California Swimming Sees Hope As State Re-Opening Hits Phase 2


As California’s governor has begun his Phase 2 of re-opening some businesses and activities as early as Friday, after the state has seen some encouraging numbers in regard to the coronavirus, California swimming clubs might be entering the water throughout the state in a matter of days.

It is a glimmer of hope in a state packed with swimming clubs waiting to get back to training. Mission Viejo has already begun to practice, following strict local guidelines, and others will soon follow.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Phase 2 of re-opening on Monday (part of his four-stage plan), which includes allowing local officials more flexibility. But according to reports, those regional plans will have to meet “criteria that includes the capacity on testing, their capacity on tracing, the capacity on physical distancing and sanitation, and their capacity to protect the most vulnerable residents in their community.”

It will be dependent on rules and regulations by each municipality as well as following state and federal guidelines.

USA Swimming has said no meets will be sanctioned until at least June, but if team practices follow local laws and guidelines during the pandemic, swimmers could ease back into the water.

“USA Swimming does not prohibit practice at this time, but if teams conduct practice they must follow all local, state, and federal public health guidelines,” USA Swimming social distancing guidelines state.

One of the key parts of Newsom’s plan is expanding the government’s capacity to quickly identify virus infections as well as trace and quarantine those infected to prevent rapid spread and more outbreaks.

“We are entering into the next phase this week,” Newsom said during a Monday press conference. “This is a very positive sign and it’s happened only for one reason: The data says it can happen.”

Public and private facilities are deciding when and how to re-open for non-team swimming as well.

Private swimming pools in Riverside County, California, just east of Los Angeles, can be reopened, but only one swimmer can be in the pool at a time, according to a revision of the county’s executive order. According to the county, “permitted to operate for single occupancy only (one swimmer at a time), regardless of size or volume of pool.”

The governor’s phase also allows municipalities to make their own decisions about their beaches.


    • avatar
      Jeffrey Cullen Sr.

      Per the CDC: Can the virus that causes COVID-19 spread through pools, hot tubs, spas, and water play areas?
      There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.
      While there is ongoing community spread of COVID-19 of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is important for individuals as well as owners and operators of these facilities to take steps to ensure health and safety:
      Everyone should follow local and state guidance that may determine when and how recreational water facilities may operate.
      Individuals should continue to protect themselves and others at recreational water venues both in and out of the water – for example, by practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene.
      In addition to ensuring water safety and quality, owners and operators of community pools, hot tubs, spas, and water play areas should follow the interim guidance for businesses and employers for cleaning and disinfecting.

      • avatar
        Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

        Indeed… important to read the full guidance, not just the first line. Thanks Jeffrey.

  1. Kimberly Joy

    Phase 2 is not any different than phase 1, and newsom added a phase 4 to make it seem like we are moving forward. Its all still ridiculous. Masks, social distancing, lining up outside stores, gyms and most pools not open.

    • Joe Milinovich

      Kimberly Joy I don’t understand why you find this ridiculous.
      At least in my area there is not a single gym open. People want to open and it is happening slowly.

      I would be more concerned about what our education system in the fall will look before a pool opening. I know we can be concerned about more than one thing. A pool seems like such a small thing right now.

    • Joe Milinovich

      I just needed to add that in my area people are more worried about getting back to work. There are many protests to open the state back up and the governor isn’t having it.

      I know for a fact there are swimmers of all levels wanting to get back in the water.

      Remember the world shut down. In my 44 years of existence that has never happens.

    • Wendy Reynolds

      Kimberly Joy have you ever read about the Spanish flu? 1918?

    • Joe Milinovich

      Wendy Reynolds look at my Facebook page I linked some I retesting reading on the Spanish Flu, Russian Flu and Asian Flu

  2. Don Bitting

    keep the process of opening the pools going .. life needs to resume .. it’s a flu. There is no more fear of the medical system being overburdened in most parts of the country now. get a grip and end the hysteria.

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      We all get the wish to return – and good that people are working out strategies for safe returns. It is also important to note that it is not “a flu” in the clinical and standard interpretations of that … there is no vaccine nor remedy nor alleviating medication for COVID-19. In the period 2017 to 2019, according to CDC figures, vaccination against ‘flu strains have resulted in 10.6m averted infections, 5.5m averted visits to doctor, around 150,000 averted hospitalisations and 9,200 deaths, in the U.S. alone. COVID-19 is estimated to be 3-4 times more virulent (some estimates go much higher) and is a virus that is not yet fully understood.

      On that basis, caveat emptor on any calls for pool returns without the back-up of safe strategies backed by science and expert knowledge and opinion.

      If we’re to get swimming back to where it would love to be, with the smallest risk of reversal, the fastest route is to tell it like it is, including noting the fundamental differences that scientists are still working out between flu and covid-19 (unlike ‘flu, “COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near” … and that is among key things, along with the risks in pools of aerosolised water and trace elements of faeces in pool environments, that MUST be considered in the process of opening up pools and programs). When we acknowledge and pay attention to such things, safe strategies will be much easier to work out and implement:

      • avatar

        Thank you! The concerns for people’s health are legitimate.

  3. But we’re still under county laws that won’t open pools here in the Bay Area….

    • Joe Milinovich

      There might be a reason why though? I feel with every state being so huge what is good for one part of the state may not be good for another.

