Naperville Swim Conference cancels summer season
Summer swimming is really big in Naperville.
That's why it was news this week when the Naperville Swim Conference announced its 51st season is canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That means more than 20 pools throughout the Naperville area -- even if they are allowed to open -- will not host NSC events featuring competitive swimming for more than 3,000 kids from 5 to 18 years old.
It's been an annual event for an eight-week period through June and July since 1979.
"With great regret, we will not sponsor any dual meets this summer or host the classic or city championship meets," said third-year president Lance Fuhrer, also the principal of Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville and a former swimmer for Naperville North High School and University of Missouri.
Fuhrer said close to a dozen Olympians have swam in the NSC events.
All five high schools in Naperville have had at least one boy and girl who swam in the NSC place in the top 10 at the IHSA state meet.
"A lot of that success is due to our programming that all these pools can offer when the kids are 4 or 5 years old," Fuhrer said. "We've obviously had great success at almost every high school in and around Naperville."
Fuhrer would still love to see all the Naperville pools open in some form.
"We really hope people can swim in their pools this summer," Fuhrer said. "We really felt this (canceling NSC) was the best way for us to allow people to use their pools if conditions allow it and any way they see fit for fun, recreation or fitness.
"We felt like we had little confidence that we could do the things we needed to do to be ready. We wanted to provide many of the teenage and college coaches the chance to seek other opportunities and to free up individual community pools to make decisions that are best for them this summer."
One of those is the River Run Raptors swim club.
"Obviously as individual clubs, given the state parameters and what our own neighborhoods feel comfortable with, we can still do something in house," said board President Jenn Buedel.
"We have some ideas about possible swim programs that would limit the numbers of kids who could be there. Maybe having one kid to a lane, and trying to have some sort of aquatics conditioning. Maybe some mock meets, just to have a little bit of that NSC race feel.
Buedel said she completely understands the tough decision to cancel the NCS.
"There are people who want it but there is also a lot of apprehension among people for safety reasons and making sure they're protecting their loved ones," Buedel said. "It's a bummer that this happened but I appreciate the reason they are not having a season."