Connecticut Swimmer Launches Petition to Reopen Pools

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Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Jacob Sherman, a rising high school senior at Westhill High School in Stamford, Connecticut, has started an online petition to urge the state to reopen swimming pools.

Sherman’s petition, “Reopen Connecticut Pools,” on had gotten more than 5,500 signatures as of Friday afternoon. He started the petition last Saturday.

Sherman told the Stamford Advocate that he got the idea after seeing the petition started in Kentucky to reopen pools. A similar petition from two high school swimmers in New Jersey this week garnered national attention. The Connecticut Swimming LSC has shared Sherman’s petition on its website.

Sherman, 16, also swims for Chelsea Piers Connecticut. He’s been out of the water since mid-March. The coronavirus pandemic caused the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to cancel its swimming championships in March. (Petitions and protests to reverse that decision were unsuccessful.)

Connecticut entered Phase 1 of its reopening plan on May 20. But pools are not slated to open until Phase 2, which will occur around June 20. The exact date for that shift is not yet determined, pending how the pandemic proceeds in Phase 1.

Sherman cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines as well as USA Swimming’s recommendations for reopening in the petition. He’s looking to pools as a valuable resource for both aspiring college swimmers like himself and those in the community who rely on the water for exercise and fitness.

“The reopening of pools is very important to Connecticut swimmers such as myself, hoping to get a spot on a college team,” Sherman told the Advocate. “With many other states reopening their pools, we are at a disadvantage to the swimmers in other states who are getting a chance to train and get new times. Although I think that most college coaches are very understanding with what is going on, it is essential to train in order to get a spot on a college team.”

As of Friday’s data released by the state, Connecticut had seen 39,208 cases of COVID-19 and 3,582 deaths. Because of its size, though, its rate of 1,100 cases per 100,000 people is the fifth-highest rate in the U.S. Its death rate per 100,000 people is third highest, according to data collected by the New York Times. Fairfield County, where Stamford is located, is the most affected in terms of cases (14,751) and cases per 100,000 people (1,562). It’s seen the most deaths with 1,180.

Swimming Through a Pandemic

The postponements and cancellations wrought by COVID-19 haven’t just affected the Olympics and the ranks of elite swimmers. They’ve trickled down to neighborhood clubs and summer youth leagues, affecting thousands of recreational and competitive swimmers alike. Here is some of our coverage of COVID-19’s effect on the American summer swimming calendar.

Resources for returning to the pool in the COVID-19 era

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Glen Silvers
4 years ago

So did washington state.

Kelly Hoffman Elliott
4 years ago

They ignore Maryland. I’ve emailed them. FB messages them. Post on FB comments. Ignored.

Craig Lord
4 years ago

Kelly, we don’t ‘ignore’ Maryland. How ridiculous. The link to the Maryland petition is in comments. I clicked on it and see a difference to some of the other petitions. Where we have seen a petition that notes the need for safety measures and responsible behaviour in the pool environment, we have picked up and made time to put an article together. When the Maryland petition buoys itself with the the same ‘safety first’ message we find in some of the other petitions, let us know. ‘Chlorine kills! Open Up!’ is not a responsible call. There are seven viruses I’m aware of that can withstand chlorine-treated pools from between 45mins and ‘several days’. Chlorine and other treatments certainly make pools the world over the safe (not risk-free) environment we all enjoy but with COVID-19, experts (no, that isn’t a filthy word) caution yet as lab testing moves to ‘real-world’ testing at a time of pandemic. They send a ‘no guarantee’ message as a wider point … the pool water is one thing, the pool environment is another. Safety first guidelines are out there. Get your petitioners to make the point in their petition that they back and will follow those responsible guidelines that do indeed make the case for a return to the pool. The conditions and circumstances in which returns take place have to be measured and weighed by those with liability, responsibility and accountability – so back that along with your petitions: a commitment to safety first helps EVERYONE in swimming because its the only way EVERYONE can make it back to the pool with care and confidence.

Kelly Hoffman Elliott
4 years ago

They also delete comments when they are taken to task for irresponsible reporting. Guess I struck a nerve.

Craig Lord
4 years ago

No we don’t, Kelly, unless you happened to use a profanity or a blocked word of some kind. I just checked the system: there is no deleted comment of yours; nothing in spam either. There is no trace of anyone having deleted any comment left by you. We disagree with your opinion on our reporting and find it baseless but no-one has prevented you from expressing that opinion, as the note I’m responding to shows. We have deleted nothing.

Jessica Middleton Newman

Is there a petition for new york yet?

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