SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Nearly 300 swimmers from across South Dakota are taking part in their state meet at the Midco Aquatic Center. This year’s meet has been split into two groups because of the pandemic. Swimmers 13 and older are competing in Sioux Falls this weekend. Swimmers 12 and under will compete next week in Mitchell.
South Dakota swimmers are diving into uncharted waters during the pandemic.
“The water, you don’t have to wear a mask and you don’t have to worry about being socially-distanced from other people. I just feel better in the water,” Sioux Falls Swim Team member Brad Infield said.
The pandemic has limited practices and competitions for many of the teams. So this state meet, hosted by the Sioux Falls Swim Team, is an important showcase to close out the season.
“And this year, I think it’s exciting that we get to have it at all. It does present some challenges, but we’re excited that everyone’s here and we’re excited for a good weekend,” Sioux Falls Swim Team Coach Kyle Margheim said.
In order to keep everyone safe, swimmers are required to mask up whenever they’re out of the water. And there are limits to the number of fans who can attend.
Instead of bunching-up behind the blocks waiting to jump into the water, the swimmers instead have to wait patiently along the side of the pool in a staging area to promote social distancing.
“Lining up by the side, it’s very different to like know when you should go up and different things like that, so it’s been very different from having to just wait behind the blocks,” Infield said.
Yet swimming has an advantage over other sports during the pandemic because of the chlorinated pool.
“The chlorine in the water helps protect the swimmers while they’re in there. That’s what the chlorine is for, is to help kill germs and viruses,” Margheim said.
While the coronavirus has been a disruption to their season, the resilient swimmers competing in this state meet have learned to go with the flow
The state swim meet runs through Sunday.
Because seating is limited to one guest per swimmer, you can watch the action on the Sioux Falls Swim Team’s YouTube channel.