How One American Club Safely Returned to the Pool


Commentary: How One American Club Safely Returned to the Pool

Today was a memorable day.  A giant reset button for swimmers at the Phoenix Swim Club in Arizona, USA and perhaps a model for those around the world.  The club conducted swim practices after getting permission from government and school authorities.  Everybody had to follow new rules that required a mandatory zoom orientation meeting, the signing of a legal waiver, and an online “reserve your lane” sign up system that controls capacity.

I reserved a lane throughout the first week for 5:00 am.  Let me take you through this model step-by-step process on how we safely got back into the pool!

  • Each person had to wear a mask and practice social distancing in the parking lot and throughout the practice.  Those with masks were allowed to enter and exit at a defined location. Cameras were installed throughout the complex to monitor behavior.








  • Everyone walking into the pool had to be pre-registered and got their temperature taken.  If their temperature was too high, they were required to stand aside for 10 minutes and then be retested.  If their temperature proved abnormal they were not allowed to enter the facility.


  • After passing the temperature test and check-in, swimmers were then allowed to select their lane.  I took the “Zero” lane which is a half lane along the gutter.  Just my preference, plus only one person in this lane.


  • Once allowed in the pool area, we were restricted to our lanes  and assigned seats for our deckwear.  The restrooms were closed, so everyone had to come with their swimming attire already on.  No public equipment was available.










  • This practice was limited to 50 swimmers. Two to a lane with one person per side.  If two were in a lane they were encouraged to split the lane versus circle swim.  The 6 lane warm-up pool (not pictured) had the same rules.
Safely Back Into The Pool

Photo Courtesy: Brent Rutemiller

Much credit needs to be given to the Phoenix Swim Club coaching staff (Garrett McCaffrey, Takahisa Ide, Mike and Ken Maczuga, Noriko Inada, Ken Barcinas) and especially Sandy Lee – Administrative Executive with a legal background – for all the work they did to bring this facility back online.  Excellent Leadership!


Photo Courtesy:


    • Donald P. Spellman

      Scott Reese : Cherry ? picking article from a bad source.

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

        Absolutely, Donald. It’s got more holes in it than a mountain of Swiss cheese and is wholly irrelevant to the reality of safety measures pools and swimming need to observe to make its return to water sustainable and robust.

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Scott Reese : Well, guy, I figured you must be living an area without large confirmed cases and you’re not a doctor or a public health expert too. I want to get back on the deck ASAP but many of these more populated areas (which are in more “blue” states) have to take more stringent measures for a longer period of time to drive the curve down.
      I’m not an expert on these matters which is why I’m listening to my family and friends who are doctors (two of them epidemiologist), a professor in public health (who swims on my masters team), and my wife who has a Masters degree in Nursing, a BSN, and manages nurse staff for the largest NICU in Iowa (right next to Kinnick stadium). I’m getting my advice from those people.

      I’m also watching my hometown (Perry, IA) try to survive through an outbreak at a local Tyson meat packing plant. I dread seeing people I know popping up on my Facebook feed either sick or having someone in their family sick (or dead).

      Plus: The CDC numbers you cited may not be accurate since we are WAY behind on testing in most places! The most accurate stats (tragically) are the death counts and those are usually delayed by days to a week. Most medical experts are concerned that the actual number of infected Americans is higher than the CDC data reflects.

      My main motive is the safety of my staff and the athletes on my team. My secondary motive is to not get my wife sick since she is needed as an “essential healthcare worker”.

    • Scott Reese

      Donald that’s great, do as you see fit, close down your club and tell everyone you love to stay inside. You are a mask guy, it makes you feel good, no problem, you were told not to wear a worthless mask before you were told to wear a worthless mask.
      and I shared the hard data from the CDC, far more kids (unhealthy with pre-existing conditions) die from the common flu than this strand of coronavirus. The vulnerable should stay indoors. I have family members, nurses etc. and associates who actually tested positive for it ages 28-45 and got through it not coming close to death. I was an EMT and Firefighter, I dealt with death on a daily basis. You don’t agree with me nor will you every agree with any facts that don’t support your narrative. I can’t convince you no matter what. So, again, you do you but don’t destroy the rest of us without the science to support it. Stay 6 feet plus apart from people, you’ll be just fine. There is nothing more to discuss here.

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Scott Reese : In Iowa we have seen pockets of multi level systems failures from the Governors office to local health departments. Maybe your state will dodge some bullets but it’s doubtful. Vegas & Reno could turn into hot spots quickly under normal circumstances.

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Scott Reese : Dr. Fauci has been trying to get in front of this strand of Covid19 as the information and understanding of it’s behavior evolves. He changes course and gives out advice as the science dictates. I actually think he’s doing a decent job. BTW: Did you go to UNLV?

  1. Jena Hines

    Pool was pretty safe to begin with

  2. avatar
    Shelbi Baros

    PSC did an amazing job! I went to Masters Swim with my college son and it was perfectly executed. Garrett, Sandy, Noriko, Tako, and Ken did a fantastic job!!! Way to go PSC to lead the way!!!

    • Peter Scott

      Elena Nannoshi are you still around tarnishing everyone who has passed away??

    • Alexys Matcuk

      Elena Nannoshi yeah and you never had a brain to begin with either

    • Aracelis Williams

      Elena Nannoshi Good grief what planet have you been living on since March ? ?

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

      Sure Elena, the Earth is flat, the sun goes round us, the Queen of England is a lizard and the reason why one sock always seems to go missing is because they’re stolen by the one-legged tribe that visits from Planet Zog every Friday. On the other hand, you might want to think about how insulting and hurtful your falsehoods are to the 347,916 known and certified COVID-19 related deaths among the 5.5m infections so far around the world and noted in many more hospital and mortuary records than your days on Earth – all of them, presumably, lying through their back teeth. Please don’t leave any more of your nonsense here. It isn’t fact, it may well be your opinion but it is also demonstrably false.

    • James Nock

      Elena Nannoshi tell that to the families of those who have died of it.

  3. Rob Richardson

    72% of the deaths in Maricopa County (where PSC is located) have been in nursing/assisted living homes, and the highest per capita death rate (in the US!) is on the Navajo Nation near Four Corners area. So the chances of a healthy young swimmer in the Phx Metro area contracting the virus is extremely low, or if they do their symptoms should be mild or most likely nothing. We shouldn’t be treating our citizens like they live in NY.

    I am ok with closing the bathrooms, etc to minimize impact to staff/ coaches, but when they are in the pool they are constantly moving. Keep them spread out on the wall and lane lines between sets.

    Great that PSC (and others in the state) are back in the water, and my club should be able to start on June 1. But in my opinion, 2 swimmers to a lane isn’t sustainable for the existing swim club business model at current pool rental rates.

    But I agree it is a start

  4. Tom Danielson

    Shane Burrell & Shelley Ingram seen this pool in the US ?

  5. avatar

    Who is this snippy, condescending guy? To politicize a 100% valid, substantiated, pandemic is ignorant. It has nothing to do with politics except for a small man of a President who doesnt want to admit he has no control over a pandemic. To those like him who call it a “masked one” vs non masked I say, it’s no different than wearing a seat belt when you drive. What are the chances you’ll get in an accident today = low perhaps. You may feel in control of your vehicle but you can’t control others. Nonetheless, should an accident occur – do you think that seat belt wont minimize the chance or degree of injury to you, your family, your child? If you think it’s stupid then dont wear a seat belt anymore! You and your political junkies, will weed yourselves out fairly quickly I imagine…