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Swim England gains clarity on how new restrictions will impact artistic swimming

Swim England has gained further clarity on the new coronavirus restrictions which has an impact on artistic swimming for over 18s.

The Swim England Return to Pool for Artistic Swimming guidance already advises clubs to work as per lane swimming guidance and for athletes to work as individuals and not to be taking part in any team routine training.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced in a statement to the House of Commons that the rule of six would be extended to all adult indoor team sports.

Swim England is still waiting for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to sign off artistic swimming’s return to competitive action but, once approved, it would mean masters and athletes aged over 18 will be limited to training routines in bubbles of six people only.

However, the new rules state that organised indoor sport or exercise classes can take place in larger numbers, provided groups of more than six do not mix. Therefore clubs can continue to train and follow the Return to Pool guidance but for over 18s they will need to work in groups of 6.

This means six could take part in training in one area of the pool, whilst another group of six do the same in a different part of the water.

It is also understood that a coach is not included in the six as long as they maintain social distancing at all times.

Swim England is currently seeking clarification on how this applies to mixed groups of over 18s and Under 18s but the current interpretation is that, in this case, the group must be limited to six people.

Extremely disappointing

The latest guidance does not apply to U18s indoor team sports so all younger age groups can continue training as before the announcement.

Organised indoor team sports for disabled people can take place in any number, while elite sporting competition and training is also not affected but this does not apply to club activity, only the Great Britain Duet and Senior Team.

Land training can continue to take place as per previous guidance.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “It’s extremely disappointing the latest restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus will slow down the return to competitive training.

“However, the rules do allow groups of six to train in bubbles, while artistic swimming sessions comprising of U18s will be able to train as they have up until now.

“We realise that this will be frustrating to many but, rest assured, we will be doing everything we can to continue to support our artistic swimming community during this time.

“In every activity, we’d urge people to make sure they are following the relevant Swim England Returning to the Pool guidance and the Government guidelines – and stay safe.”

The Swim England Returning to the Pool for Artistic Swimming guidance is in the process of being updated to reflect these changes.