Due to the ongoing pandemic, Chabot student-athletes have not competed in collegiate sports for the past year. However, the Chabot College swim team plans to proceed with a 2021 season.
The swim team goes into the season led by veteran Head Coach Greg Kubicki. Kubicki has coached the team at Chabot since January of the year 2000.
Preparation for this season is unlike any Coach Kubicki has experienced before. Not only is the performance of the team going to be tested, but health and safety may play an even bigger role in this season.
“I think the athletes, for the most part, want to do it, have a competitive season this year. I think most of the coaches want to do it … in terms of sports, we’re outdoors, we’re in chlorine … … from my perspective, it’s pretty safe.” Coach Kubicki stated.
The discussion on how safety and protection against COVID will be handled this season has been spearheaded by the President of the school, the Dean of Instruction, and the Athletic Director. They have been meeting to ensure that Chabot sports follow state mandates and successfully hold an entire season of competition this year.
Part of these state mandates has affected the preparation for the season already. “They’ve allowed us since September to swim two times a week … and that’s better than nothing.” Coach Kubicki continued, “In terms of are we going to have a competitive season or not, well if we do, it’s not going to look like any other season. I’ve come to grips with that.”
With vaccines becoming available to every California resident, holding any sport or class in person seems to pose far less risk than a year ago.
Coach Kubicki, when asked if he feels sports for student-athletes is a necessity right now, “Being able to get out of the house and see other faces, look at all of the psychosocial benefits of what we’re involved with, especially with the last year we had.” Coach continued, “the seclusion, I think has caused a lot of problems for people in terms of mental health and exercise. I think being able to get out there whether it’s two days a week or four days a week it’s fantastic.”
Supporting our student-athletes may prove difficult this season. As vaccines continue to be distributed, the school awaits a return to campus at some point in the future. Currently, no fans will be allowed to attend sporting events held at Chabot.
Without fans in the stands, the team will heavily rely on its coach to get them through the season. “One of my most important jobs is just keeping a level head and keeping a positive attitude. I think that’s something the students are going to pick up on,” stated Coach Kubicki. “If I were 18 or 20 years old, I’d be looking for some leadership, and I think that’s one of the most important jobs we can provide right now.”
One way to support the swim program would be to sign up for a swim class at Chabot or even join the swim team. Every student at Chabot is welcomed to be a part of the team. Despite most students and instructors not being on campus, the pool at Chabot is one place where there is some normalcy and social interaction.
Coach Kubicki, encouraging students to consider joining the swim team, states, “I think being a part of a team is an awesome experience. I think this year in a pandemic it’s been super valuable for these young men and women to be able to set foot on this campus and hang out with each other and train.”