By Natalia Sosna
After a successful first season, November 23 has marked the start of season 2 sports for many of our ASW Warrior athletes. While many Warriors have already shown a lot of enthusiasm for this upcoming season, the question of safety precautions during an ongoing pandemic is still on the back of everyone’s mind, especially given the high contact and aerobic nature of this season’s sports, which include both basketball and swimming.
Looking back on the first day of practice, the general consensus from both students and coaches was that it went well. In some of the basketball practices, students have already begun playing games during practices in the hopes of developing their skills in a competitive environment. Meanwhile, swim teams have also begun to target specific skills such as “organization, initial conditioning, and technique improvement,” according Mr.Szuter, the swim team coach.
However, keeping the pandemic in mind, this begs the question: How have practices been adapted to fit COVID-19 restrictions? How will practices even work for high contact sports like basketball? How will practice work for a sport like swimming where the usual expectation of wearing masks doesn’t apply?
In addition to upholding some of the previous restrictions during Season 1 such as consistent mask-wearing both on and off court as well as disinfected changing rooms, basketball practices have notably been modified to restrict the playing field for both drills and “3v3 games”, which consist of limiting the team sizes to 3 players at a time during practice games. Instead of playing on the full court, as would usually have been the case in the past, the practices are limited to half court. Despite potentially reducing the risk, students like Andrew B. believe that “if any restriction could be lifted, it should be the full court ban that is revoked first.”
One of the main ways of reducing the risk of spreading infection in a high contact sport like basketball is to wear a mask at all times, both on and off court. The often difficult task of having to wear masks has become a common struggle and a way of bonding for team members of the Boys basketball team. According to Andrew B., “I think playing with masks on is making the team tougher, and allowing us to bond more over how much we hate them, even though we all understand we need to wear masks.”
Swim practices have also been adjusted appropriately through the implementation of many different safety measures that seek to minimize risk. According to Mr. Szuter, this includes having a limited and pre-established participant list, which limits the amount of swimmers per lane, as well as ensuring that “the pool facility is disinfected and ventilated regularly between different cohort activities.”
In terms of tournaments, the swim team is planning two in-house competitions as of now. According to Mr. Szuter, the first swimming event will take place on December 9th, as organized by the swim coaches and student Francesco P. as part of his MYP Personal Project. The second swimming event will be a virtual swim competition that will seek to “celebrate and summarize [the] season’s work” and is set to take place on February 15th and 17th.
While the basketball coaches have not yet indicated any concrete plans for in-house tournaments during the season, students have expressed a hope towards mirroring the structures of the previous season’s tournaments which would hopefully encourage school spirit and support through setting up live streams.
Despite the new environment which both basketball and swim teams must adjust to, one thing that has united Warrior Athletes this year is a clear optimism and determination for performing well during this upcoming second season.