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GKAISA Information: News and Notes May 15, 2020

Team Reps and Coaches,

We are nearing the end of Phase I and anxiously await the announcement of Phase II so that we can learn when our pools may be open AND when we will be allowed to practice and compete.

In the meantime, the following is the most recent information from the State and the CDC:

TN: https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/exercise-facilities-guidelines.html

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/parks-rec/aquatic-venues.html

As always, the safety of our swimmers, coaches and volunteers is our primary concern. Please be sure that your team has the necessary controls in place to keep your swimmers safe.

Following our Meet Director’s Meeting and Coaches’ Meeting, we had several great questions. The answers are below:

1. Has GKAISA considered a separate release for COVID-19 related illness and injury? Based on the question, the GKAISA Board reviewed our current release and sought counsel to draft a release related to COVID-19. We will require that all parents sign this release prior to their children attending their first practice. It is attached hereto. Please have your parents complete it with an original signature. Keep the original with your team records, and forward your copies to GKAISA at 613 Scotswood Circle, Knoxville, TN 37919.

2. Will our schedules change since we don’t know when we will be allowed to start practices and competitions? Yes. Our schedules will change from those that were agreed upon at the Scheduling Meeting. We will contact you about revising them as soon as we know when teams will be allowed in the water. For now, we are not changing them on the website. It doesn’t make sense to make changes now, knowing that we will have to change them when we get more information.

3.Since we are doing virtual meets and since many of them may have to take place over multiple days, will we have to swim every team in the League? No. Because of social distancing and likely limitations on how many people will be allowed to gather on deck, it is likely that your team will only swim only two or three other teams in the virtual meet format. You may do a couple of tri-meets. We will look at all of the options as soon as we have more information.

4. Why are we doing virtual meets when they will not count for League standing? Virtual meets, although not perfect, give your swimmers benchmarks, and they give GKAISA benchmarks for assessing needs for the Summer 2021 season. GKAISA will be using your results and participation levels to give team and individual awards at the end of the season. You will get more information on this closer to the time competition begins.

5. Will the host team mail ribbons to the other team? Yes. The host team will be responsible for ribbons for both teams in the meet. Other than the fact it is virtual, the meet will be like a regular meet to the extent possible. (If you are a visiting team, please provide the host team with your mailing address for ribbons.)

6. Have there been a lot of teams opt out of virtual meets this year? No. If you are a GKAISA team, you are expected to participate. Failure to participate will result in your team being listed as a “forfeit” for the season and will cause your swimmers to be ineligible for GKAISA end-of-season awards and opportunities.

7. I have seniors who will be 18 and will be in their last year in GKAISA. Will GKAISA offer relief for them? Yes. Your seniors will be able to petition GKAISA for an additional year. The waiver is on the website under City Meet 2019. It can be submitted next year before the start of the year. (If the swimmer swims for a collegiate team next year, they will be ineligible for this waiver. Additionally, any swimmer who does not participate in at least 75% of your team's virtual meets will be ineligible for consideration for a waiver.)

8. Could we potentially have a virtual City Meet with all teams in GKAISA? Unfortunately, there are too many teams and swimmers to do this; however, your swimmers will be awarded for individual performances at the virtual meets. We are also looking into some additional end-of-season options that could reward individual swimmers for performances in virtual meets. Coaches will receive an information sheet in the coming weeks on which to certify individual results, which will be submitted to GKAISA toward the end of the season.

9. Does GKAISA recommend pools follow USA Swimming guidelines of TN Pledge/ Executive Order/ Knox County? GKAISA will follow the Executive Orders and Guidelines issued by our local governments. These are controlling over our teams. Teams should be extremely diligent in making sure that all recommendations are followed. USA Swimming has offered great information regarding structuring practice and usage of facilities. These are instructional in nature.  

10. Will GKAISA keep us up to date on the latest recommendations? Yes. GKAISA will publish information as it becomes available; however, you should be diligent in reviewing the information that becomes available to you. If you have information to share, please send it to the GKAISA president.

11. Will League make-up change next year? We do not expect to change League make-up for next year; however, GKAISA reserves the right to do so, depending on information received from virtual meets, team rosters, etc.

12. If we are limited in the number of people on deck during a virtual meet, can a coach serve as lane timer or finish judge? Yes. We want to be sure that the referee, starter and stroke and turn judges are certified officials; however, we will have to adjust other jobs depending on the guidelines that are in place. One official may perform multiple jobs. During a virtual meet, be sure that all teams participating have the same number of officials working (ie., same number of stroke and turn judges, referee, starter, etc.)

13. Can a team that does not use SwimTopia participate in a virtual meet? Yes. This was covered in the SwimTopia webinar. The link to that webinar is on the GKAISA website. SwimTopia will also hold a Zoom call with our GKAISA teams closer to the start of our competition.

14. How do we submit Coaches’ Training certificates and pool insurance certificates? Send completed forms via email to Breckenridge Morgan at breckenridge@GSMAssoc.org. Subject lines should be as follows:

GKAISA - Coaches Name - Team

GKAISA – Team – Pool Insurance

If you have questions about any of the above, please feel free to reach out. As I stated at the Meet Director’s Meeting, this is a year where we will have to relax some rules for our meets and where we must show each other a little bit of grace.

This is new for everyone, and we will get through it together.

Happy Swimming (hopefully soon)!

Angelia Nystrom

GKAISA President

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