Prep swim season set to debut with a host of safety protocols

Rachel Sapper rates among the top returners for the upcoming high school swim season for Granite Hills High School.

Grossmont Conference schools are set to take the plunge into the water Feb. 26 when the 2021 swim season is scheduled to begin after last season was cut short following the declaration of the coronavi­rus pandemic.

In Grossmont Hills League openers, Valhalla will host Steele Canyon, Granite Hills will host West Hills while Helix will host Grossmont.

In Grossmont Valley League openers, El Cajon Valley will host Mount Miguel and Monte Vista will host Santana.

There are major differences as the sport resumes after nearly a year, including some schools hosting virtual meets in which swimmers compete at their own schools and results are compiled by combining times.

All Grossmont Hills League teams will host junior varsity meets virtually.

Granite Hills is scheduled to host West Hills in an in-person meet to start the season.

Granite Hills head coach Cathy Elgas said with last sea­son being curtailed after just one to two meets that coaches are still catching up on the com­petition.

“All teams have a couple good swimmers,” Elgas said. “I just know Granite will do well; we have top swimmers and depth. We have the same returning top swimmers as we had last year.”

The top three returners on the girls team include Erin Kluge, Izzy Cox and Rachel Sapper along with a talented group of freshmen.

Top boys include returners Aidan Keane and Riley Thomp­son and quick freshman Braden Felio.

“Aidan is a sophomore on track to break a couple of school records this year,” Elgas noted. Safety net

Safety protocols in place, as is­sued by the San Diego Section in conjunction with national, state and local health officials, are nu­merous and strict and apply to both meets and practices.

  • All coaches, student-ath­letes and game officials will be screened prior to each practice of contest for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to participat­ing.
  • Teams traveling for a contest should screen their student-athletes prior to boarding trans­portation to the event and again upon arrival at the event site. The home site is not responsible for screen visiting athletes and coaches.
  • Any person with positive symptoms should not be allowed to participate, should self-iso­late and contact their primary care provider or other health-care professional.

Safety protocols issued by the section apply to all Season 1 sports, not just swimming.

Hygiene protocols, when prac­tical, should include handwash­ing/sanitization stations avail­able for all student-athletes, coaches, officials and spectators at all times.

Frequently used items and surfaces (chairs, furniture in meeting rooms, weight room equipment, bathrooms and ath­letic training room tables) are to be disinfected on a daily basis.

Everyone entering campus sites must use face coverings at all times.

Additionally, all student-ath­letes, coaches, officials and spec­tators must bring their own wa­ter bottles. Water bottles must not be shared; food should not be shared.

Safety protocols extend even after an event is completed.

Specifically, in regard to swimming and diving, student-athletes should arrive at fa­cilities prepared for practice in proper attire with minimal per­sonal belongings as locker room storage may be restricted. Ath­letes should plan on leaving the facility in their suits, showering and washing clothing upon ar­rival at home.

All individuals not actively participating in athletic activi­ties must wear face coverings. This includes coaches, athletes and volunteers.

All individuals should be so­cially distanced to the furthest extent possible.

Athletes should be spaced out in the pool to ensure social dis­tancing at all times. It is recom­mended that no more than four athletes share a lane at a time, alternating two athletes at one end. There should never be more than two athletes stopped at the wall in the same lane. This applies during practice, meet warmups and during a meet.

Those in attendance on the pool deck should be limited to essential volunteers, main coaches and meet participants unless other arrangements have been made that abide by all school, district, CIFSDS and facility guidelines.

It is suggested that teams use athletes not participating in the meet as timers to limit the expo­sure to individuals not regularly around the team.

Because of social distancing protocols, celebrating will take on a twist. No high-fives and group cheers are allowed be­tween participants.


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