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Spirit of Acadiana: Social distancing gets COLA back in the water

Posted at 5:43 PM, May 21, 2020

It had been about two months since they were in the water mid-March. Now, mid-May COLA, City of Lafayette Aquatics, is back in the water.

“Under the old normal, we would come in the morning and do some practices, then come in the evening and do some practices,” says COLA Age Group coach Sarah Landreneau.

But the old normal no longer exists, not even in the watery tranquility of a swimming pool.

Over two months ago… the swimmers of COLA-- City of Lafayette Aquatics were essentially told by a villain named COVID-19--- to get out of the pool.

“March 13th, March 13th --- it was right before our state championship. These guys in the pool their state championship gate cancelled.”

But finally--- finally… about six days ago… workouts resumed. “It’s different seeing your teammates over phone calls and stuff like that,” explains Camryn Hebert, a 10-year COLA veteran who now swims for Centenary College in Shreveport. “Not having your coach there to motivate you. But getting back in the water was great.”

There are now longer days-- more workouts, but with smaller groups. And Coach Sarah Landreneau has the swimmers wait in a nearby parking lot until they’re called. “Alright, guys, come on over!!”

The swimmers follow Coach Sarah. “We’re the little ducklings following the mother duck,” giggles swimmer Allie Falgout. And then, while one group finishes up in the water, the next takes part in some dryland warmups.

Water properly chlorinated--- check.

Swimmers kept apart—check.

And as of Friday May 15th, COLA back in action?--- check.

“Friday May 15th was pretty exciting,” smiles Landreneau. “The kids were super-pumped, kids that might normally be “aww”, everyone had a great attitude 4239

The plan for the summer is for Cola to do just this—workouts. Now, should we swim gracefully into Phase 2, things will open up, with bigger groups. But, of course, we’re all waiting on the big unknown: COVID-19.

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