Swimming in the DMV update 5/22

By Reach for the Wall Staff

As the announcements pile up we are stunned and disappointed at the realization that the competitions and camaraderie that we all love so much will not occur this summer. Last night the Montgomery County Swim League (MCSL) made their decision not to go forward with the 2020 season.

“Since the very beginning of the pandemic, our primary concern has been and remains the safety and health of our athletes, coaches, and volunteers, as well as all the other people with whom these individuals associate. We delayed a final decision about this summer’s season as long as we felt possible to ensure a determination based on the most current information and guidelines. After much research, contemplation, consideration, and discussion, we regret to announce the cancellation of the MCSL competitive swim season for 2020.
We understand many will have questions or concerns about what this means going forward. Please refer to the MCSL website (here) for answers to frequently asked questions regarding our response to COVID-19 and the effects it will have for the 2021 season.”

“We encourage our swimming community to use this opportunity to examine ways that this difficult and unexpected time of adversity may be used to help build resilience and perseverance, skills that will serve any competitive swimmer not just in the pool, but in life. We also hope that teams will find ways to stay connected this summer and, if permitted, find safe ways to sustain the sport of swimming.”

In support of the message above, we at Reach for the Wall encourage you to use our forum to express your feelings. Submit your story(s) via email to:


Your story can be about what Summer swimming means (and has meant) to you, what you will miss most, what you will do to stay connected, how you feel, your anger, frustration, …whatever moves you. Feel free to include pictures to show off your love for the sport, your teammates, team spirit, etc.

We’ll post each story as quickly as we receive them.

When can I return to practice?

May 20, the NCAA Division 1 Council voted to allow football and basketball student-athletes to participate in on-campus voluntary athletics activities beginning June 1 as long as all local, state and federal regulations are followed. The announcement further provided “The status of voluntary athletics activities in all other sports and summer access activities in football and men’s and women’s basketball will be determined via electronic vote.” Last, it defined what is meant by voluntary athletic activities: “Voluntary on-campus athletics activity must be initiated by the student-athlete. Coaches may not be present unless a sport-specific safety exception allows it, and activity cannot be directed by a coach or reported back to a coach.”

So if we read this correctly, athletes in sports that are inherently contact intensive are able to resume activities (as allowed by local/state/federal regs), but those in sports such as Swimming, Diving, and Track and Field, which are inherently non-contact sports must wait for another vote???

Many in the local community have taken action to petition State and local government to allow swimming facilities to open at a minimum for lap swimming in accordance with the opening of other recreational activities such as golf and tennis.

In our post on May 18, we provided a few examples where communities are requesting that pools are opened:

Change.org Petition for Maryland

Northern Virginia Community Pools Letter to the VA Governor

Swimming World published an article on May 21, titled “Swimmers from New Jersey Petition Governor to Reopen Pools“. Within the body of the article they also provide links to other petitions by swim community members:

These are just a few examples of how the Swim community has banded together to lobby for the opening of the facilities.

We saw today that Fitter and Faster is sponsoring a conversation Monday May 25, entitled “How to Get Your Pool Opened Back Up“. This will be moderated by David Arluck, and features Tom Ugast (Owner of Nations Capital Swim Club and Vice Chair of Fiscal oversight for USA Swimming), Mike Murray (Victor Swim Club in Rochester, NY), David Marsh (Head Coach of the Team USA Olympic Swimming Team in Rio and current Head Coach of Team Elite in San Diego, CA), and Paris Jacobs (CEO of Machine Brands, LLC. Former USA Swimming Board member 2011-2015. Active consultant for the American Swimming Coaches Association. Member of the Board of Directors for the USA Swimming Foundation.)

This should be an informative discussion and provide insights on what is being done locally and Nationally to get our pools open!

Visit the Fitter and Faster site to register:

We will miss visiting our neighborhood pool this weekend as it should be opening for the season. In some spots around Northern Virginia, you only have to wait one more week to stare down at that familiar black line.

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