SOFLO’s Leonardo Mateus One Of Seven Nicholas Dworet Memorial Fund Scholarship Winners

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 29, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Leonardo Mateus added another honor to his already impressive resume.

Mateus, 18, headed to Yale this fall, was one of seven senior high school swimmers awarded a $1,000 college scholarship named in honor of Nicholas Dworet.

The former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School swim captain and honors student was one of 17 killed Feb. 14, 2018 in a mass shooting on the Douglas campus. He was preparing at TS Aquatics Swim Club to swim in college after earning a scholarship to the University of Indianapolis and had aspirations to represent Sweden in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Two of the recipients were members of the Douglas swim team, three were awarded to members of the TS Aquatics Swim Club and two were given to Broward County high school swimmers, which was a new scholarship for 2020.

The money will be used towards their continued education according to the Swim4 Nick fund’s Board of Directors. The recipients were:

MSD Scholarships:
Kenan Kocoglu (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
Penelope Jacobson (Brandeis University)

TS Aquatics Scholarships:
Luis Bucaro (University of Indianapolis)
Delaney Biro (Florida International University)
Emme Ham (Barton College)

Broward County Scholarships:
Leonardo Mateus (Yale University)
Chloe Carignan (Birmingham-Southern College)

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Roberto (Robby) Garrido

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 27, 2020—The sky is the limit for Roberto Garrido.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed his ten years with South Florida Aquatic Club making friends, accomplishing goals with the help of his coaches and gaining confidence, but now it’s time to move on to a new chapter in his life this fall at Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology.

Garrido attended Everglades High School as a freshman and sophomore and College Academy at Broward College where he earned high school and Associate of Arts degrees. He swam for the high school team all four years.

“Everyone has their own experience of high school, I found it really beautiful,” Garrido said. “It was a way of finding yourself and what you want to do with your life. It gives you purpose in looking towards the future.”

His mother, Rocio, played an integral role in his education and college visits.

“One weekend she flew us to New York,” Garrido said. “I didn’t realize we were going. The first day we went to Rochester Institute of Technology and I really liked it. We also went to the University of Rochester. Both were great schools. I was able to see so much on the visits. I am happy with my choice.

“My parents are the world to me,” he said. “The love and care they have for me and my siblings make us want to be good people and not be afraid of anything.”

In addition to his family, swimming has played a big role in Garrido’s life.

Garrido started taking swim lessons at SOFLO when he was 7. Sophia Bedoya and Derek Tom would tell him how much fun it was swimming at SOFLO. He worked his way up with the Dippers, Meteorites, Asteroids, Bronze, Silver and Gold, which is currently swimming with.

Every step was a challenge for Garrido but the likeable student-athlete loves a good challenge.

“When I first joined Silver, Coach Travis was my coach at the time,” Garrido remembered. “I wasn’t outgoing. I didn’t talk to many of the Silver Kids. I felt I had to prove myself. I was behind most of the swimmers but it made me focus at practice to get better. The other kids were going faster than I was. All my friends aged up and I felt lost.”

It was during that time Coach Travis Lockie brought out the best in Garrido, challenging him every stroke of the way.

“It was a phase of my life where Coach Travis took me in and gave me a shot,” Garrido said. “I’m not sure he thought I could do it so I guess I proved him wrong. He pushed me so I could get faster. If it weren’t for him, I don’t think I could have made it.”

Garrido got his first Junior Olympics cut at age 12 in the 200 backstroke.

“It definitely meant a lot to me,” Garrido said. “I was close in all my events before I got it. It was so tough to make it. I didn’t do it in the freestyle and I was so crushed and frustrated. I really tried. I got the cut when I least expected it.”

Garrido remembers being so happy that he jumped out of the pool and hugged Coach Rose and started crying.

“I don’t know what was going through my mind after I got it,” Garrido said. “In my head I knew it was possible. I don’t remember the first 100. I do remember the last 50 when I picked it up and gave it everything I had. It was definitely one of my most memorable moments.”

There have been other memorable moments. Garrido qualified for all four high school regional meets in both individual and relay events.

Before moving into the Silver Group, Garrido admits he didn’t enjoy running. He played soccer when he was younger but always stopped after halftime, he said. Then he started running with Coach Travis on Sunday cardio runs.

