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Florida Off, California On for Swim and Dive Teams

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From the 2018 Westminster College Swimming & Diving trip to Florida.

From the 2018 Westminster College Swimming & Diving trip to Florida.

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.-- A year after campus life made its wildest change in years, students teachers coaches and sports teams are finally back into the swing of things. COVID-19 policies are lightening, classes are back to in person and sports are back to full capacity.

Many of the sports teams on campus take a training trip over winter break and often the location of choice is Florida. Last year no teams were able to make the trip to Florida mainly because of COVID-19 and flight restrictions and the time to plan a training trip for this season is right now with limited options on the table.

Florida has been the choice for most teams but every sports team on campus has Florida red flagged. The question now is, why?

“From what we’ve seen on the news Florida is one of the states with very little protocol for the virus and the people there generally aren’t following the basic safety guidelines,” said head swimming and diving coach Pat Smith. "With Florida off the table coaches are asked to find other places to go, and for swim and dive California takes the cake, specifically San Diego."

"Through all of this, our focus will always be the health and safety of our students and athletes," said Westminster Athletic Director Jason Lener. "Right now, there are several outbreaks in Florida, and we don’t think it’s in our best interest to send our athletes there.”

It seems to be different for each team as to where they plan to go and it’s up to coaching staff to make the best decisions for their training.

Since Florida is off the radar for the Westminster sports programs the next question that arises is why is California better? 

“In general, there’s just more to do and a lot of the people don’t vacation in Cali really so it’s also a different scene for just about everyone," Smith said. "In Florida, after the practices, most of the kids would go to the beach and sit around and find things to do in the condos and don’t do much else. The last time we went to California the athletes were renting mopeds and exploring the coast and finding areas all around the condos so there’s just more to do and a big positive for the team is that Cali is a bit more spread out so it’s safer in relation to COVID."

The teams will make their way out to Cali shortly after Christmas this year for a big change in scene and for extra practice coming into the PAC championships.

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