Kentucky LSC Files Proposal to Reopen Pools in State

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Health officials in Kentucky have decreed that public pools won’t reopen anytime soon. But Kentucky’s local swimming committee (LSC) is fighting against those broad restrictions.

Amy Albiero, the general chair of Kentucky Swimming, has submitted proposals aimed at allowing private pools to work toward reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, even as broader prohibitions will keep most pools closed.

Albiero is at the forefront of that effort in her myriad administrative roles. On behalf of Kentucky Swimming, she filed a proposal to Gov. Andy Beshear this week that lays out a procedure by which the state’s 27 swim teams can reopen. The plans respect public health guidelines, including Kentucky’s Healthy at Work benchmarks, and follow USA Swimming’s resources on reopening.

She encouraged each club to file proposals on their specific operations, something Albiero did on behalf of Cardinal Aquatics, where she is a coach, and SafeSplash + SwimLabs, a training center in Louisville that she owns and operates.

“Our fear is that all facilities will be grouped under one category,” Albiero told Swimming World. “… We want all facilities to be considered separately – that’s the main point, not to umbrella us all into one category.”

Last week, Kentucky public health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, decreed that public pools should remain closed through May and June. Kentucky was since exceeded 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Albiero is careful to make the distinction between public and private pools, primarily based on how they operate. A pool that relies on large membership numbers or open swim periods is much different than one that caters to one-on-one lessons or small-group workouts, such as SafeSplash + SwimLabs, which has three endless pools that accommodate one swimmer at a time.

Declaring all pool closed indefinitely, she believes, is a mistake.

She’s clear on one other point: “Safety is the number one priority.” In listing the reasons to reopen, getting the University of Louisville’s elite training group back in the water falls last on her list. First are the learn-to-swim classes, which take on greater importance this summer as homebound kids will be forced by social distancing into finding less supervised ways to get in the water.

“We believe that swimming is a life skill,” Albiero said. “And we are still going to have kids going out to backyard pools, to lakes, to rivers, to swim and are they properly taught? And are parents properly educated on the best water safety?”

Albiero urged Kentucky clubs to include the various facets of their businesses, from youth swimming and age groups to elite and adult groups, in their proposals. In consultation with USA Swimming’s guidelines, any reopening wouldn’t be immediate and to pre-COVID scale but rather incrementally phased in. The proposals include such safeguards as limiting the numbers of swimmers to one or two per lane, keeping locker rooms closed, sanitizing common areas, etc. They take into account the many ways people use facilities, from swim safety to injury rehab to basic fitness.

In her role with Cardinal Aquatics, Albiero has communicated with Louisville’s other clubs, Triton and Lakeside, to see if they can collaborate, possibly making one facility open for all.

Albiero’s urgency reflects how important athletics can be at a time like this. When done within public health guardrails, swimming provides an important outlet, especially for kids, satisfying not just the physical demand of exercise but the social connections that have been dulled by weeks at home.

“For our swimmers, we can go out and run and do things on dry land, but the best way for us to stay conditioned for the sport that we do is to swim,” Albiero said. “Our kids have chosen swimming because maybe they’ve tried other things but this is where they find their passion, their joy, it’s what they’re better at. Swimming is a huge community as far as the value that you have as a team, and these kids are missing their teammates. It’s what binds them.

“It’s so important from the social aspects. We’re hearing from our swimmers that they’re becoming very frustrated and discouraged, and even you start hearing the word depressed. They miss their coaches, they miss their teammates. It’s become such an important aspect of their lives, and so they’re really missing that connection and that outlet of just being in the water.”


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47 comments

  1. Vance Rose

    Just wondering how you can have any sort of social distancing with your very young lesson students? As long as that distinction is in affect I think it is going to be very tough to get started..and convince a parent and a instructor that you can keep them safe…just trying to figure out the actual logistics of this happening. Several states are trying to pass bills that will not hold businesses liable for employees or patrons catching the virus, unless they are convicted of gross mismanagement..just a thought

    • Ja Bounce

      Vance Rose could start with “Noodle” distance apart (they are close to 6′ (3 X 3 – sitting/waiting for turn — for example)… Instructors will need to be MUCH more vocal for all class levels…

    • Vance Rose

      Got it, I understand your thoughts but teaching 5 and under and keeping your distance is going to be tough. The problem I have is being a licensed, tax paying,chamber of commerce, business, who is doing it right and by the book, we will have a hard time returning to teaching while the backyard mother can start whenever and will have parents who just are not worried about COVID-19. We have people calling now about wanting to start now!