“He would encourage me and a couple of the other swimmers,” Garrido said. “I felt accomplished when I kept up with some of the faster swimmers. It gave me confidence.”

Rochester Institute of Technology students are scheduled to move in Aug. 12-15. Garrido admits it will be bittersweet leaving SOFLO.

“I am going to miss the swimmers,” he said. “I know a lot of swimmers in Gold who are a year or two younger. I won’t get to see them grow, improve and swim faster. I won’t get to congratulate them. I’ll have to wait until the holidays when I come home.

“I’m going to miss all the coaches, too. The things that they do for us is crazy. The first time we got back in the pool [because of COVID-19] they were so excited for us. It just shows they want us to improve, get better and go places. Coach Rose taught me a lot, not just being an athlete but overall in life. I have nothing but admiration for her and Coach Travis.”

Garrido is getting into shape for the fall when he hopes to make the varsity team for the Division III school. “That’s the goal. That’s why I am going to every practice, it’s making me work harder. I am feeling more confident going into the fall. Let’s see where it takes me. That would be awesome if I could make the team.”

Garrido plans to major in computer science. He knows it will be a balancing act between his studies and swimming.

“I will give it a shot,” Garrido said. “I don’t have a set schedule for my courses yet so we’ll see how everything fits in. Swimming definitely changed my life in so many ways, I would like to keep going.

“I am majoring in computer science because I want to make a difference,” Garrido said. “I am looking at how the world is right now. It is basically all technology. There are ways to improve society in terms of applications you can create and use technology in multiple ways. I want to be a part of it. If I dedicate my time to working hard like I did at SOFLO, I will be able to learn and create something from nothing.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Moodie Motivates, Informs SOFLO High School Seniors, Juniors About College

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 17, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club College Prep Advisor Natasha Moodie recently shared her expertise on getting recruited by college coaches during high school.

The Miramar High School and University of Michigan alum took SOFLO swimmers entering their junior and senior years through the process of preparing for college including the interview process with coaches, filling out paper work and applying for scholarships and financial aid.

“This is a very exciting time,” Moodie said during her well-organized and informative Zoom presentation. “And, congratulations on completing the school year with all the challenges.”

On Monday, the recruiting season for rising high school juniors in the class of 2022 officially started.

Unlike past years when student-athletes started receiving calls from coaches on July 1, NCAA decided coaches can now start communicating through texts, emails and phone calls beginning June 15th after an athlete’s sophomore year.

The NCAA also adopted new rules allowing official on-campus visits to begin on August 1 (instead of Sept. 1), after the athlete’s sophomore year of high school. Before that swimmers weren’t allowed to take official visits until after the first day of classes of their senior year.

Moodie outlined information from a six-page recruiting guide she put together with the help of SOFLO CEO and coach Chris Anderson. Some swimmers have already researched colleges and have a Top 10 list, Moodie said. Others are just starting to think about the college process. Either way, the guide is a great resource.

Moodie talked about a swimmer’s brand that will capture a college coach’s attention.

“This whole recruiting process is where you are getting to know the school and the coach, and the coach and team are getting to know you,” Moodie said. “It is a getting-to-know-you process. It’s a series of conversations. For a coach to get to know who you are, you need to know what to say and present the best version of you.”

Moodie said it’s important to share your swimming, school and personal goals about next season and the future, and to be specific. Talk about your consistencies, strengths and areas you want to improve. Being prepared for the coach’s questions will set you apart from others, she said.

Moodie reminded swimmers that every school and coach operates differently and have a different number of staff members. She suggested they research completely about the schools, teams and coaches with Google searches.

Moodie also includes a list of question coaches may ask swimmers during phone conversations. She also added it’s important to follow up communication with college coaches with a thank you note to illustrate a level of maturity that will set you apart from other recruits.

“I know I said a lot but it’s important to get input from your high school and club coaches, friends, teachers, mentors and have a practice conversation and ask them what they think you bring to the table, what are your strengths and what do they think you will add to a college team,” Moodie said. “It’s really nice to get that kind of input from someone.”

For questions please contact Moodie at Also check out SOFLO’s College Prep resource folder at:

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Governor Plans To Re-open Schools In Florida This Fall; Broward, Miami-Dade Decisions To Come

By Sharon Robb

MELBOURNE, June 12, 2020—Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced plans to re-open schools for the fall of 2020.

