On February 15, 2020, the Cleveland Rams swim team sent its men’s and women’s varsity team to the state championship. While the women’s team finished outside the top 20, the men’s team finished 19 out of 25 teams. As it has with every other sport over the past year, COVID-19 played a critical role in the event.
Sophomore Jamie Adams, swam the second leg of the 400 yard relay for the women’s team. As a returning athlete, Adams compared this year’s experience to last year’s. Adams stated, that during the state championship the COVID Restrictions were that, “Each team member had to sit six feet apart on the seats, they had markings so that you know where to sit, and each team had their own area in the bleachers to keep their distance.”
In past State Championships, COVID did not play a factor, and it was so much different. Only a select few swimmers could go, unlike last year when the whole team could go and cheer each other on. Social distancing was a huge rule that you had to follow, and you could not even be close to your teammates unlike last year and the previous years when you could be surrounded by whoever you wanted and could walk around.
Adams said, “You had to keep your mask on at all times until you walked down to the pool deck and we’re allowed to take it off once you got to your specific area to dive in.”
Masks were another huge part of the swim meet because athletes would get in trouble if they were not wearing one. In the previous years, athletes did not have to wear a mask at all. Spectators were not allowed due to the amount of people they were allowed to have in the Aquatic Center. Swimmers’ parents had to watch their child swim through a live stream on their TV or phone.
Jamie Adams competed in the 400 yard relay. While the team finished in 12th place, Adams set a personal record.
Freshman Joshua Waldon, one of only two freshmen on the men’s team to make it to the state championship, believes the team has a bright future and was one of the two freshmen that went to states and got the last seed and the best time for the relay team he was swimming with. Waldon said ,”Our relay was the youngest relay that made it to states I believe, with 2 freshmen, a sophomore, and a junior. We were the last seed, but still got the best time overall for the meet, and we will continue to keep improving our times for next year and the rest of our time at Cleveland High School.”
In addition to the men’s and women’s relay team performances, Cleveland had strong individual performances from Aidan DeSimone, who finished 8th in the 200 yard freestyle and 7th in the 500 yard freestyle, and Cooper Thomas, who finished 7th in the 1 meter dive. Mason McCall finished 11th in the 100 yard backstroke.
Waldon said, “The overall experience of going to states was a fun and really cool experience with it being my first year at the school. I think it was cool that a few freshmen made it to states including me. I would recommend anyone thinking about playing school sports to join the swim team. It is one of the most fun sports, and you can meet some really cool people.”
Waldon said, “Even though the State Championship “experience” was not the same as it has been in the past, it was still a fun and exciting experience for the team to compete during the pandemic restrictions that were necessary to ensure everyone’s safety.”