Despite statewide COVID-19 restrictions, the Oneonta boys swimming and diving team is still successfully competing this year.
Oneonta is competing virtually this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On meet nights, home and away teams swim at their own pools. Coaches then submit event scores to the home team’s coach who is responsible for tabulating event and meet winners.
“The atmosphere itself it’s so quiet. It’s just a little eerie. It’s just bizarre to be having a swim meet and these kids are competing and it’s just like silence,” Oneonta Head Coach Teresa Patry said. “It’s a little strange.”
Oneonta’s team, which usually has 15 or more athletes, is down to just nine members this year after several players decided to sit out because of COVID-19.
“(It’s) a little difficult because at least competitively the boys on the team, it’s not always easy to to get in a pool and swim by yourself,” Patry said.
“A lot of times they find themselves in the pool alone and all they really have is the clock to race against, so its been challenging for them,” she continued.
Even with virtual meets, teams must adhere to COVID-19 protocols, including social distancing and mask-wearing practices.
“Once they’re basically about to step into the water, physically enter the water, they can remove their masks to enter into the water,” Patry said.
Team practices are also socially distant. Players are spaced around the pool six feet apart splitting the team into two.
Still, relays present a unique challenge. For each relay, swimmers line-up and enter the pool in succession, challenging social distancing practices.
“That’s probably the No. 1 thing that we had to try to work around — try to figure out how to make that safe,” Patry said.
Recently, Section IV announced that this year’s sectional meet will also be virtual. Oneonta is one of eight Class B schools in Section IV that will compete at the same time and input their scores live for winners to be determined.
Patry said she hopes that the sectionals meet will at least bring back the feel of a live meet.
On Feb. 11, the team defeated Susquehanna Valley, 97-54, to push its record to 2-4.
“They’re so excited. I think they’re just excited to be there and be active again,” Patry said. “Just have the opportunity to be active (and) represent their school.”
Oneonta’s next meet will be versus Greene on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 10 a.m. Spectators will not be permitted, but the event will be streamed on YouTube.
Oneonta 97 - Susquehanna Valley 54
at Oneonta (virtual)
Top Oneonta finishers:
200 medley relay: 1, Eli House, Max Madej, Ian House, Stephen Baker, 2:03.65.
200 freestyle: 1, Henry Wolff, 2:31.51.
200 individual medley: 1, Ian House, 2:25.77.
50 freestyle 1st Place- Eli House, 24.74.
Diving: 1, Stephen Baker 184.05.
100 butterfly: 1, Stephen Baker 1:27.59
100 freestyle: 1, Eli House 55.86.
500 freestyle: 2, Henry Wolff, 6:37.79.
200 freestyle relay: 2, Max Madej, Cyrus Wightman, Louis Bonnici, Stephen Baker, 2:04.
100 backstroke: 1, Bastian Dudley, 1:15.96.
100 breaststroke: 1, Ian House, 1:10.50.
400 freestyle relay: 1, Eli House, Henry Wolff, Bastian Dudley, Ian House, 4:17.79.