Minnesota High School Swim Season to Start On Time with Limitations

Minnesota high school swimming and other endurance sports will start on time this fall even as contact sports have had to be rescheduled due to COVID-19.

The Minnesota State High School League’s board made the decision in a meeting Tuesday. It moves contact sports like football and volleyball to a new “fourth season” next March. But boys and girls soccer and individual sports like girls swimming and diving, cross county and girls tennis will continue as relatively normal in the fall.

The board vote was 17-1. Practices in the five fall sports can begin Aug. 17 with a 20 percent reduction in season length and a 30 percent reduction in games with no more than two per week. Swimming invitationals are out, due to social distancing concerns. A determination on postseason play has yet to be made for soccer.

Part of the season shortening has to do with accommodating the fourth season, between the traditional winter and spring seasons.  A possibility is a March 15-May 15 season with the traditional spring sports moved to May 15-July 15.

Minnesota high school swimming is split between genders, with the girls swimming in the fall and the boys in the winter.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

“In clearing girls’ tennis, cross country and girls’ swimming and diving to start this month, the league limited the number of competing events to one or two per week and scrapped large invitationals. Cross-country meets cannot exceed three teams while tennis and swimming can only hold dual competitions.”

Minnesota is the ninth state to delay high school football and one of 29 states, as of Monday, that had delayed some portion of its high school sports calendar. The MSHSL represents 500 schools and 240,000 students in 43 sanctioned sports.

Last week, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz allowed individual school districts broad freedoms in setting return-to-education schedules, issuing guidelines to follow. Minnesota ranks 36th among states in COVID-19 infection rate per 100,000 people, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

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