By contributor David Meisel
April 23-25, Nations Capital Swim Club (NCAP) hosted a meet consisting of their swimmers from their various training sites across Montgomery County. This was the first opportunity for many swimmers to compete (since March 2020) within their county and get a feel for what the upcoming summer MCSL season could be like (with some exceptions).
Lakewood Country Club in Rockville, MD was the site of this PVS/USA Swimming Sanctioned meet. The meet featured 8 lanes for competition, the highest of caliber USA Swimming officials, Colorado System Touch Pads, starting blocks, and a timer for each lane. As the pool is short course meters (SCM) the competition felt like short course, but the events were correlated to a typical long course meet schedule for the kids aged 9 and over.
Every precaution was taken to ensure the meet was COVID safe, from temperature check upon arrival, individual health screening questionnaires, masks, all the way to the configuration of the traffic so all swimmers had to follow to reduce the exposure to others. The unintended side effect of the directional flow of traffic was a great way to herd and ensure the swimmers were getting to the right places!
Swimmers were able to be easily separated by 6 feet by using the vast space to spread out and obtain their own space for pre and post swims.
There were no more than 4 heats for any of the events, with a goal to reduce the number of swimmers and increase the opportunity to ensure that this meet would meet and or exceed county guidance. In lieu of a warm down or warm up pool- the meet officials included 5 minutes between events to ensure the participants could get the most of the pool and time at the meet.
A very smart move by the meet organizers was to have kick boards next to each lane that allowed for a safe place for swimmers to put their mask(which were in zip lock bags between swims). The kick boards were used to provide “weight” so that the masks did not blow away during the swimmers event-as there was a constant stream of wind through the 3 day meet.
The officiating staff lead by Ellen Colket with assistance by Tom Allison, Melissa Arne, and Jeff Klein ensured a successful exceptionally well run meet.
Ellen has been officiating all winter from NCAA DIV. 1 meets, to other USA Swimming events throughout the U.S.A. She and her fellow officiators definitely brought “best practices” seen across the U.S. to this meet.
A special thanks to Tom Ugast- CEO of NCAP for working with Montgomery County to set the example that swim meets (with protocols) can be held within the County.