Advocate for Competitive Swimming: #openswimlanesMOCO #competitiveswimming #4perlane

By Reach for the Wall staff

Another week has passed and the Montgomery County Council / Department of Health and Human Services has held their position on 1 person per lane for lap swimming. This is disappointing for sure, but there is positive news that as of today (Friday) the trends the county are using to make decisions are moving in everyone’s favor…down!

We have been in contact with many coaches, parents, and swimmers from teams that are based in Montgomery County and as a collective, need to continue to lobby our case to the council (and Dr. Gayles) to sway their opinion on safely opening the lap lanes to 4 swimmers while under the supervision of professional swim coaches. In a recent communication sent to Reach for the Wall, we learned that Potomac Valley Swim clubs based in Montgomery County are working together to appeal to the Health Commission and Montgomery County Council to increase the number of swimmers per lane to four. 

The meeting is set to occur Tuesday, August 18th!!

The coalition of PVS clubs have asked for your assistance in getting the word out.  Please message via Twitter and by email about this issue! 

The first objective of the outreach is to inform them of the USA Swimming guidelines and protocols, which allow for a safe and certified swim practice with up to four swimmers per lap lane. 
The second objective is to obtain a waiver that would  allow competitive swim clubs in Montgomery County to practice with four swimmers per lane. 

“We are not asking the county to change its policies on recreation and lap lane swimming, rather we are seeking a waiver for competitive swimming because at this point in time it is considered a more viable option.”  

The request is to communicate on social media that Montgomery County can safely allow competitive swim teams to have four swimmers per lane in accordance with USA Swimming guidelines and protocols.  Constituents applying political pressure on their elected representatives could help advance the cause. 

Below are samples of twitter posts with #hasthtags and the link to Montgomery County Council representative (members at large should hear from all of you).   

A sample tweet, which you could send to both the full council and/or just your council representative:   

Calling @MoCoCouncilMD to approve @PVSwimming waiver 4/lane. @USASwimming protocol=safe competitive swimming!

#openswimlanesMOCO  #competitiveswimming  #4perlane  #PVSopenswimlanes

When posting, it would be great if you could include a photo with your swimmer in their team attire.

You can find details for your representatives at: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/members/index.html 

Andrew Friedson – Twitter: @Andrew_Friedson
email: Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov
Note: most PVS clus fall within District 1, Andrew Friedson’s district

Gabe Albornoz: Twitter – @albornoz_gabe
email: Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov

Evan Glass – Twitter: @EvanMGlass
email: Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov

Tom Hucker – Twitter: @CmHucker
email: Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov

Will Jawando – Twitter: @willjawando
email: Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov 

Sidney Katz – Twitter: @MC_Council_Katz
email: Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov

Nancy Navarro – Twitter: @nancy_navarro
email: Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov

Craig Rice – Twitter: @RicePolitics
email: Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov

Hans Riemer – Twitter: @hansriemer
email: Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov

18 thoughts on “Advocate for Competitive Swimming: #openswimlanesMOCO #competitiveswimming #4perlane

  • Aug 14, 2020 at 2:39 pm
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    This movement is somewhat obnoxious.

    Why are we jumping from 1 to 4 swimmers per lane? The logical next move is 2 per lane and that is perfectly safe. This is the easiest thing to convince county officials of since they clearly are not familiar with aquatics.

    I get NCAP and RMSC want to cram lanes but that just can’t be the move right now. Increase gradually to show this is going to work. NCAP not helping the cause with positive swimmers attending practice …

    And to all the parents, as a coach I think you should all relax. As we have seen from time trial meets this summer across the club and mcsl landscape, a few months off and then a reduced practice schedule of 3-4 x a week of one hour practices for the summer has resulted in many best times and great swims! More time in the water is not always better and I credit many club coaches for adapting to the situation and getting the most out of their limited pool time. If your child is an olympic hopeful I understand the stress of the reduced practice time, but we only have 1 of those in our county. If everyone sticks together and trusts the process everything will be fine and swimming careers will progress without a hitch, but this may take putting community ahead of your own perceived interests right now.

    I wish everyone the best in this stressful time and I hope swimming can be back to normal again when things are safer.

