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Swim England Swimming Leadership 'keen to see' events return before end of season

The Swim England Swimming Leadership Group is ‘keen to see’ formal competition resume before the end of the season.

Following the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown announcement, the Swimming Leadership Group has been formulating plans for the safe return of licensed and unlicensed meets, open water, Masters, para-swimming and league competition.

Meanwhile, a second series of Level X Racing will run until 23 July when pools reopen from Monday 12 April.

Tom Baster, the chairman of the Swim England Swimming Leadership Group, said: “We know that our aquatic community is looking forward to hearing of our plans for a return to competition.

“Whilst the Government’s roadmap may have been a source of disappointment to some of our members, particularly those over 18, the announcements and provisional dates provide us with the clearest indication in over a year that competition will return before the end of the swimming season.

“The Swimming Leadership Group is keen to ensure that as many people as possible are afforded the opportunity to safely ‘take their marks’ in formal competition as soon as possible, subject to the guidance of their coaches in returning them to racing fitness.

“While we are currently formulating plans for the safe return of the many different levels and types of competitive swimming, we are mindful that social distancing remains in place until 21 June and this may seriously limit a venue’s capacity to hold a swimming competition prior to this date.

“We are currently consulting with a range of partners, including leisure providers, to assess what may be possible whilst social distancing remains in place.

“The Group is committed to sharing information with our members, and plans to release a series of updates covering more detailed plans in the coming weeks.”

Swim England is now finalising a Return to Competition document which will contain advice on holding pool-based events in Covid-19 times.

Keen to see formal competition recommence

Tom added: “Unless indicative dates change, from Monday 12 April, under 18 year old swimmers will be able to resume pool-based affiliated club training.

“From this date, Swim England will open a second series of Level X Racing which will run until 23 July 2021.

“The purpose of this is to provide all Category 2 swimmers with the opportunity to engage in racing, even if this is in their training environment.

“For this series of Level X Racing, clubs are encouraged, where they are able, to develop Covid-safe ways of using electronic timing where the venue permits, following the guidance in the soon-to-be published Return to Competition document.

“The Swim England Swimming Leadership Group is aware that some of this equipment will have sat unused for over a year, and it would therefore be prudent for it to be tested in an informal environment before normal galas resume.

“Notwithstanding these recommendations, it is still possible to manually time Level X Racing. Level X Conditions also permit clubs to charge a small entry fee per race – clubs may consider using Level X as a fundraising activity in the short term.

“All racing distances are possible, but 800m and 1500m events should only be considered once coaches consider swimmers to be suitably fit, after at least eight weeks of regular training.

“The Group is keen to see formal competition recommence as soon as possible. We are finalising our plans and will detail these in the near future.”

Meanwhile, the Swim England leadership groups for other disciplines are developing Return to Competition guidance and details will be published in due course.