(Reuters) - USA Swimming unveiled a tentative return to competition from the coronavirus outbreak on Monday with a series of regional events in August before a national lineup begins in November in preparation for next year’s U.S. Olympic trials.
In a letter to its members, USA Swimming Chief Executive Tim Hinchey said the national governing body officially cancelled its major summer meets but will fill the gap with 14 to 16 regional events in mid-to-late August.
“These regionally focused events will limit the need for travel and promote a safer competition environment for our athletes, families and everyone involved,” wrote Hinchey.
“The approval of these event sanctions will be subject to local health guidelines and directives. We look forward to providing further details in the coming weeks.”
The TYR Pro Swim Series would tentatively kick off the national schedule on Nov. 5-8 in Richmond, Virginia, with five of those stops spread between then and May 2021.
The tentative schedule also includes the U.S. Open in Atlanta on Dec. 2-5 and a pair of junior events the following week in Austin and Atlanta.
The meets would lead up to the already-rescheduled U.S. Olympic trials on June 13-20 in Omaha, Nebraska.
“There is still much work to do, but we encourage you to remain hopeful. There will be bumps along the road, but rest assured that we will respond swiftly and in the safest and most responsible way,” said Hinchey.
“Someday soon you will all strap on your goggles and walk on the pool deck again, and we absolutely cannot wait.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Schmollinger