Letter to South Texas LSC from General Chair

For many months now, the South Texas LSC has been one of the front runners in the nation in returning to the pool for practice even though only about half of the teams have been able to return to some form of practice.

As general chair I have been in weekly contact with USA swimming leaders and many LSCs around the country for the last 5 months. A tremendous amount of time has been and continues to be spent by USA Swimming and LSC leaders adapting to and planning based on a steady stream of government and CDC regulations and USA Swimming guidelines.

For over a month the South Texas Board of directors were forced to move from a normal once a month board meeting to meeting every week in an attempt to stay on topof this spinning wheel of new information and then having to adapt.

The latest decision by USA Swimming to discourage swimmers from traveling by canceling the sanctioning of regional meets in August combined with their recent decision to allow the sanctioning of local meets in the month of August where times can qualify in high level meets outside of an LSC has put everyone in a very awkward scramble to safely, ethically and legally meet the needs of as many swimmers as possible. This development, despite the local government's continuous layering of regulations and crackdown on public gatherings, has put the South Texas LSC once again among those in front of most of the nation in the return to the pool process. This time with a severely restricted swim meet format.

Last week the North Texas and South Texas LSCs passed sanctioning meets in August per the local government restrictions and USAS guidelines. While North Texas has only authorized sanctioning for 1-month, South Texas currently has no monthly restriction.

This sanctioning of meets in August is very new for the nation. In July, while Texas has been experiencing an explosion of Covid-19 cases, the whole world of USA Swimming only had around a dozen local meets with most of them 20 swimmers or less with times that do not qualify for any event outside of that LSC.

Please understand that locally, the LSC governing bodies do not host swim meets. LSC member organizations do. It is up to the less than 50% of the teams both in the nation and in our LSC that are currently even able to practice and that have access to a facility capable and willing to host a local meet under all the local, state, national government and CDC restrictions as well as the USAS guidelines. Due to all the regulations and guidelines there are quite a few hurdles to getting through the sanction process and I anticipate closed meets will be the norm initially. This is just one more phase of a continual work in progress. USA Swimming is coming out with virtual meet guidelines and I hope that is going to allow a lot more teams (lucky enough to be able to practice) to participate in the meet process while in the safety of their own facility.

Stay in contact with your coach and keep checking the website for updates as they become available. All board meeting minutes, and Covid-19 updates are on the South Texas website.

Chris Kjeldsen
South Texas General Chair