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    • Aug 14, 2020 at 3:27 pm
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      Appreciate you expressing your opinion…however, 2, even 3 per lane will not cover the overhead for every club that is not subsidized. Even at 4 per lane clubs will find it hard to break even. It is safe and allows clubs to operate in the short term, if restrictions continue (fewer than 4 per lane) several clubs will cease operations.

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      • Aug 14, 2020 at 4:06 pm
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        I get that financially this makes things difficult. I have seen the squeeze both on the club and mcsl side of budgets.

        That said I think safety has to be the priority. This sounds like budgetary concerns are the top priority which seems short sighted to me and potentially not in the best interest of county residents. Clubs may have to make adjustments cutting their size, coaches pay and I know this is difficult and it’s the last thing I want, unfortunately this is much bigger than swimming.

        Also the club I find to be complaining the most is one that is not a small family run club like the others. This club should have had sufficient reserve funds to weather the storm considering their ridiculous margins and prices. I don’t have quite the same sympathy for them.

        Trust me I want kids in the water and back to normal ASAP, but as a coach I think safety and gradual change is the best method.

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        • Aug 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm
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          Remember, clubs have been adjusting since March. Safety should and is always #1 priority! Current guidelines for pools that are not segmented by lap lanes allows for a much higher occupancy and it is left to the individual and a teenage lifeguard to ensure distancing requirements are met. The ability to safely accommodate 4 per lane under the supervision of a certified and professional coach is not an unrealistic nor high risk request.

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          • Aug 14, 2020 at 4:55 pm
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            There have been coronavirus outbreaks at 3 prominent club swim sites around the county just in the last month. So clearly this isn’t as simple as you think.

            Coaches as a general rule are great but this disease is serious and no coaching certification has prepared me or any other coaches for this.

            I am an aquatics professional as well. Chlorine is powerful and should do the trick, but if a sick swimmer sneezes on another swimmer that will do the trick right then and there so that’s a real concern

            4 per lane means 24/ 40 on deck at a time and kids happen to be magnets that gravitate towards each other in and out of the pool.

            I am not trying to be a downer, I spend most of my day at the pool, I just think there are clear risks and counter arguments to this movement that aren’t being strongly considered.

    • Aug 18, 2020 at 1:27 pm
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      Can you please identify yourself?

      Reply
  • Aug 14, 2020 at 4:15 pm
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    It is very well-known fact that chlorinated pool water kills viruses, and coronavirus is no exception. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that when swimming pools are properly maintained, the chlorine in the water should inactivate coronavirus, which would prevent the virus from spreading. According to the CDC there’s no evidence that coronavirus spreads to people through the water in pools. Also, couples of chloride water would inactivate and restrain viruses and coronavirus on surface of water, and it would significantly prevent viral transmission on surface. Nasal cavity is the major site of entry and infection by COVID-19 since at least 90% of inhaled air enters the body through the nose. After the first dive at swim practice, all swimmers body and nasal cavity get in direct contact with chlorinated water that would kill coronavirus. It is very clear that chlorinated pool water is safe environment to restrain coronavirus, and one swimmer per lane for lap swimming is not scientifically justified – it is simply wrong and arbitrary restriction!

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  • Aug 14, 2020 at 4:17 pm
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    This is not only about parents wanting an extra practice for their children. These clubs are small businesses that employ dozens of coaches. If four per lane is safe, as teams around the country have proved, parents should advocate to save our clubs and their coaching jobs. It is a mistake to think businesses are able to go into hibernation and simply bounce back.

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    • Aug 14, 2020 at 5:03 pm
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      I’m a huge supporter of these clubs minus the one I reference above that is not a small business.

      I feel for them and I hope they survive. I truly think the logical next step from 1 per lane is to 2 per lane and see how that adjustment is being handled. I know this may be tough on them financially and many other businesses have taken similar blows over the last 6 months

      I do like the initiative small clubs have taken preparing to use heated outdoor pools into the fall to make things work (these facilities are exceptionally cheap to rent relative to the indoor ones).

