Ohio State to Host Stanford, Incarnate Word for First Collegiate Event of its Kind
by Alyssa Jacobs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In yet another illustration of the resilience of our sport, The Ohio State University will be hosting a virtual technical meet this weekend. Stanford University and University of Incarnate Word will participate in the competition that will be live streamed on Facebook and the Buckeyes’ website on Saturday, February 13th. The stream will begin at 1:00 p.m. CT.
Ohio State has pivoted, realizing that a traditional competition setting with cross-state travel is not logisticallyfeasible for many programs this early in the season. However, the athletes and coaching staffs of these teams have responded with grit and ingenuity to ensure the ability to continue to train, improve and compete. All three universities are fortunate to be backed by supportive institutions. The Buckeyes already hosted a Scarlet and Gray technical scrimmage last weekend, amassing over 1,000 views and giving the team a competition-simulation to showcase their skills. Ohio State synchronized swimming solicited help from USA Artistic Swimming Events Director, Baylee Robinson, to bring the idea to fruition after USAAS hosted a successful virtual meet in November.
After the unfortunate and inevitable cancellation of the 2020 College Championship due to the onset of COVID-19, student-athletes across the country had their seasons cut short. For most, this weekend’s virtual competition will be the first chance they have to compete against other collegiate programs in almost a year. The 2021 Collegiate Championships isslated for April 15-18 in Stanford, Calif. The national office staff is working closely with Stanford University and all collegiate programs to ensure a safe and inclusive event.
Megan Abarca, Stanford Head Coach: “Our team is excited to kick off the season with this weekend’s first-ever virtual technical competition. After being unable to finish out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our athletes are grateful and excited to begin in 2021. We appreciate the support of Stanford Athletics in facilitating a safe training environment, and we want to thank OSU for the hard work that they’ve put in to create this opportunity for all of our athletes. We hope to see these teams in person later on in the season at Stanford for the 2021 Collegiate Championship this April.”
Elizabeth Gerdin, Incarnate Word Head Coach: “Preparing for this season has been all about flexibility and gratitude. We find that it is important to not take any moment with your teammates for granted. We started the year with multiple training plans and the team has had to be flexible in their mindset to switch from plan A to B to Z. I would also like to recognize the collegiate teams that are continuing to work even when they are not allowed to compete; that is true love of sport and team. I am thankful for the group of people that came together to make this event happen. A huge shout out to Suzanna and Holly at OSU for taking on the first collegiate events and being willing to take point on a virtual transition for the start of the competitive season.”
Holly Vargo-Brown, Ohio State Head Coach: “We are incredibly grateful for the full support of our athletic department, USA Artistic Swimming Staff and volunteer officials as well as our virtual “visiting” teams from Stanford and Incarnate Word. Taking the initiative of creating virtual opportunities for collegiate synchro in our country has not been without its stressors, but it is something our coaching staff felt was crucial for our sport and participants. It has really been a process of safely navigating though the challenges of competition in the midst of a pandemic while allowing opportunities to pump some competitive energy into our programs as we prepare for in-person events later this season.”