Part of the plan features improving the reading skills of the state’s youngest students who fell behind because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeSantis announced a $64 million plan that will include month-long summer programs for kindergarten to fifth-grade students identified as poor readers.

Money will also be distributed to districts for supplemental teaching materials for kindergarten to third grade classes and train 2,000 reading coaches statewide.

The governor also said he would be using $223 million in Federal money through the CARES Act to fund the return of students to classrooms.

While distance-learning programs are good, there is no replacement for face-to-face learning between students and teachers, DeSantis said.

“At the end of the day distance learning is distance learning and there’s just no substitute for those hands-on instructions,” De Santis said.

Florida schools, closed since mid-March, are being encouraged to gradually re-open in the fall. DeSantis said different districts will have different plans and ways to re-open. The state released a 119-page report offering guidelines, not requirements.

“We’ve been able to provide a road map to announce the return of our schools to on-campus instruction, and to bring long-term improvements to the instructional continuity, using the federal funds provided through the CARES Act to make significant investments in our education system achievement gaps.”

School officials said the new normal that students and parents will see in August is going to be different from the past few months.

Corcoran added data shows that children have “an extremely low risk” of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

“What we do know is not having that world-class education with a teacher in front of a child, there’s real significant harm you can’t recover from,” Corcoran said.

There are three possible plans being discussed for the fall. They are:

1. A traditional return to schools for parents that have the ability and believe the conditions are satisfactory.

2. Distance learning for parents who believe that their best interests are served with children at home.

3. A hybrid model has half the students coming to school two days a week and the other half coming the other two days. The off-day would be virtual learning and cleaning day for schools.

The report also suggests converting libraries and cafeterias into classrooms, eating lunch in class, sanitizing campuses, promoting hand washing and encouraging the use of masks by students and employees.

Broward will discuss its plans for re-opening at a School Board hearing on Tuesday. The Miami school district will announce its plans for re-opening on June 24th. It will include input and surveys from parents and teachers.

Despite the increase in COVID-19 cases around the state, DeSantis says schools can reopen “because the cases are not indicative of any clinical consequences. For example, our hospitalizations are flat. ICU use is half of what it was in April for this.”

The state plans to re-open schools this fall with each county school board setting its own schedule and plan for protecting their employees.

“Getting back on our feet in the school year is going to be really, really important for the well-being of our kids, but I also think it is important for a lot of parents who have had to juggle an awful lot,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the state will work with districts to make sure they have sufficient sanitation supplies and personal protective equipment for their teachers and employees.

“We want schools fully open in the fall because there is no better way to teach our kids,” Corcoran said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Back In Business, Swimmers Return To Newly-Refurbished Pool, Smiles All Around

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 9, 2020—After what seemed like an eternity indoors, South Florida Aquatic Club is back in the water.

Observing social distancing and every COVID-19 safeguard guideline set by local, city, county and state officials, the largest club in the Florida Gold Coast is back at 65 percent training.

SOFLO, the first team in Broward County to return, started off slowly three weeks ago with the older swimmers including Olympian Alia Atkinson first to get in with social distancing observed in and out of the pool including the parking and drop-off area.

The Bronze, Silver and Senior Developmental groups are now training three days a week. The Masters are training five days a week, Monday through Friday early mornings.

“We’re having fun,” said CEO and head coach Chris Anderson, whose staff kept the team workouts going with various zoom training sessions, educational workshops and guest lecturers including Olympic coach Gregg Troy.

SOFLO, awarded the USA Swimming Club Excellence Silver Medal for the first time in club history this year, is one of 63 year-round USA Swimming clubs with a total of more than 5,000 members in its clubs. Some local clubs were forced out of business because of financial difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, SOFLO was forced to shut down its swimming on March 14th. SOFLO was set to host the March 20-22 FGC Senior Championships, one of the club’s biggest annual revenue makers.

SOFLO was also unable to compete in the FGC Junior Olympics, FGC-Florida Swimming All-Star Championship, Shark Developmental Meet, TYR Elite Age Group Invitational in Sarasota, TYR Pro Series in Richmond, TYR/SOFLO Developmental Meet, Jon Olsen Invite, TYR Pro Series in Indianapolis, Atlanta Invite and Summer Invite at Gulliver Prep.

SOFLO and the Comets Booster Club was also forced to postpone its 20th annual Awards Banquet on May 2.

