University of Michigan Swimmers Return to Pool, Causing Confusion Around State

Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@umichswimdive

While the state of Michigan has not allowed swimmers to return to indoor pools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Michigan swimming program has returned to the water in their home facility.

Michigan swimmers, practicing social distancing, have returned to Canham Natatorium, one per lane, as of Monday, the school announced with photos on social media.

High school and club programs have returned to outdoor pools around the state in small numbers, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ruling prohibits a return to indoor pools. Many teams have been forced out of the water entirely, or have been swimming in large ponds, rivers and lakes around the state.

The University Michigan has returned under the guidance of NCAA policies as athletes have returned to campus and voluntary workouts with social distancing guidelines in place.


Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@umichswimdive

More COVID-19 news

It is unclear whether the University of Michigan has any other exemptions or if the NCAA ruling specifically exempts the school. Several people commented on the photos on social media, wondering how the university is exempt from the governor’s ruling, but no official response was given.

Swimming World reached out to university officials but has not been given an official explanation yet.

The team posted pictures on social media of one swimmer in each lane, the temperature checking station and masks being worn on the pool deck.

Swimming World will continue to update this story as more details are known.


Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@umichswimdive


  1. avatar

    Someone with common sense. This governor has gone to far. GO BLUE GO.

  2. Spencer Pinter

    These are young and generally healthy people. Swimmers are some of the most fit and healthy people walking the face of this planet. What is the concern? Look at the stats… Daily deaths from COVID-19 have plummeted in the US since mid April. Up just a tad since the reopening because people are getting out there, but people cannot stay locked up forever. In the absence of a vaccine, that very well may never arrive, the natural course to herd immunity is the best we have, and staying locked up will only prolong the natural process from moving forward. As more people get sick and recover, the spread of the virus will naturally slow until it has virtually lost its ability to jump from one host to another. 474 deaths in the US today due to COVID-19 and 465 yesterday. That is way down from +/- 2,700 deaths on April 21 – at the peak.

    • Jennifer Brassow

      Spencer Pinter – so, for 100 people you know – 1 will die. Who will it be?

    • Alex Braunfeld

      Spencer Pinter I think some of the concern is why is Michigan allowed to open up their indoor facility but not others?

    • Julie Tellier

      Alex Braunfeld well universities are federal funded and they are following NCAA guidelines so there is much the state can fuss about

      • avatar

        Well, it’s a misdemeanor to violate the executive order issued by the Michigan governor, and the federal courts are following those orders too so it’s a bit puzzling how Michigan can be holding an indoor practice.

    • Spencer Pinter

      Alex Braunfeld – Yeah, I got it, but why not just allow other facilities to open up to swimmers as well. I still have not heard of any cases coming from young, strong and healthy swimmers swimming two or three to a lane. Either way, good luck in Michigan. There does not seem to be much rhyme or reason as to anything that happens there. 😀

    • Michelle Metz Koueiter

      Julie Tellier the problem is none of the other universities are practicing indoors… not sure why Michigan is allowed too

    • Alex Braunfeld

      Spencer Pinter I didn’t say I agree or disagree but just pointing out the inequities!

    • Alex Braunfeld

      University is a state school and Whitmer is the Governor of the state?

    • Alex Braunfeld

      Julie Tellier no UM is a state school and Whitmer is the Governor of the state.

    • Spencer Pinter

      Jennifer Brassow – Not sure. That is completely out of my hands… However, I am very thankful that the death rate is now down to about .5%-1% and dropping as time passes. Compare that to the roughly 1,660 people that die each day in the US from cancer.

    • Spencer Pinter

      Jennifer Brassow – It is tough to tell exactly what you are referring to with “MI is closer to 8%”.

    • Julie Tellier

      Michelle Metz Koueiter I guess I don’t see it as a problem. They are social distancing and submerged in chlorine. Technically they are captains practices (voluntary practice) and not coach driven to follow NCAA rules. Also University of Louisville and Texas A&M are in their pools.

    • Michelle Metz Koueiter

      Julie I also don’t see it as a problem if the other universities are able to follow suit and do the same. The schools in other states we can’t compare too as they have a different governor.
      I am all for them practicing but let MSU ,Wayne state, Oakland and others do the same that’s all

    • Danilo Trias

      Jennifer Brassow people die everyday. You act like we live forever. A friend of mine in the 40s died of a heart attack. You act like people never die. Guess what there are risks in life. Live in fear if you choose. Others will just live because COVID or No COVID tomorrow isn’t guaranteed

      • avatar

        Pretty cavalier when you’re also messing with OTHERS’ safety.

    • Spencer Pinter

      Debbie Vrystein Jones – This article does not confirm with certainty that any swimmers have tested positive. Just says that “sources say”, but the school did not confirm whether or not swimmers or divers have tested positive. Who knows what to believe anymore. Who are the sources and how many swimmers?

    • Spencer Pinter

      Debbie Vrystein Jones – Check the stats… Texas, as large of a state that it is, still has one of the lowest death rates from COVID-19 of all states in the US.

    • Erika Marie

      Spencer Pinter 411: Youths are making up the majority of confirmed cases right now.

    • Jennifer Brassow

      Kathy Matlock – ah, the sad comment that doesn’t take into account youth bringing virus into other age groups. Like their parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles, etc.

      Just glad their practices were suspended today!

  3. Paula Maas

    Pools should be open. Pools can be operated safely, just like any other business.

  4. Hughes Tassia

    Swimmer seems much safer then the other sports starting up such as football and soccer.

  5. avatar

    Somehow the governor believes that opening bars is ok but not swimming pools.
    Which one causes more problems and inhibitions with young people/ people in general!
    Swimmers, athletes and people that want to exercise WILL follow the rules. They are just happy to get back in the water.

  6. Kim Ulrich

    It seems it is no longer up on their social media??

  7. Erika Truty Patkowa

    Swimming is absolutely one of the safest sports. Our club has resumed swimming this summer, and has done an excellent job with safety. Swimmers come in ready to swim, complete screenings and temp checks daily, are masked until they jump in, swim 4 per lane with spaced out rotating starting positions. It’s impressive and while it’s at an outdoor pool now, I have no doubt they can follow these precautions at an indoor facility. Sure, sets are modified but it’s definitely doable. There’s no reason why swimmers should not be allowed to practice.

    • John Brunelle

      We do the same now with 9-18 year old with our team. We only do up 3 per lane right now and run two seperate sessions.

    • Erika Truty Patkowa

      John Brunelle absolutely. There’s literally no contact. I know pools get lumped together with gyms and spas, but there IS a way to let people lap swim and practice safely.

    • John Brunelle

      works great wall goes first, then stagger 1, then stagger 2. They end in same spots 6 or more feet apart. In the fall we hope to add a 4th when the full team starts back up. We are working on walls and breakouts right now and honestly think kids are more focus with the distance in the water.

    • Erika Truty Patkowa

      John Brunelle we do similar with 4 – 2 start at the walls (opposite walls) and 2 start at the flags (opposite). They all start at same time and circle swim. Passing can sometimes be tricky, but coaches have have done a great job putting kids with similar speed in same lanes.

  8. Amy Schimmel

    Glad that they are back in the pool, but I live in Michigan and have 2 swimmers that are dying to get back in the pool.

  9. Katie Fouts Watson

    Since there is no federal shut down, the states that are under control should be allowed to open Pools while they can. If we wait for every state to open pools at the same time our kids may not swim for a year. I support getting kids back in the water where ever it is practical.

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