I hope this note finds you healthy and safe! I wanted to bring you up to speed on how our season ended and how our swim & dive family is responding to the challenges and opportunities presented to us by COVID-19.
First update: Giving Day
was a ROARING success for our program, department, and university. I have a stack of thankyou cards that the team was going to write after Spring Break/NIC together, which thanks to COVID-19 we won’t be able to do as a team... instead I will be writing those and sending those out from my home. Thank you for your patience and understanding..I know our thank you is pretty belated by now but hope you know how grateful we are.
Swimming & Diving Updates:
Horizon League Championships was the most exciting and fun meet I’ve EVER had the opportunity to be a part of. We will be sending a newsletter focused SOLELY on HLC next week. Post HLC, we took a few days off so the team could rest, recover, and focus on the schoolwork they missed. We then turned our attention to the CSCAA NIC Meet. We were hosting the meet for the second year in a row. We had 20 swimmers entered in the meet! What is the NIC Meet? Think NIT for basketball but for swimming. We all know swimming is truly a year round sport and the purpose of the meet is to have another racing opportunity that is FUN…to keep kids swimming through March who aren’t just going to NCAA.
The purpose of this email isn’t about swimming. It’s about the reality of life, the world we are living in, and the lessons we are all trying to learn.
- I am INCREDIBLY proud of Ohio, CSU, our athletic department, and our conference. The country is turning to us to watch how we are responding to COVID-19 thanks to our governor, the actions taken by universities, as well as the world class care provided by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital.
- I am incredibly THANKFUL for everyone that worked to put the NIC meet on. We have the BEST officials and meet crew (some of whom are alumni and reading this right now J). Our entire athletic department was hands on pre-COVID. The meet was set to be swum Thursday through Saturday with a Long Course Meet on Sunday for kids to potentially qualify for Olympic Trials. The decision was made on Thursday that the meet would be cancelled. Numerous teams pulled out from prelims and were heading home. Those who stayed to compete signed up for time trials to race other events after finals. I truly believe there is no other university, athletic department, or meet officials that could have calmly and elegantly managed that chaos! The meet was closed to spectators and that also meant closed to outside people to time the meet. Again, I am thankful for my CSU colleagues that stepped up to time, and to our ticketing folks who were able to issue reimbursements to spectators. Our lifeguards and custodians worked tirelessly to keep the facility clean.
So where am I going with this? I watched swim coaches yell at our officials for not following the 20 minute break that was communicated in the meet information. I watched athletes cry after their races. I felt tenseness coming off of other coaches and athletes about SWIMMING. I turned to my swimmers and said to them: Swimming is not life or death. I have tried to teach the lesson of going with the flow of chaos. Nothing really ever goes as we plan. We talk a lot about learning to live in the moment and take advantage of opportunities when we have them. I believe swimming is a gift and every moment we can either improve or learn. We had fun as a team and staff on that deck. We knew the NCAA Championship was going to be cancelled and we knew spring sports were cancelled as well. We as a staff do not believe that one race, practice, or meet defines us. That is why our Vikings are able to be resilient and bounce back after a bad race, practice, or meet.
I have FULL confidence in my ability and our staff’s ability to get our Vikes back in swimming shape. But right now, swimming isn’t the focus. Keeping our friends and family members healthy and safe by social distancing is. The kids NEED to stay on top of their grades and schoolwork. They are all learning remotely through the remainder of the semester. It is sad that commencement is cancelled. I do feel bad for our spring athletes/coaches and for our seniors. However, my hope is that we all come together and focus on the priorities: health, wellness, and being there for our friends and family through whatever they are struggling with.
So you may ask, what are we doing right now? We have split the team into thirds and are developing ways to have academic accountability buddies, ways to be active together but remotely, health and wellness checks, and ways to be social together. We have said that we are #OneTeamOneFamily all season and we are working actively to be that team and family.
So my question for you: How are YOU? How is your family? Can we take this time to connect you and I?
I love phone calls, facetime/skype. I call a few of my athletes every day just to check in. Let’s set up a call you and I! Email me back or feel free to text my cellphone or just randomly call me.
We are truly #OneTeamOneFamily and we are #VikingStrong
Be well my friends,