Cathy Elgas held lots of promise for her Granite Hills High School swim team in 2020. When the spring season was prematurely cut short due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, it was a disappointing end to the season for both coach and swimmers alike.
But Elgas and many of the Eagles are back in the water with the Manta Rays Aquatics club this summer.
The club started practicing several weeks ago at Granite Hills High School.
“It’s much different with social distancing, but it’s working,” said Elgas, who serves as club director.
“Training has gone great and the swimmers are almost back to where they were before we stopped in March,” Elgas added. “It took up until now for the swimmers to be back on their intervals.”
The emphasis right now is on training, improvement in stroke mechanics and starts, though Elgas is hoping clubs can start some form of competition to enhance training sessions.
Discussions are ongoing on what formats are possible later in the summer.
“I’m hoping we can start some sort of competition, so the swimmers have something to train for,” she said.
Granite Hills High School junior Erin Kluge has started to receive recruiting interest from college swim programs.
Swimming is a highly competitive sport in college.
“So, she’s anxious to get some times,” Elgas said. “The Air Force academy called her (recently) and is very interested in her.”
Also practicing with the Manta Rays are Granite Hills teammates Chloe Morgan and Izzy Cox, members of the team’s “golden girls” quartet.
Swim programs this summer have a decidedly different look.
New safety protocols include swimmers arriving at the pool in their suits and leaving in their suits. There is no changing room use unless there is an emergency.
Social distancing extends to the water. Elgas said no more than three swimmers are allowed in each lane, with the optimum number being two.
If there are two swimmers in each line, they are situated one on each end. If there are three swimmers in a line, there is one on each end and one is in the middle.
The San Diego Shores water program is holding practices at the Granite Hills pool on Monday and Wednesday following Manta Rays practices.
For more information on Manta Rays Aquatics, contact Elgas at email@example.com.