Swimming Through the Pandemic: the Oakdale High School 2020 Swim Season


Nicholas Moyer

Swimmers on the Oakdale High School 2019 Swim Team pose in front of UMAC pool.

Emily Hartz

As return to play has been implemented in Frederick County Public Schools, FCPS has started to allow sports teams to practice using their facilities as of October seventh.


This year’s swim season is planned to be about four weeks long and much different from last year’s swim season.


Hayley Ross, an OHS senior, has been on the team for what will be her fourth year. 


When asked about the changes she’d noticed between this and last year’s season so far, she responded, “Well, I think one big difference for me is aside from our girl’s head coach, our coaching staff is completely new this year. This means that we’re experimenting with new training and different styles of coaching, which is all really fun. On a personal note, as a senior I definitely feel like this year compared to last, I’m trying to enjoy every moment even more sense it’s my last year with the team.”


As for changes related to the COVID-19 and return to play rules, Taylor was very informative when questioned about the guidelines that had been out for swimmers to follow. 


“Obviously everyone must be in masks when they’re not in the pool or on the blocks about to dive in. We are also socially distanced while not swimming, meaning we’re setting our stuff and standing on the pool deck six feet apart,” She replied.  “Although we haven’t started competitions, I believe meets are also going to limit the number of swimmers.”


“We had about a month of return to play practices, which I though went pretty smoothly, although it definitely took some adjustment to the new guidelines,” Ross informed when asked about the practice that the team had hosted for the season thus far. 


“As far as in-season practices, we’ve just finished 4 practices, each of which contained a different group which was there to try-out. Our official practices really start next week, when we have final roster. I’m really excited to get to meet all the new swimmers this year and for a great season!” 


Lucas Alves is a first year boys swim coach for the Oakdale High School swim team. Alves informed that they had held around ten practices so far in the season. When asked about how they went he replied, “Due to COVID, it was an interesting challenge but the coaches and student-athletes did a great job adhering to the guidelines to have a successful season. Sorting pods, timing out when to change, how to change, getting into the water, practicing and rotating was rocky at first but after the first week, it boiled down to managing our time correctly. Our first official practice in the water was great. We had enough time to check in, change and practice. We got in 3,500 yards in an hour and a half. A strong success with the restrictions we have.”


Alves also identified more guidelines for future meets. “30 kids from each team (on the deck). We have to count officials, counters and swimmers on deck to make sure we don’t go over the required COVID numbers. Other swimmers will be seated up in the stands and parents are not allowed to watch unless they are timers or officials.”


This season will be a difficult obstacle for everyone involved, but coaches and swimmers alike are working to make this season as enjoyable and safe as possible.