England’s Lockdown #2 Means Only Elite-Level Swimming

Despite Swim England having sent a letter containing more than 23,000 signatures to the nation’s government pleading for leisure centres to remain open, aquatic athletes are now facing a second lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As we reported, in what he termed ‘preventing a medical and moral disaster’ for the National Health Service regarding the coronavirus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has implemented a new lockdown effective Thursday, November 5th through at least December 2nd.

Although schools, colleges and universities can remain open, pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will be closed for 4 weeks. Additionally, only school swimming lessons are allowed to take place during this second national lockdown, with all public and private pools forced to close through December 2nd.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson said, “We’re obviously saddened that all public and private pools have to close for the next four weeks, meaning all club training in the water, learn to swim lessons – except for school swimming lessons – and aquatic activity for those who can’t exercise on dry land is forced to stop.

“We understand that measures are needed to slow the transmission of coronavirus but physical activity is a key tool in the fight against Covid.

“Our focus now turns to lobbying the Government to ensure that pools are allowed to open at the earliest available opportunity.

“We can’t let our industry be pushed to the back of the queue as it was when the easing of measures in the first lockdown were introduced.

“Closing and reopening pools is a costly business and that’s why we will also be pressing with our key partners for the Government to provide a desperately-needed enhanced Sport Recovery Fund to ensure the long-term future of the sector.”

This is what the new restrictions mean for all aquatic activity.

School swimming

School swimming lessons as part of the national curriculum can take place in a school-owned pool or usual venue if the operator is open.

Universities and boarding schools

Swim England understands boarding schools may use their own facilities for their pupils as now, but may not invite those outside the boarding school into the facilities.  This will be confirmed later today. It is understood university pools may only open for elite return-to-training purposes.

Private and public pools

All pools must close unless they are able to stay open to facilitate school swimming lessons only. Private pools can only be used by the owner’s immediate family or support bubble and must not be hired out.

Club activity

Sadly, club activity at pools must not take place at pools during the lockdown. Virtual home activity sessions can be organised by clubs to help keep members active.

Learn to swim (excluding school swimming)

All learn to swim sessions, including baby swimming, are on hold during the lockdown. No 1-2-1 lessons that are held in private or endless pools can take place.

Elite training

Elite training can continue in designated facilities under the original Return to Training Guidance. Only those swimmers who were named on the original list during the first lockdown are eligible. Swim England will be working with British Swimming to try to keep these swimmers in the water if possible.

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Zoomed Out
10 months ago

National ranking and potential to get into the Tokyo team be damned; if you don’t train at one of our precious centres or boarding schools you can stay dry for the next four weeks (maybe more). The rich get richer while the rest of the hard working swimmers and coaches that develop the swimmers whisked off to the centres with barely any acknowledgement sit at home on Zoom. Pure Class

Reply to  Zoomed Out
10 months ago

The most frustrating situation I can imagine for most swimmers. My son is a top ranked Uni swimmer, but not classed as elite by the powers that be. He is shut out of his pool again, after having been back for 3 months. Irony is the Uni pool is actually open to those considered elite. Add to that the kids at boarding schools all allowed to keep swimming, but club swimmers not. The gap just keeps getting bigger.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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