As the global coronavirus pandemic evolves, USA Swimming is also evolving in the Pro Swim Series 2020-2021, the organization’s premier national competitive tour.
The final change, announced on Friday, cuts the January Pro Swim Series event from a three-site meeting to a two-site meeting. San Antonio, Texas and Richmond, Virginia will remain, while Irvine, California will no longer have a location. The meetings will take place from January 14th to 17th, 2021.
“After December 29, 2020, the extension of the regional regulation on staying at home for the region of Southern California, USA, in consultation with the city of Irvine and the host club Novaquatics, made the decision to use the Irvine location for the upcoming TYR Pro Swim Series from January 14th to 17th, 2021, ”reads a press release.
USA Swimming announced its new plan for the Pro Swim Series stops in early December 2021, stating that they would spread the meeting across three locations to reduce the number of athletes in a given location. San Antonio should be the “main location” with an “invitation-only field composed of the best US swimmers,” with locations in Richmond and Irvine with up to 100 male and 100 female athletes each.
Under the new plan, San Antonio will remain the main location, with “approximately 100 female and male athletes” represented in Richmond.
The meetings will be broadcast live on NBCSN, the Olympic Channel, and streamed live on usaswimming.org. Specific lists of the participating swimmers have not yet been published.
California has become one of the country’s biggest hotspots for the coronavirus pandemic. Orange County, where Irvine is located, had an average of 3,642 new cases per day for the past week (114 per 100,000 population). At 93.9 per 100,000 cases, California has the highest rate of daily new positive cases of coronavirus in the country in the past week. New York Time data reports that 21,449 patients were infected with coronavirus in California hospitals as of Thursday.
California has also instituted some of the strictest home-stay mandates in the country, making hosting a 200 athlete get-together challenging and unsafe.
The trend in California has started to turn. After the 7-day moving average peaked on December 22, with nearly 45,000 new cases daily, the 7-day average has fallen to just over 37,000 cases. There were 32,000 new cases on Thursday.