The swimmers were counting the days to see the renovations, refurbishing and new equipment for Academic Village Pool, their home training pool.

The Olympic-size pool features state-of-the art equipment and design.

“We totally revamped the entire infrastructure of the actual pool,” Anderson said. “It’s twice as efficient as the old pool.”

Among the renovations: the entire pool liner was replaced; there are 23 racing target lanes; non-slip wall targets on each lane; the yard course and long course are easily distinguishable with the color blue for the yard course and black for the long course; ten state-of-the-art starting blocks that feature the backstroke starting ledge; 2,100 square feet of shade for coaches and in-the-water athletes; and functioning pool deck with state-of-the- art drainage.

Smiles all around.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Mateus, Rodriguez Pave The Way For SOFLO Swimmers

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 7, 2020—Leonardo Mateus and Rafael Rodriguez took turns talking about academic excellence and extra curricular activities in high school during a recent zoom presentation for SOFLO’s Bronze Group and AK Sharks Group.

The swimmers were a perfect age (11, 12, 13) to learn how to handle high school classes and plan for the future in college. Rodriguez is headed to Purdue and Mateus is off to Yale this fall.

After it was determined that both Mateus and Rodriguez are Coach Rose’s favorites (pause for laughter), the talented student-athletes got down to business sharing what they learned when they got to high school and what worked and what didn’t while highlighting important tasks to get ready for college.

“Knowledge is power,” said Mateus, who outlined several key points and illustrated how swimming helps in the classroom.

1. Discipline comes from training.

2. Leadership is built from teamwork. Think about the relays you do. “I’ve seen you get organized for relays, that is teamwork,” Mateus said.

3. Proactivity comes from persistence. Be proactive. Give your best from the beginning.

“You will do well in what you enjoy in high school,” Rodriguez said. “Whether it’s the sciences, math, challege yourself by taking AICE/AP and IB courses.”

AICE or Advanced International Certificate of Education offers the value of broad and balanced study in four groups (math and sciences, language, arts and humanities and interdisciplinary.

AP or Advanced Placement Program offers college-level curriculum and examinations to high school students. American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high schools on the exams.

IB or International Baccalaureate is often compared with the AP program. The IB program allows students to take college-level courses while in high school.

Rodriguez said “the most important thing is don’t choose classes because your friends are taking them. Choose something that you actually enjoy and that will translate into you doing better. When choosing classes focus on yourself.”

Mateus discussed GPA (grade point average, a measure of individual ability), class ranking (academic ability compared to everyone else), and how grading works in quarters and semesters, unweighted (4.0) and weighted (6.0), depending on honors classes.

“It’s important your first year in high school that you don’t slack off,” Mateus said. “It’s easy to bring your GPA down if you do slack off and once it is down it’s hard to get your average back up. Focus on the things you can do easily that first year and wait a year maybe to take the harder classes.”

Mateus also talked about PSAT, SAT and ACT tests and suggested taking each exam once to see how you do and take it more than once to feel more comfortable while taking it.

There are resources and online educational tools such as Khan Academy, Naviance and YouTube to use to study for classes and standardized tests.

Rodriguez and Mateus also emphasized the importance of extracurricular activities such as swimming.

“Swimming is your most important extra curricular, it looks amazing on your resume,” Rodriguez said.

“Community service is difficult because of the number of service hours you have to do, but important to integrate on your resume. It expands your horizons. It’s unpaid work and looks good on your resume. Jobs, internships and paid work also looks good on your resume and shows that you have experience.”

Clubs and organizations, memberships in honor societies and leadership positions in clubs are also important, they said.

“You don’t have to do all these things to be successful,” Mateus said. “It just helps to combine academics and activities.

“Find the learning connection,” Mateus said. “It teaches you discipline, leadership and productivity and that’s what you take away from swimming. You learn to balance academics and swimming.

“You learn all about making time with time management skills. You break time into sections dedicated to swimming, service, clubs and getting straight A’s.”

Added Rodriguez, “If you’re not good at managing your time it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s important to find the perfect balance of what you are capable of handling.

“Make sure you have time for yourself, too. It shouldn’t be all about swimming, classes, work and clubs. Hang out with your friends. It’s important, it helps you mentally.”