      One other problem I have from a coaching ethics perspective is I have heard of a club or two skirting the rules by practicing with few or no lanes in and filling the pool. I don’t agree with the initial county decision to create the current policy in place but I find it unethical to use a loophole to get around it in such a serious time.

      I don’t believe we have proved 4 is safe considering club swim sites have had outbreaks thus far in the 1 per lane scenario.

      Reply
  • Aug 14, 2020 at 5:03 pm
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    I agree with everything MCSL Coach has said. Folks, we can’t let our guard down and can’t be reckless. Safety is the utmost priority.

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  • Aug 15, 2020 at 8:24 am
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    I also agree with everything MCSL Coach has said. To boot, I think people ignore what I feel is a huge risk: kids coughing, sneezing, and breathing heavily between repeats. A *lot* of that goes on at workouts. Even one per lane, with kids standing at the same end of the pool, seems quite dangerous to me. If you staggered it, so that the kids in lanes 1/3/5 rest at one end of the pool and 2/4/6 at the other end, that solves that problem. That’s the only safe way to do this. I get that none of this works from a budgetary standpoint, so swimming as we know it may be over until there is a vaccine. It breaks my heart, but we can’t ignore health and safety.

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  • Aug 15, 2020 at 9:38 pm
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    Northern Virginia swim clubs (summer league and USA swimming clubs) have been swimming with multiple swimmers in the lanes (Fairfax County, from what I understand, allows up to 5) all summer. So have Prince Georges and Anne Arundel (both summer league and USAS clubs). USA Swimming’s guidance is specific and clubs around the country and around the Beltway or just across the Potomac are already safely putting it into place. Not sure what makes Montgomery County so different that clubs in MoCo are going to endanger kids here that the clubs in these other localities haven’t all summer. If 4+ swimmers per lane was dangerous from a community transmission standpoint then all of NoVa/PG Co/Anne Arundel county teams should have had massive outbreaks already and this just isn’t the case. Is it really more dangerous to swim in MoCo than these other places for some reason?

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  • Aug 17, 2020 at 4:14 pm
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    I beg to differ – Your post is obnoxious and really uninformed about the mechanics of swimming. They do NOT exhale into atmosphere while taking a breathe. They exhale into water filled with chemicals to kill the virus. We have a positivity rate of 2.5 in MoCo, Maryland. The hospitalization rates are extremely low and the three day death average is 1 person, which is probably a nursing home resident. I am absolutely shocked that someone hired you to coach swimming. I think you should sign your name, MCSL coach, instead of being a coward and hiding behind an electronic system.

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  • Aug 18, 2020 at 12:53 pm
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    Also, MCSLCoach could you clarify the “outbreaks” to which you are referring? It doesn’t seem like there have been any … if anything an isolated case with a swimmer who WAS in the pool proves there is not spread in the pool or on deck. It also would be great if you could identify the one club you seem to be attacking. They might not all be “small businesses,” but they certainly all employ hard-working coaches who believe they can do their jobs safely with four swimmers per lane.

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  • Aug 18, 2020 at 4:15 pm
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    Good question from MCSL parent who asked about clarity for “outbreaks”, and I agree that there is no proves that this isolated case (if any) somehow associated with swimming activities. People have to be responsible and not to make such highly sensitive statements about “pool outbreaks” , and especially at this difficult time . Even according to the CDC there’s no evidence that coronavirus spreads to people through the water in pools, and CDC is highly conservative organization in regards to kids safety!

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  • Aug 18, 2020 at 4:59 pm
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    Also I agree with Mike about mechanics of swimming. However, even if we are assuming that they exhale into atmosphere – chlorinated mucosal surfaces of “infected swimmer” (source of possible infection) can’t produce a lot of particle. Also, couples of chloride water would inactivate and restrain coronavirus on surface of water as well, and most importantly, it will be impossible to transmit it to recipient, because recipient’s nasal cavity get in direct contact with chlorinated water that would kill coronavirus. Thus, there are multiple lines of protection to prevent viral transmission in the swimming pool.

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    • Sep 9, 2020 at 2:10 pm
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      I do not have chemistry background, but is this true?

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  • Sep 13, 2020 at 9:44 am
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    Are you really willing to rely upon anonymous posts at a message board for medical advice?

    Reply

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