Swim England

A nation swimming

Adam Peaty says leisure centres should be kept open ‘at whatever cost’

Olympic champion Adam Peaty says leisure centres should be safely kept open ‘at whatever cost’ during any coronavirus lockdowns.

The 100m Breaststroke world record holder, currently in Budapest for the start of the International Swimming League (ISL), said it was ‘more important than ever’ that facilities were not closed in very high-risk tier three areas due to the mental and physical health benefits they offer.

Leisure centres and gyms have been closed in Merseyside as part of the measures to help curb the spread of the virus.

However, the Government has stressed that discussions will be held with those areas moving into tier three in the future before before deciding what restrictions will be imposed.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson said it would be a short-sighted decision to suddenly close essential leisure centres and gyms in new local lockdowns.

Research carried out by ukactive has also shown the prevalence of coronavirus in swimming pools, leisure centres and gyms is extremely low.

Peaty, who said he is excited to have the opportunity to race in the ISL with his London Roar Team, told BBC Breakfast News: “Especially as we go into the winter months now, people need a place to go safely.

More important than ever

“Firstly everyone has to be safe and make sure we do not increase the R rate. Secondly, we have to make sure people have access to these facilities.

“Not everyone can run, not everyone can walk, not everyone can swim in open water. It’s a very small percentage of the population that can do that so we have to make sure that, at whatever cost, we keep the leisure centres open and keep it safe.

“We have plenty of experts back home. I don’t want to just be another voice but I know exactly how much sport can help people.

“It’s more important than ever that we can keep these streams open for people to release anxiety and get a little bit of an endorphin rush.”