High School Team Swimming and Relays Deemed Moderate Risk Activity by NFSHA

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

High School Team Swimming

In regard to the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic, high school team swimming has been placed in the “moderate risk” group of sport activities by the National Federation of State High School Associations, while individual swimming is in the ‘lower risk’ category.

The National Federation of State High School Associations ( NFSHSA) published guidance on how to reopen sports programs for its 51-member associations to follow, defining sports as either lower risk, moderate risk, or higher risk as it pertains to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The document, developed by the federation’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, is in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has crashed the sporting calendar the world over and caused the likes of Water Safety USA and partners to put keen minds to work on exit strategies and safe practices.

The NFHSA plan outlines three specific phases and defines sports in three risk categories. Individual swimming is in the ‘lower risk’ category, while relay/team swimming is in the ‘moderate risk’ group. Tiers are also created for essential, preferred and nonessential personnel allowed at events. Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director said in a statement:

“We believe this guidance document will be a tremendous resource for our member state associations as they determine the timetables for reopening sports and activities.”

  • Phase 1 of reopening has guidelines for pre-workout screenings, limitations on gatherings, cleaning of facilities, physical activity, use of athletic equipment and hydration.
  • Phase 2 concerns the same categories, but continues use of temperature checks, decreases the amount of required social distancing outdoors from 10 to 50 individuals and eases restrictions on workouts. Lower-risk sports can resume competition.
  • Phase 3 emphasizes coaches and players maintaining a 3-feet distance when not competing in practices or games but also allows the resumption of games and practices for moderate-risk sports.

Athletes, coaches, officials and referees, event and medical staff and security are listed in the essential tier. The media is categorized as preferred, but spectators and vendors are nonessential. Only essential and preferred personnel will be allowed to attend events until health departments lift restrictions on mass gatherings.

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    • Alison Greenley Lloyd

      Janel Featherstone That says individual swimming, not team swimming. Our Y pool opened Monday with 1 person per lane 45 min max time limit. One person per lane is not team swimming.

    • Janel Featherstone

      Alison Greenley Lloyd our state isn’t even to that point yet, I’m just curious that it lists indiv (lower) and relay as moderate

    • TK Shelley Causey Christie – I think the headline on this is misleading. It looks like Individual events are “low risk” and only relays are “moderate risk”, not high school swim teams in general (which was my read on the title, but maybe I just misinterpreted it).

      • avatar
        Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

        The headline doesn’t need to be fixed: it is correct – team swimming is rated ‘moderate risk’. Correct. The reasons why they might be are very clear.

  1. Marsha Kathryn McClary

    Individual swimming is clearly listed in the low risk section. This headline is misleading – should be restated please. I see the doc does say relays are moderate so fine then take a look at making sure actual relay races (a smaller part of overall swimming) are safe but the athletes can swim most aspects including practices in the low risk category.

  2. Jason Barnard

    What level of risk do they consider football or basketball?

  3. avatar

    What’s up with just writing names in the comment section?

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      They link to Facebook pages among people who are linked: its a way of alerting friends/family and so forth to references.

  4. Jenoa Olson

    I’ve always said swimming is the safest because you have big plastic cables keeping you 6 ft. Apart. (Warm ups excluded 😂).

  5. Sandy Riddell Wagner

    Clearly these folks haven’t been a timer or other official at a meet. Social distancing!? Seriously?

  6. Eva Applebee

    A lot of people on that deck….the swimmers might be safe in the water, but how about everyone on deck?

  7. Kelly Hoffman Elliott

    Swimming World you can do better. Your headline is negative, incorrect and misleading! You should be championing for these kids. This is not the way to do it.

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      Kelly, you are wrong. The headline is factual and reflects a key element of what ‘return to pool’ will look like far and wide: controlled numbers and physical distancing. It is not our role to champion ‘safety second’ or anything but first. We are not a PR outfit nor a voice for anyone who cannot understand why ‘safety first’ is essential

    • Nicole Green

      Michelle Moore Hamous these headlines lead you to believe otherwise 😡

    • Michelle Moore Hamous

      Nicole Green I know right? Another article on it posted swumming as moderate for the headline. I typed a comment to correct

    • Nicole Green

      Michelle Moore Hamous I wish they would be more positive about it!

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