Return to the Natatorium
Ensworth Aquatics swimmers of all ages will return to the pool this coming Tuesday, and we cannot wait to have all them back! While we have been fortunate to still be able to serve our high school-age athletes throughout this hiatus, it is too quiet in the building in the early evenings. Not enough voices. Not enough splashing. And certainly not enough smiles!
Many schools, Ensworth included, are now running classes on campus and in person. On the Ensworth campus, the in-class experience is markedly different than in years past, but the enthusiasm and appreciation of students, faculty, staff, coaches, and parents for being able to gather together every day is palpable.
It is very similar to our experience as a team this past June and, I believe, what we will all feel next week when everyone can dive back into the water: An appreciation for being able to gather and pursue collective and individual goals as a part of a community. It is also important to remember that we must continue operating the way we did prior to the break:
- The COVID questionnaire must be completed prior to arriving on campus for each and every practice. Click here to view and bookmark the questionnaire.
- Masks must be worn beginning when athletes get out of their car and must be worn following practice when they return to their car
- Athletes are expected to practice social distancing while entering and exiting the Natatorium and, naturally, during practice
- Athletes should not arrive more than 10 minutes prior to the start of their practice
- Parents are expected to pick up their children immediately following the conclusion of their practice
- No visitors/parents are allowed in the Natatorium
- Locker rooms remain closed except for high school athletes coming to practice at 4 p.m (Senior, Senior 1 groups) either from Ensworth or other schools. High school athletes using the locker room MUST: change at only designated spaces (E stickers mark those spaces); wear masks in the locker room; use the locker room for changing only, not for showering (water to the showers will be turned off), socializing, or congregating.
- Athletes need to bring water bottles to every single practice. They can fill up their bottles at the bottle filling station in the west lobby
We will continue limiting the number of athletes in a lane to no more than 4, which also means we must continue with the practice schedule we had run prior to this break.
There is no telling how long these protocols will be in place. It is important to keep in mind that our protocols flow directly from those put into place for the Ensworth School, with particular modifications made for the Natatorium pursuant to Metro’s COVID guidelines. So long as masks are required for students, faculty, and staff on our campus, they will be required of all Ensworth Aquatics members.
The good news is we had a very successful 10 weeks of swimming by following these protocols beginning June 1. We ran a successful intrasquad meet. We have done all of this and stayed, by and large, very healthy with nothing to suggest that coming to swim practice poses a heightened risk of coronavirus exposure.
We look forward to seeing everyone back next week, masks on (until we swim!), and ready to get better. Tuesday will certainly be a beautiful day to swim!
Racing This Season
A tentative meet schedule is now in place on our home page. The reality right now is that we don’t know when we will be able to host meets with other competitors present or when traveling to away meets will become a viable option. However, it is important to know when we intend to race.
We do know that quite a few teams would be interested in competing at our home meets once we are able to welcome outside teams to our Natatorium. We are also in conversation with other teams to arrange potential virtual dual meets. The uncertainty makes planning a bit more challenging, so we ask that everyone continue to be open and adaptive through this racing season.
As you will see below, the High School State Championship in Tennessee has been moved. There are also discussions at the USA Swimming level about the Junior National Championships in December and whether to host several smaller championship meets and combine them virtually. Just like us, organizations of all sizes are continuing to change plans to adapt to the present circumstances.
We did place the travel meet to Baylor on the schedule. However, there is no guarantee that we will be able to go. If not, we have a meet bid in for the same weekend. We placed our Holiday Classic back on the schedule. That was a great meet last year, and we were poised to be ready to invite even more teams this time around.
Just like we did this summer, the coaches will work with your athletes with the intention of preparing them to race at their best, whether it is at home with no other teams, at a home invite with some other teams, in a virtual meet, or out of town.
High School Swimming & Diving
The 2020-2021 High School Swimming and Diving State Championship is now scheduled to be held on April 23-24 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. TISCA, the organization that oversees Swimming and Diving, has also provided two contingency plans should circumstances prevent the ability to hold a traditional, large State Championship:
1. Move the meet from a two-day format to a four-day format, with two days of girls' competition and two days of the boys' competition.
2. Host regional meets at sites to be determined and compile the results into a virtual State Championship
Regardless of which option is possible, the meet will now take place two and a half months later than its traditional early February date. There were a couple of reasons for this date change: The University of Tennessee’s pool is not available in early February or early March, and teams in several areas of the state are still not permitted to get in the water and there was a desire to ensure athletes had adequate time to train.
April is seven months away. Seven months ago (January 20) the first case of COVID was confirmed in the United States. Suffice to say, a whole lot can change in just seven months. However, the April 23-24 time frame provides a specific reference point to both allow coaches to plan their preparation of athletes for the Championship and for athletes to have the opportunity to visualize and be inspired by the prospect of getting to have a State Championship experience.
The late April time frame also allows for a sole focus on the Southeastern Championship in February (assuming they go forward) with plenty of time for high school swimmers to begin training again in earnest with an opportunity to rest for the State Championship.
A Swim Meet Like No Other
No parents or spectators. Masks. Taped “X’s” all over the pool...
Our August 15 swim meet was like no other we have ever hosted or any of us has ever been to. Like so many aspects of our lives for the last seven months, it was truly different. But similar to the way that many of us have discovered silver linings this year, there were some very visible ones at our Intrasquad Meet.
