Virginia Independent Schools Still Planning on State Swimming Championships in Winter Season

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) released its guidelines for playing winter sports this season, as the VISAA still plans on holding a swimming and diving state championship meet this season, with schools having open invitations to participate instead of qualifying, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Among the safety protocols, swimming and diving teams will be kept on opposite sides of the pool in dual meets, with the home team competing in lanes 1-3 and the away team in lanes 4-6. Basketball games will have no jump balls, with the visiting team getting the first possession to start the game and a coin toss determining the starting possession in overtime. Game balls will be sanitized before the game and during timeouts and in between quarters. In indoor track, teams will be kept on opposite sides of the facility, and the home team will compete in every other lane.

Under the VISAA guidelines, social-distancing measures are to be observed, with no pregame or postgame handshakes, first bumps or personal touch exchanges; athletes not actively participating in a game or meet must wear face masks; and coaches and everyone inside a facility must wear a mask.

The guidelines are based on input from the VISAA’s winter sports competition, sports medicine advisory and winter sports committees, the National Federation, CDC, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Council for Private Education and the governor’s office.

Earlier this year, the Virginia High School League (public schools) announced a condensed winter sports season, beginning in December and ending in February.

The route traveled by the VHSL allows all sports to be played, albeit through a shortened season that will see schedules reduced to about 60% of the typical amount of competitions. How postseason tournaments and competitions will be handled remains to be seen. Of course, any sports being held hinges on what unfolds with COVID-19, which has seen spikes in several parts of the country.

The swimming and diving state championships are still on for February 19 – 21, 2021.


  1. Yanira Gordon

    How fortunate they are! The pandemic will only widen the inequity chasm that already exists in competitive (club) swimming. Those more affluent teams with access to private facilities will have the advantage to practice and participate in sanctioned meets while those teams that rely on public facilities, most are which are closed, will be left out of the water (literally). The repercussions from zero access to water will be seen for years to come. ?

    • Debra Stanavage Neeb

      Yanira Gordon further more… we are a private club team that has a facility to practice . We were following state guidelines and have been significantly reduced in our practice times due to state restrictions. Not fair to any of our swimmers who cannot practice or get improved times for college recruitment

    • Ryan Connell

      Yanira Gordon sounds like a good case for vouchers…

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