Swim Fort Lauderdale Given Green Light By City To Get Back in the Swim

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The black line - Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Swim Fort Lauderdale to run organized practice starting next week.

As the summer draws nearer, swimming pools have started to open up in various parts of the United States. In south Florida, Coral Springs opened up to the public, allowing 20 people at a time to swim for an hour by appointment. And next week on Tuesday after Memorial Day, the Swim Fort Lauderdale club team will hold its first organized practice since mid-March.

The club, which normally practices at the Hall of Fame pool (currently under construction), will be utilizing three different six-lane pools owned by the City of Fort Lauderdale, starting May 26. The City approved of the club’s usage of the pools on Thursday, May 21.

As of now, only ten people will be allowed on deck – eight swimmers, one coach, and one lifeguard, so the groups will need to be split up.

“We are still pushing and advocating for two to a lane just to get our numbers up a little bit so maybe after next week we will see a change in that,” Swim Fort Lauderdale head coach Dave Gibson told Swimming World. “We are going to start with a couple of our groups – four next week and then wait a couple of weeks for the other two that are our younger kids. Part of that is just due to space limitations – we don’t have the space and time yet. We are just putting who we can get in right now. We will utilize seven days a week to try to get as many kids through as we can. Some groups will go three times a week and some will go every day, it just depends.”

The team will only be training for roughly 75 minutes at a time with 15 minutes in between to switch out the groups.

“We are taking temperatures and they are wearing masks until they get in the pool and all the social distancing of course,” Gibson said. “We will put together a video this weekend and send it out to help the kids have a visual of what they are going to do when they get to the pool.”

Swim Fort Lauderdale will be one of the first club teams in the Florida Gold Coast LSC to hold organized practices, but with the City of Fort Lauderdale giving the club the green light, more clubs in the area could follow. Public pools have been open for lap swim, and local teams have been getting in on their own time.

Swim Fort Lauderdale will be hosting its senior groups, the two top age group groups, as well as the Masters team when the team returns.

“It’s still a big challenge to get a number of groups through with this small number for each group,” Gibson said. “If we could just get a few more kids into each group, it would make a big difference. You could cut down on the number of groups we have and wouldn’t need as much time.

“We are going to continue pushing and advocating for that because I think it is still a safe, controllable way to do it. That is always our priority. We turned in a proposal a number of weeks ago that we thought was real safe and controlled and a good way to start out so we are still sticking by that.”

It has been roughly 10 weeks since the coaches at Swim Fort Lauderdale have been on the pool deck, and they are grateful they will soon get the opportunity to return.

“There is no pressure on the kids for meets. We will just do singles – no doubles for the time being. It will be just technique and conditioning and just trying to get everyone back in a positive frame of mind with their love for what they do.”

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