Live Streaming a swim meet is EASY! This should have been so obvious, but we had never really considered doing it because we didn’t feel we needed to. Now we know we can easily live stream with quality equipment for any competition we host. Look for this to be a feature of all of our future meets.
Your children always need your support, but they don’t need you to take care of them at swim meets! As parents, it is easy to feel we need to make sure our kids are where they need to be when they need to be there, but kids of all ages managed to make their way to the blocks for their races on their own. They were able to deal with the thrills of great swims and the disappointment of poor ones with just their teammates and coaches in the building. They were able to manage to keep track of towels, goggles, sweatshirts, and masks all on their own. In short, they proved that they can do it on their own, giving parents the freedom to just be parents at swim meets by being there to volunteer, cheer, and encourage, not to coddle or coach.
our athletes can swim FAST even without the benefit of racing competitors from other teams. We saw scores of best times across all ages and all group levels on the team. Whether or not our near-future swim meets include other teams, we do know that with the training, enthusiasm, support, and effort each of our swimmers will be able to make the most of this coming season!
As we anticipate our competition opportunities, it is a wonderful time for parents to get involved and start the online training to become an official.
While we have hosted one sanctioned meet since June 1, we know we will likely need to host many, if not all, meets we compete in for the rest of the year. We also know that WE NEED OFFICIALS! One benefit to becoming an official this year is that, if our meets are limited to just our team for a while to come, the sessions you will be required to train during will be SHORTER than most normal meets! And with the limitations in place on parents / visitors during competitions you will be one of the few to be on deck (hopefully this changes soon because we want our cheering parents back!).
If you have ever considered becoming an official, now is the perfect time to take the first steps. The future is certainly uncertain, but your kids will race! It may truly be up to you whether we have the ability to provide the sanctioned racing opportunities your kids will be training for.
Please check out what it takes to become an official by clicking on this link.
Ensworth Aquatics Team Sponsor
Ensworth Aquatics is officially an Arena sponsored team.
The team’s sponsorship agreement with Speedo expired at the end of July. After exploring what is best for the team as a whole, Ensworth Aquatics has decided that a relationship with Arena is in the team’s long term best interests.
Part of our sponsorship agreement includes ensuring that our team is outfitted in Arena suits for both training and competition. Team suits and warm-ups have already been selected and can be found at our Team Store.
Because many families are already outfitted in Speedo gear, the only thing everyone must purchase is the Team Training suit. We do ask that if/when you decide you need a new backpack to please be sure to purchase an Arena backpack. Part of our sponsorship agreement includes having the team outfitted in Arena bags, but the company is understanding that many families already have backpacks
The Speedo sponsorship primarily benefited only our Junior National level and higher athletes, providing them with free warm-ups, late model tech suits (or current model at discount), and backpacks. There were also discounts for tech suits for the team as a whole, but the benefit of the arrangement was largely for only the highest level athletes and was limited to the equipment that Speedo decided to provide that year.
Arena’s arrangement offers much more choice for the club, versus limiting our choices to the sponsor’s pre-selected gear. With Arena, the team receives credit in “Arena Bucks” of $0.20 on the dollar for every dollar spent on Arena gear, ranging from suits to backpacks to warm-ups to parkas, etc. In the first year, Arena will automatically credit the team $8,000 in “Arena Bucks” prior to any purchases by team members. The Arena Bucks give our team the freedom to decide not only what we want to purchase for athletes for a given meet (generally Sectional level meets and higher), but also how many athletes we can support regardless of whether they have a Junior National, National, or Olympic Trials time standard.
Birthday Shout Outs
Here are upcoming birthdays for athletes through September 2020. To all these amazing athletes, Ensworth Aquatics wishes each of you a happy birthday!
September 1 - Camden Reuthe
September 2 - Leo Huneycutt
September 2 - Brady Huneycutt
September 5 - Katherine Mize
September 5 - Slayden Powers
September 8 - Lizzie Dye
September 11 - Hannah Jyawook
September 12 - Hannah Friedrich
September 15 - Hudson Simmons
September 16 - Megan Horne
September 16 - Elliott Lyell
September 16 - Molly Fentress
September 17 - Jacob Jominy
September 29 - Holden Call
If you have not already joined your swimmers' GroupMe, please consider doing so. Parents, coaches, and staff use GroupMe to communicate last-minute updates, traffic issues, practice changes, lost and found, carpooling, and much more. Each practice group has its own group text, and we believe if you ask any returning team members, they will confirm that GroupMe is an invaluable communication tool as it enables them to ask specific questions and plan activities particular to their practice group. Use this link to download the GroupMe app.
Click on the links below to connect with your swimmer's practice group and parent reps:
If you are interested in becoming a Parent Representative for your child's training group, please email Naomi Kitahara.
Team Website & OnDeck
We are confident that everyone on our team has visited our team website by now, but beyond registration, it serves as the primary information tool for our team. Through our website, parents and athletes will commit to competitions, enter events, sign up to volunteer, access newsletters, review practice schedules, much more. Be sure to "Sign In" to the website to view all content. Go ahead and visit www.ensworthaquatics.com and bookmark it!
OnDeck is TeamUnify's supporting app that allows our staff to communicate through our website directly to team members' mobile devices. OnDeck also presents our website content to users with improved mobile device usability. What this means is you can enter into swim meets and signup to volunteer more easily on your mobile devices. Use this link to download OnDeck.
Ensworth Aquatics is on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Click on the icons below to connect with us through social media.