Swim season must end by Nov. 21, and Fairbanks high schools have not seen any competition

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 7:45 PM AKDT
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The Alaska School Activities Association, the regulating body for high school sports in the state, gave a November 21 deadline as the final day fall sports may compete. With that decision from a mid-October board meeting, ASAA also canceled all fall sports state championships. In that time, fall sports such as cross country running, tennis, football and flag football have all completed their seasons within the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, while the volleyball season is set to conclude on November 14.

The lone fall sport sans competition is swimming and ASAA’s deadline applies to that sport as well. Most sports compete on the campus of their school, whether it is their gymnasium or field. However for swimming, it relies on facilities off-campus.

“There’s definitely been some challenges around some maintenance issues with a couple of the pools we normally utilize," said Assistant Superintendent of the school District Luke Meinert. "[We are] just making sure we have Covid mitigation plans in place that both the district was comfortable with and our partners were comfortable with. It is a little bit different when you’re relying on outside facilities to do your sports so you wanna make sure everything’s dotted and crossed and you’re good to go there.”

As the deadline is about three weeks away from publishing, there is little time remaining for student-athletes to hit the pool. The school district does have a tentative plan to create some form of competition before the Region VI championships, which are scheduled for November 14 in Valdez.

“Right now, we are looking to put together some time trial events together for schools," Meinert said. “We have been working closely with the borough on mitigation efforts and we’re looking to try and get at least two time trial events in for our teams prior to a regional event that is going to be hosted down in Valdez. We would compare times and have standings based on those times."

In the meantime, most schools have been practicing, if they get the opportunity. The Patty Center Pool on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, where some schools practice, has been closed over recent weeks, also playing a factor in the delay of scheduling a season.

Details on when and where the time trials may take place are still being worked out. For now, the Region VI Swim Championships are scheduled for November 14 in Valdez, featuring Lathrop, West Valley, North Pole, Hutchison, Valdez, Eielson, and Monroe Catholic.

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