Although swimmers within the nation of Scotland wish to reenter pool waters as soon as possible, a prolonged lockdown continues to look likely based on the phased relaxation of coronavirus restrictions from the national government.
As we reported earlier this month, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is keen on not lifting restrictions too early as a means to avoid a potential second spike of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the nation. Scotland is currently in ‘phase 1’ of their guidelines, which means that non-contact sports such as tennis and golf are now permitted.
Additionally, effective May 29th, outdoor open water swimming is permitted. You can read Scottish Swimming’s guidelines and suggestions for open water swimmers here.
However, leisure centres 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, which leaves aquatic athletes spanning from recreational to the elite questioning how they can get back to doing what they love.
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.”
For the pools that do eventually open, Lowe brings up several tactics that may be in place, including the possibility of increasing lane widths to accommodate social distancing. This format change would possibly apply to both practices and competitions, resulting in fewer swimmers racing at one time.
Additionally, in terms of competitions, Lowe says that virtual racing may be the earliest means of making meets happen under COVID-19 restrictions. Until further notice, no new licenses will be issued for meets taking place after September 1st, and licenses that have already been issued for the period of September to December will be derived and may be withdrawn at a late date.