Swim England update on work to ensure a safe return to the water14 May 2020
Chief executive Jane Nickerson gives an update on the work Swim England is doing to ensure a safe return to the water for our clubs and members.
As you may have seen, there have been a number of recent Government announcements that impact upon our sports.
On Sunday, the Government announced its Covid-19 recovery plan.
As part of this, there was a relaxation around some of the restrictions on outdoor activities which impacts on open water swimming. You can find our statement in response to this here, as well as our open water swimming guidance here.
On Wednesday, 13 May, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport released new guidance to enable elite sportsmen and women to return to training.
This is obviously a welcome step as we look to see a return of the sports we love, especially for the athletes that are on the British Swimming elite programme.
As the authority which is able to nominate athletes to represent Great Britain, British Swimming has the responsibility of identifying athletes and performance facilities which will be permitted to return at this time.
We will work collaboratively with British Swimming to understand the insight and learnings as they restart training and this will support the wider return.
We recognise that across all our sports, the vast majority of participants will not be on elite programmes.
We remain totally committed to working towards a situation where our recreational, club and talent programme swimmers, divers, artistic swimmers and water polo players can once again safely enjoy the water that we’re all so desperate to return to.
To that end, we are continuing to work on guidance for clubs, to be issued ahead of the reopening of swimming pools.
The Government’s Covid-19 recovery plan has said all pools will open no earlier than July, although it should be stressed there is no guarantee that they will open on that date. We will publish our guidance in advance of pools reopening.
To encourage as many people back into the water when the time is right, Swim England will also be supporting clubs by providing a communications toolkit to help engage members and a sector wide campaign to help increase confidence in returning to the water.
In the meantime, we continue to provide online content and engagement to support our members.
There is a real danger that due to the impact of the Covid-19 disruption, a number of pools may not reopen even when they are allowed to do so.
Continue to fight
We are continuing to make the case to the Government about the importance of swimming pools for clubs and communities up and down the country and are pushing for financial support to help safeguard the future of these pools.
We have written to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and MPs from across the political spectrum – some who have tabled a number of parliamentary questions on this issue.
We will continue to fight on behalf of our members and the wider swimming family.
In the meantime, stay safe and well.
Jane M Nickerson