The University of Louisville is among the first schools in the country to resume on-campus practices with its swimming & diving team after the NCAA cleared Division I programs to resume in-person physical training on June 1.
15 swimmers are among a group of Louisville student-athletes who returned to campus that included football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball. All student-athletes were administered a test for coronavirus via driveup tests at Cardinal Stadium on Wednesday.
In total, over 120 student-athletes, coaches, and staffs were tested, with physical examinations taking place on Thursday and voluntary training, not directed by coaching staffs, beginning on June 8.
Four UofL facilities — the Schnellenberger Football Complex, Trager Center, Planet Fitness Kueber Center and Ralph Wright Natatorium — are open with limited occupancy during the first phase.
“I’m very grateful that our department’s been on top of things,” said Louisville head swimming and diving coach Arthur Albiero. “I think it’s great that you know from a safety standpoint as a parent, who has children on the team as members of our athletic program. It’s very reassuring. And certainly as a coach, who is responsible for a multitude of people, to know that we’re on top of things.”
Both the Louisville men and Louisville women placed 3rd at last year’s ACC Championship meets.
UofL Athletics administrators and health officials had planned a phased return to campus over the last several weeks, with goals to:
- Provide a phased progression into athletic activity to promote mental and physical well-being;
- Provide a phased approach of opening and use of athletic facilities;
- Provide a safe environment that allows student athletes to transition into supervised activity to improve their strength and conditioning;
- Implement and adhere to operational guidelines to minimize the risk of virus transmission among student-athletes and staff; and
- Create an environment that generates a change in personal hygiene practices so that best practices are being used in individual life.
The school will employ an “abundance of operational measures” to protect athletes and staff from a spread of the coronavirus. That includes wearing masks, using designated entrances and exits, and daily symptom checks.
The school is using Phase 1 of the reopening, with limited returns to campus athletics facilities, to evaluate their protocols. If “all proceeds well,” the school says that on June 15 they will welcome back 30 football and 60 Olympic sport student-athletes. That group would then undergo the same testing protocol and begin voluntary physical activity on June 22.
In the 3rd phase of the plan, the remaining football student-athletes would be welcomed back on July 7th, preparing for voluntary physical activity on July 13. Up to 60 additional student-athletes could be included in this phase as well.
By the fourth phase, scheduled for August 4th, all student-athletes would be allowed to return to activities with full practices, scrimmages, and competitions as allowed by NCAA or ACC guidelines. All athletics facilities would be open by that time.
The four sports chosen to return early were selected because they have self-contained facilities, which allows for better control and distancing, with a focus on fall sports.
Louisville is scheduled to start its fall semester as planned on August 17.
The NCAA is allowing all Division I sports to resume voluntary physical activity on June 1. These activities are allowing no on-field coaches, but strength staff members and swim coaches can supervise for safety purposes.
Many universities are beginning the return of their student-athletes to campus with a focus on fall sports, as they will be the first to resume competition as well. A handful of other schools have reported that in-water voluntary physical workouts will resume next week, including Texas A&M, which has plans to resume practice on June 8 as well. Alternatively, schools like North Carolina don’t presume to return many of their athletes to campus, including swimmers, until August 3.
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