British elite swimmers recently raced at the Manchester International Swim Meet last month and they’re gearing up for a repeat. The Manchester Aquatics Centre is once again set to host an elite competition with the inaugural British Swimming Invitation Meet on the books for March 12th – March 14th.
Much of the United Kingdom has been under national-level lockdowns, with only elite athletes able to train at this time. Following the government’s COVID-19 protocols, this new meet will be restricted to these elite athletes only. Specifically for England, only those athletes on the government-approved Elite Athlete Return to Training lists are permitted to compete, with the competition run under the corresponding DCMS guidelines.
The approach to producing this Invitation Meet is much akin to the International Swimming League (ISL) bubble in Budapest. Per British Swimming, this includes a robust testing process that requires the return of ‘a negative lateral flow test upon arrival at the meet hotel and entering into the competition bubble.’
‘Those involved will then be required to confine themselves to the meet hotel, the Manchester Aquatics Centre and private transport for the duration. Face coverings and social distancing will be mandatory at all times, other than when swimmers are in the water.’
Of note, there were no positive COVID-19 cases as a result of the previous Manchester meet.
Says British Swimming Chief Executive Jack Buckner on the situation, “The Manchester International was a definite triumph – the level of planning and risk mitigation that went into getting the event off the ground, and then running it safely and smoothly, was unbelievable – I am extremely proud of what we managed to achieve thanks to the cooperation of everyone involved, from staff and partners through to athletes, volunteers and officials.
“That being said, we must be extremely vigilant against complacency. Just because we pulled it off once doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. We have tightened a couple of our procedures further still, but it will need the same diligence from everyone to run another successful meet.”
The event will once again be livestreamed via the British Swimming YouTube channel.