The swimming and diving team is reentering the pool just as Santa Clara County enters the red COVID-19 tier. With 65 students combined across the varsity and junior varsity teams, these athletes are practicing diligently, with varsity athletes in the pool nine times a week, junior Audrey Teo said.
“We have practice for an hour before school on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, and we have two, hour-long practices right after school as well as on Saturday morning,” Teo said.
The team has three training groups, two for varsity and one for junior varsity, where the boys and girls on each team practice together. Within varsity, there are Varsity A girls and Varsity A boys in one group, and Varsity B girls and Varsity B boys in another group. The JV boys and girls practice in the final group. The athletic department continues to implement changes to the practice schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions, though practices already differ from those before the pandemic began.
“Obviously you can’t swim with masks on, so we make sure to social distance when we’re on the pool deck, and we wear our masks when we are outside of the pool,” Teo said. “When we are inside the water, we make sure to limit it to two swimmers per lane who start on opposite sides of the pool to decrease close contact.”
On the week of March 22, the swim team plans to attend a virtual swim meet, where schools would send in swim times to compete.
“It’s not too hard to practice swimming during COVID, as we can still use the same equipment, we just have to be more spaced out,” varsity team captain Hana Erickson said.
On Feb. 10, a swimmer tested positive for COVID-19 and all of this person’s close contacts quarantined and got tested. It turned out, though, the swimmer had received a false positive test. Many of the other swimmers quarantined for 10 days just to be safe.
Despite the rough patches, the swim team is still managing to communicate with each other and maintain their Paly team spirit.
“Being spaced out has made it hard to get to know everyone on the team, however, I’ve come to know and become close to the girls on my side of the pool because it’s a smaller group of us,” Erickson said. “We still find a way to make the most of the situation and during practice, we have plenty of spirit.”