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High school swimmers protest ban on team practices at Salt Lake County pools

FILE: The indoor pool at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center. Pools at Salt Lake County's county-run facilities are off-limits to high school swim teams under current restrictions for COVID-19. Photo: Jason Olson, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 30 swimmers from high school teams across Salt Lake County participated in a swimmers protest Friday outside the county government building on 2100 South and State Street. They want Mayor Jenny Wilson to lift the ban on team practices at county pools. 

Mountain Ridge High School senior Audrey Pierce learned about the ban from her coach a couple of days ago. 

Then, she helped put together the swimmers protest and drove up from Herriman to take part. 

The ban is meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

But Pierce argues that doesn’t make sense because the teams follow public health guidelines. 

“We’re monitored by coaches, who are making sure we’re taking cleansing showers and staying six feet apart and wearing our masks,” Pierce said. 

If swimmers want to use county pools, they now have to buy individual passes. That means they’re also swimming with the general public. 

And Pierce says some members of the public, unlike her swim team, do not follow public health guidelines. 

It can also get expensive for individual swimmers to practice on their own, as opposed to teams booking time at the pool together.

Others at Friday’s protest argued the ban is unfair because high schools with pools on campus allow their teams to practice together. 

In addition to the protest, swimmers sent letters to Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson asking her to overturn the ban. 

“I really hope that the mayor sees that we’re responsible enough and that we believe in our purpose,” Pierce said at the protest. “And we need these bans to be lifted. We really need to practice. We need to be able to practice and meet in these pools.” 

Mayor Wilson responded to the swimmers in a statement late Friday. 

“The County’s senior leadership team and our health authorities are meeting Monday morning to specifically review school teams’ use of our facilities … as we continue to review and refine facility guidelines during this critical period of COVID-19 response.” 


High school swim teams argue for eased pool restrictions

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States