Boys’ swimming continues masking as cases rise

Temporary loss of captain affects team


Lilia Gonzalez

Boys’ swimming cheers on its teammates Jan. 12. The swimmers wear masks when they are out of the pool or waiting to swim in an event.

Colin Canaday

Facing the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota history and a potential move to distance learning at many schools, masking during athletics is now of paramount concern. According to swimming coach Amanda Forsberg, this is especially the case in swimming, though having already dealt with COVID-19 in its previous season has helped.

“Nobody wants to be out of the water, and they also don’t want to get their teammates sick,” Forsberg said. “It helps that last year we already had that culture, and they’re pretty good at pleasing each other.”

Currently, Forsberg said rules regarding masking are enforced on a district level, and can only be enforced at home meets. Even so, the team recognizes the risks involved with not wearing masks, and typically follows district policies regardless of location. Swimming is also a difficult sport to enforce masking, given the frequency at which masks are taken off and put back on.

“Swimmers will come out of the locker room, they’ll still have their masks on, and they’ll either put it behind their block or they’ll put it on the table kind of near the back, and then as soon as they get out of the water, they’ll put them back on,” Forsberg said. “Not every district has a mask mandate though, so when we go to other schools, I still have our team stay masked, but that’s a personal preference — I can’t enforce it when we’re away. My team is pretty good — they’re very cognizant. Everyone wants to have a good championship meet, which means staying in the water.”

Senior captain Hiro Mckee, who is currently out sick with COVID-19, said there is great importance in wearing a mask, especially given the sharp rise in cases.

“Wearing a mask is probably one of the most important things right now. I think everybody should be wearing a mask at all times, especially right now,” Mckee said. “I would even go so far as to say that I will probably wear a mask for a long time — like the next five years. I like not being sick.”

Grappling with the temporary loss of a captain, according to junior Miles Nordling, losing even a single person to COVID-19 at this point in the season can have negative impacts on everyone.

“It’s definitely brought a lot of the pressure to different people as (COVID-19) has gone through our team,” Nordling said. “If we’re even missing one person, at this point, it could be detrimental to the whole team. Although, we’ve been able to stay on top of it with all of the COVID(-19) cases coming through.”

According to Mckee, wearing masks should be less problematic than it currently is.

“Keep your mask on,” Mckee said. “We shouldn’t really need to fight over that — it’s not that big of a deal.”