The pair suggested to ask teachers and coaches to write recommendation letters. It helps colleges form an image of you through those letters, they said.

“There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it,” Rodriguez said.

The final topic outlined information about applying for scholarships.

1. Money is important for your future education.

2. Applying for scholarships is easy. It is a quick and easy source of money to pay for tuition and expenses.

3. There are scholarships available at the local, regional, collegiate and national level.

“It’s important to write down everything you have to do,” Mateus said. Whether it’s homework, practice or meetings, it’s easy to forget if you don’t have an agenda.”

Rodriguez added, “you don’t have to be a straight A student to have opportunities for college. You just have to work hard.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Florida University Campuses Expected To Re-Open In The Fall

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 4, 2020—The state’s public university campuses plan to re-open in the fall, according to state higher education leaders.

Representatives from each of the 12 schools in the state university’s system will share individual plans on June 23.

Many private colleges and universities are expected to follow suit including University of Miami.

Nova Southeastern University was among the first in the region to announce that it would be returning to in-person classes this fall. School officials sent announcements to students on May 1. The school is also offering students the choice to take classes online if they fear for their safety.

State university campuses have been closed since mid-March when the Board of Governors directed schools to move to online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommendations by the task force will be “informed by science and medical professionals,” Board chairman Syd Kitson said in a news release. The group is prioritizing safety while getting students back on track for the state’s student success goals, he said.

Colleges had always hoped to return to face-to-face instruction in the fall. But various precautions will be put in place, like requiring face coverings, limiting capacity in common areas and increasing testing and contact-tracing among students, faculty and staff.


Broward College President Gregory Haile has recommended the end of the school’s athletic budget.

In his 2020-21 budget plan he is asking the Broward College District Board of Trustees to discontinue the eight-sport program.

The Fort Lauderdale four-year college, which competes at the highest level of junior college athletics, informed its staff in a virtual athletic department meeting, then informed its athletes on a brief video conference call.

Athletic director Michael Goodrich and associate vice president of student life Neil Cohen made the announcement to the athletes.

The program includes 147 student-athletes. The cost per athlete is $11,009 annually, according to a college spokesperson.

If the board approves the budget, the college would continue to support scholarship athletes for an additional year. The next meeting is scheduled June 30.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 3, 2020–Nick Chaimowitz always liked to swim, but it wasn’t until he joined South Florida Aquatic Club two years ago that he realized how much he loved it.

“I have always liked the sport, but coming to SOFLO took it to a new level,” he said. “It always just resonated with me in a different way like no other sport has.”

Chaimowitz, 18, a Pembroke Pines Charter graduate who is headed to Broward College this fall, switched swim clubs before his junior year at Charter.

“A lot of my friends from school were on SOFLO,” Chaimowitz said. “A lot of it goes to team dynamics. I had friends I could train with, keeping me positive when I was feeling down. I would cheer them on at practice and meets. It was a good environment and the coaching was great.”

Chaimowitz learned to swim at an early age.

“My mom put me in the sport when I was 5,” Chaimowitz said. “She threw me in the pool and hoped I would swim. I loved it. It’s in my blood. Everyone in my family swims except for my Dad.”

Chaimowitz gave up 5-on-5 soccer and taekwondo to focus on swimming. However, there was a time Chaimowitz lost his focus and wondered whether he was going to keep swimming.

“I was in middle school when I didn’t want to swim anymore,” Chaimowitz said. “It was hard for me. It was the same thing every day. But I stayed positive and talked to my mom. She said she could see me swimming for the rest of my life. That cemented into my head.”

Chaimowitz, whose favorite event is the individual medley, has several fond memories of SOFLO.

“But there is one thing that does stick out,” he said. “At practice I was told to swim the 400 IM. I died terribly. I said great. It gave me a new perspective of what practice was going to be like at SOFLO. I knew I would raise my level.”

With every meet Chaimowitz saw himself improve and had several milestones while at SOFLO.

“When I first broke the minute in the 100 freestyle at an Area 2 meet I was so excited and pumped up,” Chaimowitz said. “It really helped my self-confidence and gave me a lot of energy to put in more of an effort than I ever had before in training.”

While Broward College does not have a collegiate swimming program, he would like to continue competitive swimming at SOFLO as well as recreationally. He plans to major in physical therapy and exercise science and also has an interest in flying since his uncle is a pilot.

