The COVID-19 Effect: A Look at Some of the Major Meets Lost

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The COVID-19 Effect: A Look at Some of the Major Meets Lost

By Danny Whirlow, Swimming World College Intern. 

As the summer of 2020 ends, the COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of letting up. Will more swimming be canceled? Seasons hang in limbo as others cautiously start. But while the swimming community may not know what the future holds, we can look back on what we’ve lost. Gone were the usual opportunities to take part in our favorite swimming events, whether as a competitor or a spectator. And even more acutely felt was the loss of any chance of coming together as a community at all.

As we isolated ourselves to protect the vulnerable, it became clear that the lives we were used to living could be easily disrupted. The competitions we always looked forward to prior to the pandemic simply could not take place. But they will occur again, regardless of when that day is. With that sentiment in mind, let us take stock of the opportunities we lost, so that we may have a greater appreciation for them when they return. Here’s a list of some of the major events the swimming community missed so far because of COVID-19.

YMCA Short-Course Nationals

The last time this meet was canceled, it was 1947. Meant for March 30-April 3 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, more than 1000 youth swimmers were affected. One coach said of the cancelation, “There are swimmers who have worked so hard to achieve national times and for some of them, it would have been their last chance to win a national medal.”

The Last TYR Pro Swim Series Meet

As colleges closed around the country, Indiana University-Purdue University followed suite. The IU Natatorium was caught up in this closure, costing the TYR Pro Swim Series its final venue. The series stopped in Greensboro, Knoxville, and Des Moines prior to the May 6-9 meet.

NCAA Championships

Canceled en masse as the Division II Champs were underway in Geneva, Ohio, the NCAA postponed the rest of its swimming and diving championships that were to be held later in March. It came with the cancellation of the March Madness basketball tournaments, as well as all Spring competitions.

U.S. Masters Nationals

Youth swimmers weren’t the only ones to miss championship opportunities at the highest level. U.S. Masters Swimming canceled its Summer Nationals that were scheduled for August 12-16 in Richmond, Virginia. USMS CEO Dawson Hughes hoped to use the time without swimming to “further support our local clubs and coaches to ensure a safe and productive return back to swimming.”

South American Championships

This cancellation came after the Argentinian government suspended all other sports activities. The executive committee of the Confederación Sudamericana de Natación (CONSANAT) hoped a new date could be rescheduled, but no new date has been found yet. The championship was originally meant for March 21 through April 5.

The Olympics

Every swimmer dreaded hearing this news. Initially there were calls to delay the largest international opportunity for swimming, but its cancellation became inevitable. Eventually, the now former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee came to an agreement to hold the event in 2021. The Tokyo organizing committee and the IOC remain optimistic. They hope that the Olympic flame can be “the light at the end of the tunnel” for the world.

What event will you look forward to the most when swimming fully returns?

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

2 comments

  1. avatar
    Shame

    Junior pan PACs in Hawaii gone. Some juniors age up next year and will be too old.

    • Dave

      Yes my son is one of them.

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