Swim England

A nation swimming

'Disappointing and frustrating' decision not to reverse over 18s training ruling

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has received the disappointing news that the Government will not reverse the decision on over 18’s training with clubs when indoor pools reopen.

As part of the roadmap out of the coronavirus national lockdown, formally organised indoor sport activities for adults can only resume from Step 3, which is currently scheduled for Monday 17 May.

Jane met with officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to press the case for allowing a return to indoor club activities for over 18 swimmers, divers, water polo players and artistic swimmers in Step 2 – due to begin when indoor pools reopen on Monday 12 April.

The meeting was held after Jane had previously challenged the Minister for Sport, Nigel Huddleston MP, on the issue and although it was raised with the Cabinet Office, the Government have advised they will not alter the Covid roadmap which is based on the following: Schools, outdoor activity for adults and children, indoor activity for children followed by indoor activity for adults.

Whilst there are proven low transmission rates in swimming pools they are not looking at any individual sport or activity in detail.

Jane said: “I know how disappointing and frustrating this will be for our over 18 club members.

“When the Government publishes its updated guidance for the return to sport and leisure activities, we will be looking at it closely to see what can be done within the regulations to help get as many of our members as possible back in the water.”

Illogical position

The national governing body also advised the Government that the decision will also increase pressure on places in public sessions in many pools and lead to greater instances of overtaking where casual swimmers suddenly find themselves in a lane with faster club swimmers.

Jane added: “I again highlighted the illogical position that from 12 April our older club members will be able to swim in the same lane, in the same pool, with the same people if it is part of a public lane swimming session but can’t if it is a club session.

“Club training sessions have the benefit of additional Covid safety measures, such as the presence of a dedicated Covid liaison officer to monitor and, if necessary, enforce compliance with Covid mitigation measures.”

There is an exemption for disabled participants, who will be able to take part in organised sporting activities, both indoors and outdoors, from 29 March.

Step 2 of the roadmap out of lockdown allows indoor leisure facilities to reopen on 12 April but only for use by people on their own or with their household.

However, indoor children’s activities – including club sessions for all under 18s in all aquatic sports and learn to swim lessons – are also allowed to resume from this date.

People who have turned 18 since 31 August 2020 are not included in the over 18 restrictions.