Just days before their biggest meet of the year, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championships, the Oklahoma Christian University swim team lost before it even began due to yet another outbreak of the coronavirus.
According to junior Tyler Godsey three swimmers tested positive right when they got to Grand Junction, Colorado. Eight more went into quarantine due to contact tracing even though they tested negative.
“It was tough, we look forward to this meet all year and to get stripped from me that easy was really frustrating.” Godsey said.
The team did not get tested before they got on the bus or plane to go to Grand Junction, Colorado. However, they did test right when they got into town.
“(The) last time (the) guys got tested was the Friday before we left,” Godsey said. “We tested right when we got into town after a four hour bus ride.” The team was told to wear masks on the bus to avoid this type of situation, but according to Godsey this rule was not enforced.
Godsey also said meets were more strict when it came to masks mandates, social distancing and other rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while practice, he admitted, was more laid back.
“Meets were a lot more strict,” Godsey said. “We had to wear masks in the stands and up to blocks until we were about to swim. In practice we had to wear masks inside the building, but after that there wasn’t a lot of masks since we were in the pool.”
Oklahoma Christian Swimming did compete in the first two days of the meet before making the ultimate decision to pull out of the meet and come home Friday, Feb. 19. Yet, some swimmers were not able to arrive on campus until Monday, Feb. 22.
“Majority of the team went home Friday, but I, along with others, didn’t get back until Monday,” Godsey said. “Everyone except for one was back on Monday.”
Oklahoma Christian Athletic Director, David Lynn, spoke on the decision to pull out of the meet.
“Athletic leadership is disappointed the swim team didn’t get to complete the conference tournament,” Lynn said. “But withdrawing was the right thing to do for the health and safety of our swimmers and other meet participants. Late last week, I traveled to Grand Junction to assist with the team’s transition back to OC. I’m grateful all our student athletes are safely back on campus.”
In total, 36 swimmers made the trip to Grand Junction, Colorado. After the first day 11 went into quarantine and six swimmers eventually tested positive for COVID-19.
Assistant Coach, Noah Yanchulis, also spoke on the disappointment.
“We were very excited to compete at the RMAC Championships,” Yanchulis said. “Unfortunately, we had to pull out after day two for the health and safety of our team and others competing at the meet.
Yanchulis said they are looking forward to next year.
“Despite a less-than-ideal end to our season, we are optimistic and ready to get after it going into next year.”
Head Coach, Josh Davis, could not be reached for comment.