UD’s clubs experiment many changes amid pandemic, stock photo of person running.
Since coming back to campus, UD’s popular sports clubs have faced various hurdles. With the first few weeks strictly being online, clubs were not allowed to meet face-to-face. Along with not being able to gather in person, sports clubs have had to take extra precautions in order to uphold the COVID-19 requirements set forth by the university’s standards.
First, clubs are required to submit a written proposal about how safety protocols will be implemented into practices. After the club officers submit their proposals, the plans have to be approved by their club’s advisor, Campus Recreation, and a COVID-19 Safety Committee.
Now that some classes have been meeting in person, sports clubs have been able to meet in person as well. Each club, while practicing social distancing, is now able to have outdoor activities. Several clubs have shared how they handle COVID-19 safety regulations, club recruitments and overall student interest, and plans for the future on campus.
“We are requiring students to wear masks and maintain a 6 foot distance at all times,”said Allison Lenhardt, President of the Running Club.
Along with these safety measures, Lenhardt said the Running Club caps the maximum number of runners at 10 for every run throughout the week. Runs are available on Monday evenings through Thursday evenings, along with a Saturday morning run.
Typically, the Running Club gets involved with local 5k runs, hosts pasta dinner nights, plays ultimate frisbee, and participates in service opportunities, but COVID-19 has put a hold on these events.
“Although we can have less people at runs, this has not deterred students from joining the club. Last year we had roughly 54 students in our group chat and this year we have 94 students in the GroupMe. Although we are able to recruit many members through the use of the virtual up-the-orgs, we fear the retention will be low since students were not able to experience the club to its full extent.”
While COVID-19 presents uncertainty, Lenhardt remains optimistic by continuing to hold weekly runs while still on campus. The Running Club also expresses interest in potentially trying to host an outdoor, socially distanced movie night in the future semester.
Rugby Club President, Martin Carroll, shared that in order for his club to meet in-person a lengthy proposal explaining social distant drills and other safety precautions was required.
“During a normal year we would have two seasons. In the fall season, we would play other schools from Miami of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and others. We would have games every weekend and practice three to four times a week for an hour and a half each,” Carroll said.
The Rugby Club typically has multiple travel opportunities for tournaments, conference championships, national championships, along with a trip to a Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Right now we are currently setting up a schedule to hopefully practice three times a week for an hour with no coaches and there will be no games or travel. We had many tournaments canceled last year, including the high profile one we host, and there will be no season for fall and the season for spring is still completely unknown.” Carroll stated.
In order to find new members for the team, the former players had to recruit on their own instead of in a strictly virtual format.
“We’ve never had an incredible amount of recruiting interests, but there was a drop this year simply because there was no in-person Up the Orgs and there is not much we can actively do now.” claims Carroll.
Carroll explained that he had access to useful sporting equipment. He was able to distribute rugby balls so team members could still practice on their own, while encouraging others to join the club.
For the future, Carroll hopes to continue having outdoor practices along with preserving general interest in the club through recruitment.
Triathlon Club President, Claire Abele, confidently said, “We’re taking COVID precautions very seriously.”
Abele shared that the Triathlon Club runs with the Running Club while following their safety guidelines, along with following RecPlex guidelines (wearing masks until you’re in the pool, not gathering before or after practices, etc.) when swimming. Although the club has not been able to meet for indoor spinning practices yet, some members have taken advantage of the RecPlex bikes to go on outdoor rides.
In a normal year, the Triathlon Club hosts an outdoor triathlon in September and an indoor version in January or February. Also, the club has previously been able to travel to other triathlons throughout the year. This year, the Triathlon club teamed up with the Running Club to host “virtual workouts” over Zoom while classes were fully remote.
Having a virtual Up the Orgs also affected interest in the Triathlon Club. Gauging attendance has become difficult with only meeting in small groups.
“I do believe interest has been down this semester. People usually don’t seek us out, we recruit a lot of people just passing by at Up the Orgs.” said Abele.
Moving forward, the Triathlon club hopes to get a “virtual triathlon” set up so people can swim, bike, and run on their own and submit times to a leaderboard for a bit of friendly competition. Abele plans to set up team-bonding events to give members ways to meet more people and have safe social interactions in the spring semester.
Kathryn Talty, President of the Swimming Club, stated, “COVID-19 precautions are being handled in the club by following all of the protocols stated by the University of Dayton Campus Recreation.”
Every team member is required to do a self-check before coming to practice to ensure everyone in the pool area is healthy. Additionally, everyone must wear masks on the pool deck until they are in the water and only eight swimmers, an officer, and two lifeguards are allowed to be in the pool area at the same time.
To ensure social distancing, only one person is allowed in each lane. The two-hour time slot designated for the Swimming Club’s practice time has been split into two sessions to maximize the number of people that can practice while maintaining social distancing. After each session, the officer in charge of the practice must sanitize all equipment pieces and blocks used during practice.
Normally, the Swimming Club is able to travel and participate in meets. While the swimmers are still able to swim laps and build endurance, COVID-19 has limited the number of people in the lanes together and limited recruiting new members.
“Despite these restrictions, I personally feel that we are still building a community within our swim team this semester because the smaller group practices allow for people to know each other better.” said Talty.
Talty expresses that the Swimming Club will continue to take advantage of the practice time they are allotted on campus, and that this time will be dedicated to improving their strokes while having fun.
While COVID-19 has made a variety of things challenging, exercising and taking care of yourself is still a must. There are plenty of ways to stay active this semester even if masks and social distancing are involved. Check out a list of current club offerings for the 2020-2021 academic year.