Swim England Limits Weighing Of Athletes To National Talent Pathway Swimmers

Swim England has revised its policy regarding the weighing of athletes, limiting the practice for those swimmers under the age of 18.

In its aim of ‘safeguarding the physical and emotional health for its members’, Swim England‘s revised Weighing Aquatic Athletes policy states that swimmers under the age of 18  should not be weighed unless they are on a nationally supported talent pathway.

The organization says, ‘reasons have been reviewed for weighing an under 18 in a club environment and apart from monitoring growth (alongside height), we do not consider any significant advantages or information gained from weighing athletes of this age who are not on a national supported programme.’

Swim England states, ‘We recognise that in some situations, where the appropriate policies and procedures are in place, weighing athletes can be a useful tool to contribute to tracking changes in health, growth, aiding performance and progression. However, the need for this policy is to prevent potential areas of concern due to some of the related psychological distress, which may come from weighing athletes such as disordered eating, anxiety and depression.’

This policy revision comes after a 2021 investigation into the storied Ellesmere Titan swim club in response to allegations of eating disorders, bullying and overall mental health issues affecting many of its swimmers.

The fallout included the resignation of Swim England Chief Executive Officer Jane Nickerson effective at the end of this calendar year.

The weighing of athletes policy includes a 15-point best practices plan which was developed with the swimmer’s optimal ‘long-term development in mind’

Olympic bronze medallist Cassie Patten, who has recently been appointed to Swim England’s new Oversight Committee as an athlete representative, commented on the policy.

Cassie said: “I’m really pleased to see Swim England has changed its position statement on weighing athletes and turned it into this important policy.

“There have been too many instances in the past of unacceptable behaviour around weighing athletes and this policy sets out the parameters to prevent that inappropriate conduct happening in the future.

“Performance is a key part of an athlete’s development but we also need to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing.

“This policy also ensures there is the education and support in place to help reduce the risks of athletes potentially developing an eating disorder/disordered eating, or other mental health concerns.”

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SwimTC
11 months ago

When are Swim England going to stop scapegoating? The weighing of athletes was part of a funded British Swimming and Swim England initiative.
In the club that is being scapegoated, the weighing of athletes was consciously abandoned due to concerns about adverse affects on swimmers’ mental health years ago. In contrast, the regular weighing of swimmers was still happening at Jane Nickerson’s home club until the day of the BBC news report in 2021, likewise in many other clubs around the country. I know this from personal experience,
Swim England however are not aware, or have chosen not know, because they have never bothered to investigate properly and without a pre-conceived agenda.
Fully applaud the guidance –… Read more »

SwimNut21
11 months ago

Cassie Patten still trying to be relevant in the sport. Cassie Patten destroyed the morale on British Teams and shouldn’t be a part of any initiative.

The coaches suspended surely didn’t have a guideline to follow regarding weighing, does this mean they weren’t suspended for any weighing violations?

SwimObs
11 months ago

Shortly summarised:

If you are fast we still want you to step on a scale

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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