Both boys’ and girls’ practices happening at Lynden pool
LYNDEN — Most high school athletes in Whatcom County have been able to practice in some form since the beginning of October even with coronavirus regulations in place. That hadn’t been the case for high school swimmer, however, since the YMCA’s departure from Lynden, but they were finally able to get into the water last week.
Lynden High School head coach Leanne Holleman said it took some time to figure out where they were going to swim, but finally it was worked out with the city and the current operator of the pool at the Lynden Recreation Center on Drayton Street.
Last Tuesday, Nov. 3, was their first day in the pool.
“Every other team has been able to practice for a month, but I’m just thanking everybody for their hard work in getting this thing put together for me,” Holleman said.
Both the boys and girls swim teams are practicing, with COVID regulations being followed.
Right now, the time is from 3 to 5 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, with the guys the first hour and the girls the second hour.
“I’m just crossing my fingers for a season (of competition),” Holleman said.
Under the current Washington Interscholastic Activities Association plan, boys swimming has the highest chance of being able to proceed this winter with its scheduled season. Girls swimming is scheduled to start in the spring.
“Swimming is now considered a low-risk sport, which is good,” Holleman said. “We have certain rules. We’re only allowed a certain number of kids per lane and every sport has pods that you have to have a specific number of kids in.”
Like all coaches across the state, Holleman said she’s holding out hope for some kind of season as scheduled, but everything remains a waiting game at the moment. She said right now she’s moving forward as if there will be a boys season in January and February.
Nobody wants to be the reason why practices would have to shut down, Holleman said, so getting everyone to follow guidelines hasn’t been an issue.
“They know this might stink for right now and we might not totally understand it, but nobody wants to get sick and we want to make sure everyone’s safety is the top priority,” she said. “All of my kids know they have to stay in the same groups. I wear my mask all the time because I have to come into contact with multiple groups of kids. It seems to work OK because we’re the only ones in the pool.”
The kids wear masks around the pool until they have jumped in and are swimming.
Early turnout numbers for both the boys and girls teams were more than Holleman expected. She said she had about 15 girls show up last week, and 10 boys.
One boy is from Lynden Christian, and about five girls.
With both programs in what Holleman said are growing years, she’s hoping the young swimmers will be able to compete in some form this winter and spring.
“I coach because I love the kids,” Holleman said. “They’re the coolest kids and it’s so much fun. Selfishly, I want to [compete] because I love being around them, but unselfishly, they totally deserve to have some kind of season.”
Finally being able to get in the water and practice is like a family reunion, Holleman said.
Being able to practice now until the middle of December wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts made by the Lynden School District, she added.
“From the superintendent all the way down to the kindergarten and preschool teachers,” Holleman said. “The school board, athletic director and all the coaches at the high school have been literally bending over backwards to do whatever they can to get these kids healthy physically, healthy mentally and getting them back to some sort of normal routine.”