Burlingame swim team dives into COVID-19-adjusted season

Junior+Lodo+Platerink+swims+onward+during+his+freestyle+laps+at+practice.

Mattingly Germack

Junior Lodo Platerink swims onward during his freestyle laps at practice.

Mattingly Germack, Staff Reporter

The Burlingame High School swim team’s season will begin on February 19th, and it will be a season like no other in the school’s history.

The CIF has allowed swim to start early, as it is a distanced sport by nature and studies have shown COVID-19 cannot travel in chlorinated water. The biggest change for swimmers this year is the introduction of virtual meets. Each school will swim in their own pool in order to reduce the amount of contact between swimmers. Teams will record their times and then compare them after the meet. Despite all meets technically being home meets, they will still have home and away designations. The first meet will be at “home” against Aragon High School on Feb. 19.

While this change has complicated the logistics of the sport, swimmers are not giving it too much thought. 

“I’m just happy we were able to find a way to still have a season,” junior Andrea Chu-Tam said.

Practices also look very different than they have in the past. The 50 swimmers from the junior varsity and varsity teams are divided into three pods, which each practice at different times after school. All swimmers were required to pass a COVID-19 test at the beginning of the year, and are subject to temperature checks at all practices and meets. They must also wear masks and remain socially distanced while not in the pool.

Swimmers who are also members of club teams were forced to choose between their club teams and the school team to make the pods more efficient. 

“I’ve been swimming through quarantine, so I thought it would make sense to stay in the same pod,” freshman William Walz, who opted to stick to club swim, said.

 

Because of swimmers opting out and a lack of signups from newcomers, there may not be a JV boys team this year. 

“Usually we would be close to 12 boys on the varsity team, and there are only 15 boys [in total], so we may just have varsity,” head swim coach Jonathan Dhyne said.

Despite the circumstances, Dhyne and the rest of the coaching staff have remained focused on the task at hand. 

“It’s important for [the team] to improve [their] skills, but I think it’s also important for them to start rebuilding the community that comes with in-person athletics,” Dhyne said.