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June 23, 2020 - Message to Our Membership from the General Chair - 6/23/20

Message to Our Membership from the General Chair

Dear Pacific Swimming Community Members,

I would like to update you on developments since my last message to you on May 1st.

As a community, we are processing and responding to major global and local forces; the COVID-19 pandemic and the public mourning and protest against anti-Black racism. These events are significant in the lives of our membership and I will speak to both below.

After what seems like “forever”, our athletes are beginning to return to the water. Progress is slow and depends on the county where you reside, but every time a team is allowed to return to the water, it makes it easier for the rest of our teams to follow. The recommendation from USA-Swimming is to consider our athletes to be 100% deconditioned. The goal for reentry is to begin the reconditioning process. I have heard some rumors of sore muscles so do not be discouraged. Look forward to enjoying the company of your teammates but maintain social distancing for now.

While we continue to advocate for all of our athletes to be able to return to the water, we have also started planning for how best to keep our swimmers in the water when the second wave arrives. CDC has stated that there is no evidence that coronavirus can spread via chlorinated water and that outdoor activities are much safer than indoor activities. Our best chance to keep our swimmers in the water is to document that our teams and swimmers are responsibly following all public health guidelines. So, when you return to the water, we are strongly urging clubs, swimmers, and parents to:

  • Establish and follow a plan based on public health guidelines and USA-Swimming recommendations
  • Follow the requirements of the facility where you are practicing.
  • Keep daily rosters of swimmers attending practice.
  • Parents maintain social distancing and wear masks while dropping off and picking up your children.

This remains a scary time. Our Public Health Officers are very concerned that there will be a second wave of COVID-19 infection at some point. As states reopen and the case count begins climbing again, some will say that the second wave is already here. It is normal to want to go back to celebrating life, but this is not the time to let down your guard. I urge you to continue to follow the recommendations of your Health Officers designed to keep you and your families as safe. USA Swimming COVID-19 resources can be found here.

This is also an unprecedented time in the social justice movement as we process the loss of the lives of Black Americans as a consequence of police brutality and racism. Our swimmers and families have been directly and indirectly impacted by these ongoing events. I hope that everyone has had a chance to read the letter our Athlete Committee posted to the Pacific Website. It is an inspiring letter and it concludes with a direct challenge aimed at our comfort zone. They have challenged us to join with them in their efforts to be uncomfortable, to push our limits, to acknowledge how we may be part of the problem and to do better.

Pacific Swimming is a leader in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion movement of USA Swimming but we need to look inward to assess how we are really doing and where we need to do more. This is the time for Pacific Swimming to come together to support social justice and equality and do its part to help make our communities a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Black Lives Matter.

  • Support the Black Lives Matter movement
  • Remove barriers to entry and increase inclusion
  • Provide access and opportunities
  • Create a conscious community

The sport of swimming has made many positive contributions in the lives our athletes. Now is the time for us to expand our efforts to make the benefits, resources, and support of our organization more readily available to others in our community so that swimming can truly be a sport for all.

Best wishes,

David Cottam, General Chair, Pacific Swimming

P.S.  Writing this letter has been quite a learning experience for me. I acknowledge that I began this letter with a fundamental misunderstanding of what was meant by “Black Lives Matter”. I am grateful to those who provided me with an explanation and offered feedback and content to include in this letter. To encourage members to become more educated about what “Black Lives Matter” means and does not mean, I have directed that the information provided to me be posted to our Pacific Swimming Website and included in this communication.

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