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Smiling faces made returning to training efforts worthwhile for Louth Dolphins

One of the first clubs to return to training in England has said the smiling faces of young swimmers has made all the effort worthwhile.

Louth Dolphins were able to access the pool at The Meridian Leisure Centre on Monday 27 July – only two days after facilities were given the green light to reopen by the Government.

The return has been focused on simply swimming, not competition, and has been made possible thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers working hand-in-hand with staff at the Meridian Leisure Centre and Swim England.

Bob Wells, chairperson of Louth Dolphins, said: “After all the risk assessments and safety measures were put in place, we decided to return to the pool but not as before – the mantra being safety, consistency, robustness and evolving.

“With much consultation and discussion, a plan evolved. Entry to the pool hall was via the side fire doors, two metre distance rules were enforced on entry, on poolside and in the double width lanes.

“Swimmers arrive ‘beach ready’ and leave ‘wet’ via the rear emergency doors to be met by parents in the rear car park.

Glimpse of normality

“The senior performance squad were first back in the water spread out over two, one-hour sessions, factoring in a 15-minute clean down.

“By Sunday 2 August, the skills squad had returned and all three squads were back over a six-hour period.

“Every session, the team analyse and adapt. This is made all the more worthwhile by our young members’ smiling faces and the parents’ gratitude.”

Kate Thompson, Louth Dolphins head coach, said: “We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to return to the pool, with so many other clubs sadly not having the same support.

“Swimming is a key element for many children and being able to return has given so many the routine and glimpse of normality they desperately need.

“The constant smiles say it all.

“Our return is extremely structured and disciplined in line with the Government and Swim England guidelines but everyone has adapted very well and are just happy to be back in the water.

Doing it for the love of the sport

“A huge thanks to our team of volunteers at Louth Dolphins and the staff at Magna Vitae who have made all of this possible.”

Bob added that the club had worked hard during lockdown to ensure they were ready for returning to the pool when they were allowed.

“Since the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the club has constantly maintained contact with its members, offering support and encouraging fitness activities and healthy eating,” he said.

“Many of the club’s volunteer teachers and coaches have taken the opportunity to do online courses, including safeguarding mental health, team manager and other CPDs.

“It speaks volumes that the club has not lost one member, volunteer or committee member – all have returned with a renewed focus and drive.

“Another important factor to be remembered is that everyone involved with the club is a volunteer doing it for the love of the sport.”