Less than a week ago British Swimming’s Performance Leadership Group (PLG) identified segments of swimmers eligible to return to swim training within the nation in light of relaxing coronavirus restrictions.
Following UK’s policies on social distancing, sanitation, etc., swimmers who represented Great Britain at the 2019 World Championships, as well as marathon swimmers selected to participate in the 2021 Olympic Games qualifier are among those able to return to the pool, in theory. Athletes stationed at either the National Training Centre at Bath or the NTC at Loughborough are also eligible, among a few sets of others.
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.
You can see the entire PLG’s segment breakdown in our post here.
The home nations of England, Wales, and Scotland are still under lockdown for the majority of swimmers, with the former’s government only just now allowing open water swimming as of today, June 1st.
Below are the latest updates for each of the aforementioned nations entering the first week of June.
Per Swim England’s CEO Jane Nickerson, the organization expects to release detailed guidance on the reopening of pools in two weeks’ time. The guidance is in anticipation of pools being able to reopen on July 4th, with the expectations that social distancing in changing rooms, poolside, as well as in the water itself will be implemented upon reopening.
Nickerson said this week, “We have been consulting closely with Public Health England, Sport England, leisure operators, home country partners and a panel of representatives from clubs, swim schools, volunteers and other key stakeholders across the country. I would like to reassure you this consultation has been wide-reaching and that’s another reason why it hasn’t been rushed out.
“For clubs, the guidance will help to guide their decisions and support them to take an approach that meets their needs and is appropriate and safe for their circumstances. It will also highlight to everyone who visits a facility, for whatever reason, the constraints and major financial challenges that operators now face.”
The Welsh government released a statement on May 29th indicating that the nation has passed the first peak of infection and rates are falling. However, the organization is taking things slowly in terms of reopening. For example, beginning June 1st, two households in the same local area of fewer than 5 miles from home will be able to meet outdoors for the first time.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said, “We recognize what people have given up to help Wales slow the spread of coronavirus. I want to thank everyone for everything they have done – by sticking to the rules, we are all helping to protect each other and help our NHS respond to the pandemic.”
The next review of coronavirus measures is set for June 18th where the reopening of Welsh sports facilities for non-professional elite athletes to train safely will be discussed.
Swim Wales released an operational statement on June 2nd. “While our offices at the National Pool in Swansea have remained closed our teams have been working from home supporting club coaches and committees remotely in areas like general membership, dryland training, safeguarding, funding/financials with daily uploads across our social media channels and website.”
CEO Fergus Feeney says, “I wanted to share again how Swim Wales is addressing the current situation. The health, wellbeing and safety of our members, participants and staff and customers are our primary focus. There are a number of measures we are taking to ensure we manage to get through this ever changing situation while continuing to serve our customers, partners, and employees effectively.
“We remain in close contact with the operators of the 300+ swimming pools across Wales and we are providing guidance and input into their reopening plans.”
Effective May 29th, outdoor open water swimming is permitted, although organizations are expressing extreme caution for those not used to taking on this type of aquatic environment. You can read Scottish Swimming’s guidelines and suggestions for open water swimmers here.
Leisure centers including indoor pools and gyms will not be reopening until the country reaches phase three of the exit-lockdown plan during which physical distancing measures will still be in place. It is not known when phase 3 will indeed be reached.
To help address Scotland’s citizens’ concerns, Scottish Swimming CEO Euan Lowe recently spoke with the media at length about topics spanning the nation’s ‘Learn to Swim’ initiatives, competitive swim, and operations of aquatic facilities.
“Our job is to make a return to swimming easy, inviting and exciting”, says Lowe. However, in a realistic tone, he also states that, “Business models are not suggesting all facilities will be able to open due to financial restraints.”
You can read the latest insight from Lowe in our post here.