Swim England CEO Nickerson: Closures Are Extremely Distressing

Yesterday British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 6-week minimum national lockdown, extending coronavirus restrictions already in place in many London areas to the entire country.

This means that non-elite swimmers could be out of the water for up to 6 weeks, with the British Swimming Championships (Olympic Trials) on the horizon for April. You can read more specifics on the restrictions here.

Shortly after Johnson’s press conference, Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson posted an official response from her organization, pleading for leisure centres to be exempt from closures.

“We clearly don’t want to see pools closing and it’s so very upsetting that are we faced with this extremely distressing situation once again,” began Nickerson’s reaction on behalf of Swim England.

“Aquatic activity is a lifeline to so many people – not least our members and their affiliated clubs – and that’s why we will be doing everything we can to make sure pools are among the first facilities to reopen at the earliest available opportunity when it is deemed safe to do so.

“We will continue to keep fighting for pools to be classed as essential services and exempt from any future restrictions. So many people with a range of debilitating physical and mental health conditions rely on exercise in the water to help them manage their conditions.

“Keeping them closed will inevitably lead to more people requiring treatment from overcrowded hospitals and GPs struggling to cope with an increased workload.

“This is yet another hammer blow to the operators running pools up and down the country and I hope the Government will be giving them the necessary financial support to get them through these troubling times.”

As of Monday, there were 26,626 COVID patients in hospitals in England, an increase of more than 30% from a week ago. That is 40% above the highest level of the first wave in the spring. (AP)

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Beverley Gray
3 years ago

Thank you for your fight to get pools reopened. I rely on local swimming pools both for my physical and mental health, especially in the light of a recent debilitating back injury. I am now feeling quite desperate. I am also a key worker and swimming was a vital stress relief.

Margaret Dowsett
3 years ago

Indeed!My only physical activity as a homebound disabled woman is in the pool…further to that the benefits to a mental health sufferers like myself can’t be overemphasised. Thank for trying to get voices like mine heard …
We have heard that redundancies are in the pipeline for our public pools and gyms.
All very ill considered.
Marg Dowsett

Reply to  Margaret Dowsett
3 years ago

More people need to write to their members of parliament. Complaining to SwimEngland is of no use.
I got a reply from my MP very fast. Write to SwimEngland and you will receive no response or nonsense.

Dear Mrs Siddiq,

Thanks for the fast reply. Much appreciated. I look forward to seeing the scientific advice on which the outdoor swimming ban decision is based.

If possible please refer to the SAGE related document from which I copied the short paragraph below.


Ministers and officials not properly challenging scientific advice caused problems. Politicians cannot take scientific advice as gospel. Ministers and officials need to understand and challenge scientific advice in order to combine… Read more »

Annette powell
3 years ago

I totally agree I miss my swimming pool leaving a lot of people depressed.

Chris Ritter
3 years ago

Such a tough situation. We’ve had a lot of swimmers and coaches join the SURGE Strength Academy for FREE to keep up with their dryland training, which may be the only consistent training swimmers and coaches can count on for the next few weeks.


About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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