The Week That Was: USA Swimming Introduces Two Wave Olympic Trials; Dartmouth Reinstates Swimming & Diving

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

We are 173 days from the heats of the men’s 400 IM at the Tokyo Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo Organizers have started devising plans for what an Olympics could look like in a pandemic, including athlete protocols for arrival and weighing the idea of allowing no spectators.

In US news, Dartmouth will be reinstating swimming and diving, after cutting the program this past off-season.

Read below the five biggest stories in The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #1: USA Swimming Olympic Trials to be Split into Two Waves

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Dan D’Addona

The 2021 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials are going to look a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

USA Swimming is set to announce the meet will split into two events, splitting up the qualifiers into two tiers to keep less people at the venue at once because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wall Street Journal first reported and USA Swimming confirmed.

USA Swimming, in partnership with the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Omaha Sports Commission, announced a revised plan and schedule.

The meet will be split into two “Waves” with Wave I from June 4-7 and Wave II from June 13-20, the same original dates of the meet, instead of having 1,700 swimmers in one place. Wave I will take place during the originally planned test event, the meet that is used to get the host’s feet wet in terms of hosting a swim meet.

Wave II will be the sole qualifier for the Olympic Team with time standards for that meet effective January 28 and will close off qualifying May 30. According to USA Swimming, athletes that have already achieved the Wave II time standards will not need to re-qualify between now and May 30. USA Swimming will adjust the Wave II standard to meet the current 41st seeded time.

#2: Dartmouth Swimming & Diving Reinstated

Dartmouth Team - Goldminds Swimming World August 2019

Dartmouth swimming

By Matthew De George

Dartmouth on Friday agreed to reinstate varsity programs that it cut in July, including men’s and women’s swimming, per an agreement first reported by the law firm suing the college over Title IX grievances.

The law firm of Bailey & Glasser LLP reported that Dartmouth agreed to a settlement (pdf) in which women’s golf and men’s and women’s swimming would be reinstated. The school will also conduct a gender equity review of its athletic offerings to be completed by March 15, 2022 and develop a “Gender Equity Plan” to change ensure future changes in athletic offerings don’t run afoul of Title IX.

“From this process, and after hearing about other schools’ recent Title IX cases, I came to understand that gender equality is still an issue, even in 2021,” women’s swimming co-captain Maggie Deppe-Walker said. “I also learned that students truly do have a voice that can be used to question even the largest decisions, but that it takes dedication, persistence, and creativity to be heard. I know now that it is not a conflict of interest to stand up to your school on the matter of gender equality, but that, instead, it is a way to make the school you love a place you are proud of.”

The Week That Was #3: Tokyo Games Organizers Considering No Spectators For Olympics

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Team USA fans in Rio. Photo Courtesy: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

By Andy Ross

The Japanese government and organizers of the upcoming scheduled Olympic Games have started weighing the option of holding an Olympics with no spectators on the assumption that Tokyo and the rest of the world may not successfully bring infections under control by July, officials said earlier this month, according to a story from Japanese agency Kyodo News.

“We have been doing all kinds of simulations. Basically, I don’t think (the games without fans) is something that would happen or something that I would like to do, but it won’t be a simulation unless we think about it,” Yoshiro Mori told reporters in Tokyo after holding a remote meeting with International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach.

Mori and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have insisted that Japan will host a “safe and secure” Olympics in six months by implementing numerous anti-virus steps to protect the health of those involved, according to Kyodo.

The government is considering three options for Tokyo 2021:

  • not imposing a limit on spectators
  • placing a ceiling of 50 percent of the venues’ capacity
  • holding events behind closed doors, according to the officials.

A decision on spectators is expected to come by the end of the spring.

#4: IOC Devising Athlete Protocols For Arrival at Tokyo Games

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Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

By John Lohn

According to a report by Inside the Games, specific COVID-19 protocols have been devised for athletes prior to and after their arrival in Tokyo for this summer’s Olympic Games. Australian John Coates, the Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, athletes will be required to quarantine and undergo a COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before they fly to Tokyo and will be tested frequently after they settle into the Olympic Village.

The specific guidelines for the Games are expected to be released next week by the IOC and Tokyo Games organizing committee. Athletes will not be expected to quarantine once they arrive at the Olympic Village, but their movement will be limited to within the Village and their respective competition venues.

To ensure testing is effective, athletes will be expected to arrive in Tokyo five days before their events and they must depart Tokyo no more than two days after the conclusion of their sport. IOC officials are hopeful that limiting the number of athletes in the Olympic Village will lower the potential of COVID-19 spread.

A decision has still not been made on the allowance of spectators for the Games, but the possibility of the Olympics unfolding without crowds is on the table. That decision will be made at a later time, as the elimination of spectators would be financially costly.

The Week That Was #5: Shane Ryan & Darragh Greene Named to Irish Olympic Team

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Liz Byrnes

European 50m backstroke bronze medallist Shane Ryan and triple national record holder Darragh Greene have been pre-selected by Swim Ireland for Tokyo after the Olympic nomination policy was revised in light of the pandemic.

The pair will now be nominated to the Olympic Federation of Ireland who will confirm the selections after they achieved the FINA ‘A’ time which serves as the Olympic qualification standard.

Ryan went 53.73 in the 100 back at the 2019 Irish Open, a national record and within the time required to book a spot – confirmation pending – for his second Olympics after competing at Rio 2016 where he reached the semis of the 100 back.

Greene – who holds the Irish breaststroke records from 50-200m – went 59.82 over 100br at the 2019 worlds in Gwangju, months after stopping the clock at 2:10.05 in the 200 at the Irish Open with both times inside the cut.

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