The coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of student-athletes to miss out on big competitions, and swim and dive athletes were dealt another big blow Friday.
The CIF San Diego Section swim and dive championships were canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Student-athletes were devastated by the news, which put a sour note on an already abbreviated season.
“It was very shocking. I don’t think anyone ever expected this,” senior Dylan Le said.
COVID-19 has cost Le two opportunities for a championship, and this year was his last chance.
Le and the rest of the Canyon Crest Academy CIF swimmers heard the news from their coach Greg Spire just before their Friday meet with Sage Creek High School.
Coach Spire choked back tears as he made the announcement while athletes struggled to keep their heads up.
“Anger to be honest,” Spire said, describing his reaction to the news. “Anger and disappointment for the athletes.”
Spire said the CIF commission switched the start of swim and dive season with water polo, so swim and dive started two months early.
“CIF assured us on a call that we would have a championship and that is what we sold the kids on,” Spire said.
A coordinator with CIF said no promise was made.
“There were no promises made,” CIF Operations and Events Coordinator Ron Marquez said. “The seasons were switched because water polo is a much higher contact sport and could not be played in the purple tier.”
Spire said Canyon Crest could have been CIF champions.
“They are going to go off to college with two years not having that opportunity to know what it felt like to be on that podium,” he said.
The sinking news came at the end of two very difficult seasons. Last year swimming and diving was cancelled after one meet. This season they’ve had only three.
For now, the students still have a chance to finish out the season strong with two more meets over the next two weeks.
“I tell my athletes always, they got to dig down deep and they have to face adversity,” Spire said.
Meanwhile, Spire isn’t taking no for an answer. The championships were scheduled April 23 and 24, and is campaign to get them reinstated has already begun.
Spire said the CIF San Diego Section swim and dive competition is made up of 16 events with approximately 32 high school athletes per event.