  2. Leslie Cichocki

    Illinois Swimming please do the same for Illinois swimmers. Mission Viejo already was given permission to train a small group of swimmers.

    • Heather York DiFulvio

      Leslie Cichocki Unless they own the pools, it’s up to the pools, typically city/county owned, whether they will open. They have the liability of office and lifeguards to supply. And with social distancing limiting number of swimmers in the pool, it may not be economically feasible for either the team (if they absorb the rental cost) or the parents (if they have to divvy up the lane rentals among a handful of kids).

  3. Steven Rose

    Kentucky isn’t exactly known for their intelligence, however.

    • avatar
      Susannah Truelove

      And your comment just wowed us all with your intelligence…

  4. Doug Schack

    Would love to see this happen but Democrat Governor Andy Beshear will not let this happen. Sort of a totalitarian regime right now. Maybe if we light the pool up in green light 🤷🏿‍♂️

    • Amy Albiero

      Lisa Buck Meeker they mention my name, but the proposal was a KYLSC Board decision! We are on it💪

      • avatar
        Stephanie Hallman

        What about those teams without access to a private pool? Who rent lanes from public pools? What are the suggestions for them?

  5. avatar
    Perspective

    Same state where ankle monitors had to put on covid-19 infected people who would not stay home. Can’t trust the population to abide anything. BUT, there is always room for chlorine in the gene pool.

  6. avatar
    Kimberly Garner

    Great job KYLSC! As I mentioned previously, South Carolina private lap pools at clubs never closed. Strict guidelines are being followed and there have not been any known Covid-19 cases to date. It can be done! Let the athletes swim!

  7. Tim Ritchie

    I can open my pool for you all to competitive swim practice. 16 people at a time, 12 hour days. I figure I can train high school and collegiate swimmers only and about 100 each day. To make it financially the same as my family membership money brings in, I will need $3000 per person for the summer. All aboard???

  8. Dick Beaver

    Yay Kentucky. Forget this politically correct, recently invented “social distancing ” and get the swimmers swimming, and the summer recreation activities open.

  9. Mike McCoulf

    So will you have the kids dispersed across the pool between sets? Because last I checked where is everyone between swims? At the end of the lane listening to coach, so you have 6 kids to a lane or more how do you social distance??

    • Per the article: “The proposals include such safeguards as limiting the numbers of swimmers to one or two per lane, keeping locker rooms closed, sanitizing common areas, etc.”

    • Mike McCoulf

      Colleen Fulton Christensen ok so clubs who have more than 12 swimmers in a 6 lane pool what the hell do you do?

    • Mike McCoulf

      Colleen Fulton Christensen is clubs have to pay coaches 8+ hour days? It’s just unrealistic

    • Mike McCoulf I’m not sure why you’re arguing with me. I simply quoted the article for you showing they proposed one or two per lane when you were asking about 6 per lane.

    • Mike McCoulf

      Colleen Fulton Christensen I understand I’m just questioning the logic behind it all

    • Jennifer Rinesmith

      Mike McCoulf USA swimming published their guidelines for returning to training. The have scenarios for short course and long course pools. It’s more swimmers than you’d think.

  10. April Sinor Bonnette

    They say chlorine kills the virus seems to me the safest place is in the pool it’s the first thing that should be open well before a gym or salon

  11. Kimberly Joy

    Oh this is so ridiculous already. Everything needs to open and go back to normal. The virus is a flu. Get over it

  12. Jennifer Lentini

    The more I read the more I realize that this illness is awful, but some of the precautious we take against it (especially limiting exercise and the ability to be outdoors) threaten our general mental and physical wellness.

  13. Travis Bradburn

    This was all about not overwhelming our healthcare system. Now they’ve moved the goalposts. They’re not…anywhere. And we’re still not opening up! Open now….everywhere!

  14. avatar
    Christie Snowden

    In my opinion USA can definitely have social distancing with staggering their practices. Our young and experienced swimmers are becoming depressed not being able to be in the water ( which is what they do 6 days a week)
    They CAN practice social distancing. I feel these kids will be greatly harmed not only physically, but mentally by continuing to be kept out of the water. Please consider this when deciding before you keep our USA swimming closed.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Agree. My son is 16 and a high school swimmer. They are all becoming sullen without their practices.

  15. avatar
    Alison Walker

    Great. Get the kids to social distance. Can you keep them from peeing, pooping or throwing up in the pool?

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