Some Suburban Council swimmers and divers will have to wait a while to find out exactly where they placed in meets conducted this fall season.
That’s part of the trade-off for having virtual meets, where one team competes in its home pool and another competes in their pool, and times, scores and team totals are later compared and tabulated electronically.
“If we have to compromise some of the fun of a meet to have a season, it’s totally worth it,” Section II girls’ swimming and diving coordinator Kim Murray said.
The Suburban Council is the lone league in Section II that will conduct girls’ swimming and diving meets this fall, and virtual meets will be the norm due to COVID-19 safety protocols provided by the New York State Department of Health.
A social distance of six feet between the athletes involved is among them, and many Suburban Council schools cannot accommodate that at their pools even if the teams are located on opposite sides as required.
“There are a lot of older pools,” Murray said. “It’s a space issue. There is not enough space.”
Aside from having fewer people on deck, virtual meets will also reduce the cost of team travel and eliminate coronavirus-spread potential.
Some teams, including 2019 Section II Division 1 champion Bethlehem, will conduct all of their meets virtually.
“This is 100% worth it if it gets the girls in the water, and we can recognize the seniors,” Murray said.
No fans will be allowed at swim meets this season.
“There has been talk of live-streaming meets. Others have mentioned holding senior-night activities outside,” Murray said. “Everything is forcing us to think outside the box.”
At all meets, participating athletes must wear masks when on deck, but not while competing. In-person meets will include three officials, and virtual meets will include one official at each location. That official and a school’s diving coach will act as the diving competition judges.