“At this point I cannot imagine life without swimming, I get to socialize with my friends,” Chaimowitz said. “When I’m stressed or upset at something or myself, I go back to the pool and swim laps. It puts me at peace and relieves my problems and stress. For me, it will be a lifelong sport.”

Chaimowitz handled the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown well. In addition to his SOFLO Zoom workouts, he finished school two weeks ago after “an excessive amount of homework.” He socialized with neighbors and friends at a safe distance. He played football, kickball and basketball.

Chaimowitz and his senior class were also part of a special graduation ceremony Charter school officials arranged with social distancing.

“They did something special,” Chaimowitz said. “We would drive through the bus loop and wait in a line six feet apart. When your name was called we went up to the fountain for pictures in our cap and gown. Then we did our school tradition taking our uniform shirts and throwing them up in a tree. It was great. Channel 6 was there. The school taped it so our parents could watch it since they weren’t allowed to attend.”

As far as the future, Chaimowitz said “my goal right now is to get through college and get my degree.” And now, he is just happy to be back in the pool working on getting his Futures cut in the 200 freestyle.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Swimming Is Low Risk For COVID-19 According To National High School Federation

By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, June 1, 2020—The National Federation of State High Schools Association released its recommendations to help plan the return of high school sports activities.

The NFHS oversees 51 state associations including the Florida High School Athletic Association.

The recommendations, developed by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, offered a look at what high school sports might look like in Florida, including Broward and Miami-Dade.

After schools were closed in mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement and cancellation of FHSAA spring sports, championships and spring football practices.

In a 15-page report, the NFHS outlined a three-phase process to re-starting high school sports. It includes the use of masks, great attention to sanitary practices and social distancing of 6-feet between individuals.

Decisions made by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, state and local health departments will also a play a huge role in how the state’s 67 school districts decide what plans will be utilized. The NFHS recommendations may be followed around the state. FHSAA executive director George Tomyn called the report is “a great guidance.”

The recommendations were discussed during a national webinar last Monday and released to the public on Tuesday. The FHSAA Board of Directors are scheduled to meet June 8-9.

The Phase 1 advice for summer and fall workouts includes doing no weightlifting that requires a spotter, and prohibiting player contact in football. Volleyball players can not touch the ball hit by another player until after it is sanitized. Baseball and softball players can not warm up by tossing a ball back and forth. Wrestlers would have to drill their moves without touching a teammate.

The NFHS said teams should be divided into pods of five to 10 players and those groups should stay together each day during workouts to limit the exposure if one student is infected.

It also asks states to consider adjusting game schedules to decrease travel and reduce time spent in school buses or vans.

Football, one of the fall season’s most popular and big revenue sports, is one of the few sports designated as “high risk.”

High risk sports are those “that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.”

In addition to football, wrestling, boys lacrosse, and girls competitive cheerleading are also included in that category.

Moderate risk sports include basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer, gymnastics, bowling, tennis, swimming relays, pole vault, high jump, long jump, girls lacrosse, and 7-on-7 football.

Low risks sports, with natural social distancing and lack of shared equipment, include individual swimming, individual running events, throwing events (such as shot-put and discus), golf, weightlifting, sideline cheerleading (with no contact stunts) and cross country.

The current FHSAA calendar calls for three weeks of preseason football, starting July 27 with five days of non-contact drills. The other fall sports — girls volleyball, cross country, golf, bowling and swimming — are also scheduled to begin practice on that date, but nothing is etched in stone as of yet.

Baseball and softball in Iowa are expected to be the first sanctioned high school sports events to return to the field in the nation, mainly because Iowa holds the sports during the summer every year.

Guidelines for the restart of the sport will include temperature checks for every game, no dugout usage during practice and sanitizing equipment after every use.

Iowa could become the reopening blueprint for other state organizations across the country, as the COVID-19 numbers continue to trend downward and hope builds for the hope of a scholastic season in the fall.

States rely on the NFHS to develop rule books for sports and provide a platform for national conferences and conversations. However, by-laws and policies vary, including practice start dates, and are determined by individual associations.

Governor DeSantis has already made it clear there will be high school football in the fall in Florida. He is expected to announce a plan for the re-opening of schools for the 2020-21 fall semester as part of Phase 2 and Phase 3 of his three-step plan to move forward.

Sharon Robb can be reached at