British Swimming’s Performance Leadership Group (PLG) is in the process of developing an ‘Elite Sport Return to Training Guidance (ESRTTG)’ plan in consultation with its legal team and National Performance Centers. The document is expected to specify the requirements for elite athletes and training venues to resume operations under new coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.
In the meantime, the PLG has defined three segments of British swimmers, considering each eligible to return to training from a swimming perspective. Although some athletes may fall into one of the categories listed below, the UK’s policies on lockdown, travel and social distancing rules may differ based on location. As such, the PLG recognizes that some athletes may still not be eligible to train unless these restrictions are relaxed, even though they appear on this list.
Equally, not all athletes on this list will be able to train in the first phase, due to social distancing guidelines and British Swimming’s ability to effectively manage each daily training environment.
That holds true for the likes of elite athletes such as Duncan Scott, Aimee Willmott, Ross Murdoch and others training at the University Stirling, for example. Per Scottish Swimming’s latest statement on May 14th, “the message from the Scottish Government is that lockdown rules remain and those rules apply to all Scottish Swimming members, currently residing in Scotland.”
Additionally, Jane Nickerson, Swim England Chief Executive, said on May 22nd, “Government guidance clearly states that pools in England cannot reopen before 4 July and it is still unknown whether that will be the date that this happens – that is a decision for the Government.
“However, we want to be in a position where the aquatic sector has clear, effective and high-quality guidance to support its preparation for reopening.” The organization plans on issuing that reopening guidance in mid-June.
On May 14th, Swim Wales CEO Fergus Feeney said, “The Welsh-based elite swimmers linked to the British Swimming World Class Programme will continue to observe the Welsh Government guidelines, and our performance teams will continue to work with Sport Wales and Welsh Government on timings for our own return to water plans”
British Swimming’s Performance Leadership Group’s Swimmer Categories:
- ‘A senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body’:
- Athletes selected for the British Senior 2019 World Championship pool team (long course)
- Marathon athletes that have been selected to participate in the Tokyo Olympic qualifier in May 2021 (10km open water)
Athletes falling into this category include the following: Adam Peaty, Dan Jervis, Max Litchfield, Duncan Scott, James Wilby, Ben Proud, Ross Murdoch, Luke Greenbank, James Guy, Georgia Davies, Alys Thomas, Molly Renshaw, Freya Anderson, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Aimee Willmott, Tom Dean, Calum Jarvis, Cameron Kurle, Nick Pyle, Holly Hibbott, Georgia Coates, Scott McLay, Jess Fullalove, Anna Hopkin, Laura Stephens, Jack Burnell, Hector Pardoe, Alice Dearing, Danielle Huskisson.
2. ‘A member of the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body’:
- Athletes selected for the 2017 British Senior World Championship pool team (long course)
- Athletes selected for the 2018 British Senior European Championship pool team (long course)
- Athletes who are on a trajectory to be selected for the Tokyo Olympics according to their current Performance Dashboard
Additional names based on this additional category include Joelyn Ulyett, Hannah Miley, Charlotte Atkinson, Sarah Vasey, Stephen Milne, Imogen Clark, Kathleen Dawson, David Cumberlidge, Elleanor Faulkner, Katherine Greenslade, Lucy Hope, Emily Large, Craig McNally, Craig McLean, Jacob Peters, Mark Szaranek, Chloe Tutton, Cassie Wild, Brodie Williams, Abbie Wood.
3. ‘Aged 16 or above on an elite development pathway as established by the national governing body (on a trajectory to compete in an Olympic or Paralympic Games)’:
- Athletes on the current World Class Performance Programme
- Athletes swimming in British Swimming National Centres
The British Swimming National Centres include Bath, led by Lead National Coach David McNulty, National Coach Jol Finck and Coach Intern Ben Reid, as well as Loughborough, led by Lead National Coach Mel Marshall, National Coach Dave Hemmings and Support Coach Andrew Wallace. Both centres consulted with PLG on resumption plans.
“Each athlete and their coach have been contacted to advise that they are on this ‘elite athlete training group’ list and discussions are now under way in order for us to ascertain which athletes would like to take up the invitation to return to train.
“To help manage expectations, we anticipate that phase one will comprise 32 places across these two centres. Therefore, we ask identified athletes and coaches to be patient as we move through the ‘phasing’ process. Our plan is to extend capacity for the remainder of the identified athletes as soon as practically possible,” reads British Swimming’s statement.
British Swimming also conveys that, “Any training venue that has not been approved by British Swimming will be acting outside this ESRTTG and we would advise athletes against participating in such activities until permitted to do so. We continue to work with our home nation colleagues to support a return to training when restrictions allow; however we respect that athletes in Scotland and Wales must continue to follow their respective government’s policy on the easing of lockdown restrictions.”