowed to once again use the locker rooms, instead of showing up to the pool already in their suits. While the time in the locker room is limited in order to reduce the amount of people, that short amount of time creates precious moments of team chemistry that was lost last year.
During a normal school year, the swim team is afforded the opportunity to travel the country- going to different states for meets, attending a biennial meet at UChicago, and training in Hawaii over winter break. Last year however, the team was not allowed to travel at all until their spring championship meet in San Antonio. Even at the championship meet, business was not back to usual. Rather than having prelim races before finals, swimmers were placed directly into their final heats: in effect removing a swimmers chance at “practicing” their race before their final race.
Fortunately for the team, there is currently a full slate of swim meets planned for this year. COVID-19-permitting, the team should be back to full strength as they hope to faithfully represent the CC Tigers as they race to victory in swimmingly fashion.