CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The WVSSAC has reduced the West Virginia high school state swim championship meet from two days to one for this year.
As we reported earlier in the week, this is due to concerns over potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, according to the WVSSAC.
Area swimmers, however, are unhappy with the decision to reduce their premier swim event of the season, especially when the state wrestling tournament has been spread out over multiple days.
One area swimmer even mentioned how one alternative to the normal layout of the state swim meet has already been done at the collegiate level.
“You’d have it where you swim all your individual (events) in prelims, and then timed-final relays, which would be copy catting what the NCAA did,” said Bridgeport’s Randy Keener. “The NCAA had the timed-final relays, and then individually you swam prelim (and) finals, all in one day, which I think, personally, in a year like this if they’re saying you can have it one day, that’d be the way to do it.”
With the state swim championship meet being reduced, there won’t be a preliminary round this year.
Swimmers are likely to be seeded to championship races based on their times at the Regional meets, which will be held this weekend.
This doesn’t severely impact the state’s top swimmers, like Keener and others, but it does affect other swimmers who were hoping to show they’ve got what it takes to go toe to toe with the best prep swimmers in West Virginia.
“I am in a very fortunate place to be seeded top two, top three. But there’s other kids that are fighting for that top seed, or that final heat, to swim their best at states, to get a chance to swim against the fastest kids in the state,” said Robert C. Byrd’s Patrick Fubio. “It does place a little more weight on our shoulders at Regionals.”
The change in the state swim format also takes away from the true experience for all swimmers, especially the younger swimmers.
It might also affect team scoring opportunities, moreso than individual events.
“Without prelims you don’t get the full opportunity to maybe even do better than you did at regionals,” said RCB freshman, Kaden Meighen. “But I’m still excited that (the state swim meet) can happen, and we have a chance to go and do well.”
All three swimmers we spoke with said they were happy the state swim meet is happening, regardless of the changes.
But there’s no denying the reduced schedule and format will impact the results one way or another.
The state swim championship meet will be held on Tuesday, April 20 at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park in Morgantown.