      For Example: I live near Chicago and that is crazy no way I see pools opening there yet. Now 4 hours south nothing. I could see pools opening.

      I think we need to look at the data of our area and the surrounding areas to determine when things like pools, gyms, and anything else like that for opening and shutting things down.

      We also need to be prepared for it to get shut down again. If cases spike back up (which I feel they will) swimming will be shut down in those areas. Just because the season starts doesn’t mean it will even get close to finishing right now.

    • Joe Milinovich we were literally first in the country to shut down in our 6 counties. Our numbers a very low compared to So Cal.

      • avatar

        Not really a fair comparison at all. there are over 10 million people in Los Angeles County alone. and you think the numbers are SO much lower than socal? come on now. the size of LA county dwarfs all other counties. Also, we are administering more tests than any other county. Los Angeles County is the only county offering tests to people without any symptoms so they can get that number even higher.

    • Joe Milinovich

      Karin Knudson O’Connell i know there are many frustrated people around the world. We as a society have gotten so used to having everything happen instantly for us.

      Want food – order it boom delieverd

      Want to buy something – order in online get it tomorrow

      Get your news – boom turn on something and you got it

      Need something for your BBQ really quick – boom call instacart.

      This is something I have never seen in my 44 years of living. The whole world shut down. If we didn’t shut down it would have been a lot worse. I know people want to open up now, but I wish we could have a little patience when it comes to extra-curricular activities for our children.

      My son finished his senior year of swimming and graduates next year. Some on his college swim team made NCAA and will not longer get to experience that. That sucks but they also understand the reasoning behind it. It just all sucks.

      I have no idea, but I am starting to really think what does the education system look like in the fall?

    • Joe Milinovich totally agree. The seniors that made NCAAs and can’t go plus trials- basically their career ended abruptly

    • Joe Milinovich

      Karin Knudson O’Connell in all my son (He had two trial cuts) and I had a discussion.

      In the grand scheme swimming is great but such a small part of his life. He will create more memories and remember the good times of swimming.

  4. Caty Flikkema

    We have had zero new cases since April 22 in my county in Montana and our active cases in Montana are very small. Our governor doesn’t seem inclined to move to phase 2 for our state anytime soon. I never thought California would love their opening faster than Montana.

    • Joe Milinovich

      And this is the problem which is causing so much frustration. We do not know what is being told to them (people running the state)

      I am trying to look at it as :

      If there was an asteroid was on it’s way to hit us would our government tell us? Now I know others would see it. But just saying?

      I mean the world shut down and people are saying it is a hoax or we are all going to die repent. With everything in the middle.

      What is actually being said we will never really know?

      It does suck with as few cases as you state you can’t open and be safe. Who knows????

    • Caty Flikkema

      Joe Milinovich I guess that’s what’s frustrating. We have 23 active cases in a population of just over a million people spread out amongst 147,000 square miles. Our response needs to be different than places that are denser and have more active cases but it’s exactly the same. Reopening needs to be done with care but a state like ours following the exact same response as New York is silly.

    • Caty Flikkema

      I was actually told in our area gyms and pools likely won’t open until August. What data supports that response?

    • Joe Milinovich

      Caty Flikkema yep I totally get it. But this isn’t going away anytime soon. Viruses spread quickly as we have seen.

      All it takes is someone to travel to your area with it and infect a few people and BAM.

      Just saying 🙂 I totally understand what you are saying though

    • Caty Flikkema

      Joe Milinovich and I agree. I don’t think opening glacier and Yellowstone is a good idea as much as our area depends on tourism dollars. There just has to be a happy medium. Or if not happy a livable medium.

  5. avatar

    Thank you! The concerns for people’s health are legitimate.

  6. Kimberly Joy

    Phase 2 is really not reopening. Stores and businesses that could were already doing curbside pickup. As long as people are being forced to wear masks and “social distance” it is not moving forward.

  7. avatar
    Nav Gupta

    Swimming in an outdoor, chlorinated pool is probably one of the safest outdoor activities one can engage in at this time. It’s already happening in Italy and the U.K.
    Yes, we need to have rules, be safe, and follow CDC guidelines, but we also need to allow people to get back into society, work, and exercise, for practical reasons and for mental health. As a health care worker in LA, I do understand the risks, but we can figure out a way to safely allow people to get back into outdoor, chlorinated pools!

  8. avatar
    Paul S.

    I’m a competitive swimmer in high school, and I need to get back in the pool. I get that we still need all this stuff, but I am going insane at home. School is almost out too, making it worse. If pools don’t open up soon I will have to resort entirely to land workouts in order to keep up my strength. I have been waiting for rec swim teams to start during the summer and I have no doubt I would have gotten a 26 second 50-meter freestyle this year if we were allowed to practice as I had last year. From what I’m reading here, pools are generally safe and if we take the proper precautions we can open pools up again. However, I contend that only one person in the pool at a time is unreasonable for swim teams with more than 10 or 20 people. No one will get the training they need to improve if that is the case.

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      I hope you get back in soon Paul… I think it might be one swimmer per lane not pool: it’s about how to achieve 1-2m (depending on local rules around the world) distance between folk and avoid ‘gathering’ at the wall of the kind we’re all familiar with. You’re spot on when you safe ‘ if we take the proper precautions we can open pools up again’. Do the homework and take that message, armed with facts, to those with the authority to act but who may not find the time to listen unless you persist in asking them to. Good luck.