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Swim England and clubs aim to keep athletes fit, healthy and engaged

Swim England is creating training programmes and nutritional advice for athletes across all aquatic disciplines to help them stay fit and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak.

Clubs will also be given tips on how to keep their members engaged – and some have already developed sessions and shared examples of their work across social media channels.

The Swim England artistic swimming, diving, swimming and water polo talent teams will be aiming to support athletes with a wide-range of advice during these ‘unprecedented times’.

In his first video message (below), Grant Robins, Swim England Head of Talent – Swimming, said: “The last few days has been a worrying time for everyone.

“We at Swim England are trying our very best to support everyone involved in all our aquatic disciplines.

“Over the next few weeks, we want to provide coaches, swimmers and parents with a range of advice and resources that are both practical and helpful.

“We will look to cover psychology, coaching, nutrition, lifestyle plus, strength and conditioning topics. We are also hoping to get some athletes to record their experiences as well.

“This is a great opportunity for all of us to help and share.”

Connected to the club

City of Sheffield Swim Squad has been using the club’s social media channels to help share content with its members.

Mike Taylor, the performance coach at the Sheffield National Performance Centre, said the sessions had gone done well with people of all ages.

“They are loving the videos,” he said in an interview with Swim England National Talent Officer Richard Blackshaw. “They are really interacting with them and it’s going crazy.

“It’s about thinking about people’s health and wellbeing, even more so than before, and trying to make sure that they are connected to the club and feel part of the club without actually being there.

“We are not the only ones like this and we know this is a time that’s going to really tough for us. We understand there are implications but we are doing our best to keep the club at the high peak it should be.

“It’s really being part of other people’s lives, so they know we are out there ready to look after them and that means coaches, members of staff, swimmers, parents, grandparents, friends at school – anyone that can interact with us.

“We have got to be seen as an outlet. We want them to stay healthy and want them to be part of it so that they all know and see that we are trying to do something good.”

Trying to be positive

Reg Lloyd, a 23-year-old freestyle swimmer with teamipswich, said he is finding the resources his team are providing useful.

Lloyd, who won a silver medal in the 400m Freestyle at the Swim England National Winter Championships last year, explained in a podcast interview with the Swim England East Region how teamipswich were trying to make the most out of the situation.

He said: “Our coach, Dave Champion, said we should use this time to get a bit fitter out the pool.

“What we have done as a club is, every morning on the club Facebook page, we post a yoga session and in the evening Dave sends a land training session which we will do to keep our body ticking over.

“We can work on stuff outside the pool that we do not normally do. We’re making the most of the situation and trying to be positive.

“A lot of people are down about the situation but it’s out of your control so we take it on the chin and make the most of the situation really.

“We do not know how long we will be out the pool for but we won’t switch off.

“It’s brought the community together really. A lot of clubs and different people are bonding with each other as, at the end of the day, we are all in the same boat in terms of no swimming.”