July 16, 2020
COVID-19 And Our 20/21 Swim Season
If acceptable to you to do so would you please share this with your athletes as it is very much directed at them more than anyone else.
After almost 50 years in coaching I have never been witness to anything that has challenged sports participation more than this pandemic. As such, I simply wanted to address what things look like in my eyes for the future of our sport during this pandemic. I am someone who believes that the train of thought that this pandemic is not real or not as serious as it's been billed as is, in fact, our biggest danger at this point in time.
Regardless of how one feels about how well we've been informed of the true facts and figures, regardless of how one feels about how well any governing entity has outlined their protective/preventative guidelines during this time and regardless of how ones feels about if they are at risk and or not the one thing that remains true is that we are ALL feeling the results of this pandemic. Countries have approached this differently as well as have our states here in the US. Some were considered to take no action, some were considered to take slow action and yet others were considered to take quick and well-organized action. Considering our own country and the various levels of action of our states... regardless of how things were approached we seem to be seeing a country-wide surge in cases. And that's during the summer when we theoretically should have had our best chance of taking control of this beast. Based on what we're seeing, regardless of the measures we've set forth as individual states, we have clearly not stopped the surge. I can only feel that we have not stopped the surge not because or what any government or departmental agency has done or not done but because of what we it is that we, the people, have done or not done.
worked hard to create a safe environment there at the pools and
parks that we're using but that's only a portion of the day.
Nothing that we do there, no guidelines that anyone sets forth,
will be worth a thing if we don't take similar precautions all day
and all places that we go. And herein lies the crux of this message
to the athletes... you, our athletes, are simply more power than
than ANY coach, ANY set of rules or ANY governing entity in terms
of stopping the spread of this virus. How many of you athletes are
truly practicing the same care and caution outside of the pool as
you do within the pool? What happens when you walk out your door
and no longer are in the line of sight of your parents at home?
I asked something similar of our athletes when I was coaching Level 5 in terms of the wellness of their own personal career. I'd point out that I could establish a very controlled environment for them only 3 hours a day and for 5 days a week at best. That gave them 21 hours a day on those 5 days and 24 hours a day on their days off to either MAKE or BREAK what we were doing in the pool. In essence, they had 10 times the control that I had over their careers. I truly feel that the reason we have had more of our age group swimmers achieve world ranked status, make trials and make international teams than any other age group team like us in the area is because we had athletes who understood the power of their own role in their swimming success in terms of everything that they did outside of the pool. I'd train them but 15 hours a week but they took responsibility for the other 153 hours each week and ate right, stayed hydrated, took care of their health, dressed properly during cold weather, stayed off booze, focused on school, got their rest and such. They did things as much right outside the pool as they did inside the pool. THAT'S what made them great and THAT'S what gave them control of their careers.
The wave of teams not being allowed to operate this upcoming season has started due to facility closure. It's happened already here in Columbus and is occurring across the country. If our athletes want to have a 20/21 swimming season they need to think about all the hours they spend outside the pool and what it is that they are doing. They need to get their friends to think about their lifestyle during this time as well. In the end, it won't be high schools, universities, Y's, private owners, the CDC, the Government or any other entity that shuts down the pools. It will be COVID. If we don't take control of COVID then COVID will continue take control of us and determine our future.
Athletes... take control of things away from the pool. Be great examples and set the tone amongst your peers to help fight this battle that we're in. Great leaders, great people take control. Make an impact on history by demonstrating your strength, your caring and your concern for others during this time as a collective. Fight this battle head on!
THANKS for being a part of this team.
GCSTO Strong, GCSTO Proud, STILL GCSTO!!!!