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Swim England monthly updates 2022

Welcome to the 2022 monthly updates from Swim England.

This will cover the month-by-month work of Swim England between 1 January and 31 December 2022.

Swim England Board

The Swim England Board meets around six times a year and is made up of representatives from across the sport and physical activity sector. Members have background in legal, human resources and finance.
The Swim England Board members are:

Richard Hookway (chairperson), Caroline Green (senior independent non-executive board member/deputy chairperson), Neil Booth, Alison Breadon, Sarah Gregory, Brian Havill, Aysha Kidwai, Raj Kumar, Jane Nickerson, Barry Saunders, Bernard Simkins, Joan Wheeler.

January

The dawn of a new year saw excitement start to build around the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Grant Robins said he was hoping Team England would have the ‘best Games ever’ in the pool. 

Robins had been given the task of swimming team leader for the Games and said: “I was fortunate enough to do the Gold Coast which was brilliant but to lead your country in a home Games is purely exceptional.

“We want to have the best games ever. This opportunity doesn’t happen very often.”

Meanwhile, Adam Peaty said it was always a privilege to represent England at the Commonwealth Games.

“This is my home-coming from the Olympics and the last five years. I’m looking forward to coming to Birmingham and just enjoying the home crowd.”

A number of Swim England coach developers were endeavouring to better their mentoring skills after undertaking a Level 3 Award in Workforce Mentoring.

Kevin Brooks, head coach at Wycombe District Swimming Club, Marc Spackman, head coach at The Royal School Wolverhampton and John Adye, performance coach at Repton Swimming, had been selected for the programme.

A group of African women who believed swimming was something ‘the boys do’ ‘graduated’ from affordable and accessible lessons.

They were presented with Swim England Learn to Swim Awards after Hampshire-based charitable organisation The United Voices of African Associations (TUVAA) arranged for them to access lessons at Active Nation’s Bitterne Leisure Centre in Southampton.

Olympian Leon Taylor led the tributes to British diving stalwart Chen Wen, who died at the age of 80.

Swim England made changes to the popular ‘Connecting with Coaches’ sessions in an effort to make them more accessible.

The topics of the sessions will alternate between swimming-specific material and generic topics that can be applied to all aquatic disciplines.

Swim England’s Stronger Affiliation process was renamed Club Affiliation. 

Empty lanes with Swim England sign taken at national Winter Championships

Completing Club Affiliation means that a club is operating in a safe and compliant way and has achieved the minimum standard of safe and effective practice.

Swim England published its free to download book celebrating the success of all aquatic athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Big in Japan featured all the reports from the Tokyo Aquatics Centre and the Odaiba Marine Park from the swimming, diving, artistic swimming and open water competitions.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson demanded urgent action was taken to tackle a ‘chemical cocktail’ contaminating the country’s rivers.

A damning Water Quality of Rivers report stated: “It is clear that rivers in England are in a mess.

“A step change in regulatory action, water company investment, and cross-catchment collaboration with farmers and drainage authorities is urgently required to restore rivers to good ecological health, protect biodiversity and adapt to a changing climate.”

A talented cohort of 100 swimmers and para-swimmers were selected for Phase 2 of the Swim England National Event Camps.

The group of 15-16-year-old athletes were selected based on their performances from the Festival of Swimming and the 2021 Swim England National Winter Championships.

Swim England welcomed the release of a new report which highlighted the important role pools, leisure centres and gyms can play in helping to ease the pressure on the NHS.

ukactive’s Leading the Change: social prescribing within the fitness and leisure sector report highlighted why urgent investment was needed in facilities for the future.

Five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds visited the Sandwell Aquatics Centre after the pools were filled with 1.2 million gallons of water.

Simmonds described it as an ‘incredible venue’ and said it would be a ‘wonderful facility’ for local residents following the Commonwealth Games.

Swim England’s model club constitution for unincorporated clubs was updated.

A ‘packed programme’ of artistic swimming national events was confirmed by Swim England.

The National Age Group Championships, the Junior and Senior National Championships, the Combo Cup and the National Masters Championships would all return in 2022 at venues up and down the country.

Olympic champions Adam Peaty, Tom Dean and Anna Hopkin were part of a group of 10 athletes who had been selected to represent Team England at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

The Tokyo 2020 gold medallists join Max Litchfield, Abbie Wood, Molly Renshaw, Ben Proud, James Wilby, Luke Greenbank and Alicia Wilson who will be in action at Birmingham’s Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

The first appointments to the Commonwealth Games swimming leadership team were made and saw head coach Mel Marshall leading the charge to Birmingham.

Decorated coach Marshall would be joined by Diane Elliot in her role as sports science lead and Rod Wardle, who would act as team manager.

The first Team Z camp in almost two years saw divers from 10 clubs across the country coming together for a ‘challenging and exciting’ weekend.

Suzie Collins, Swim England diving talent development officer, said: “The UK is brimming with young talent and we are excited to see these athletes develop over the coming years.”

February

Emma Collings-Barnes, Dan Pilbrow and Marc Foster were named as respective head coaches for the freestyle, medley and open water events at Swim England’s National Event Camp.

They said they were ‘privileged and honoured’ to be working with the ‘best and brightest’ talent in the country.

An ‘essential tool’ which will help swimming teachers, coaches, pool operators and carers to improve the overall experience of aquatic activity for those with long-term health conditions was launched by Swim England Qualifications.

Swimming is ‘uniquely placed’ to help the Government achieve its national levelling up missions – but would only succeed with urgent investment in facilities up and down the country.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson said: “If swimming and water-based activity is to play the huge role it can – and should – in levelling up health outcomes across the country, then we need to see the Government invest in the pools we need as a matter of urgency.”

It was confirmed Swim England would host a full programme of Water Polo National Age Group Championships for the first time in three years in 2022.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the U17s and U19s competition in both 2020 and 2021 – with the U15s managing to return to action after a two-year hiatus last December.

Swimming lessons

Youngsters who missed out on school swimming lessons due to the pandemic were being offered free top-up sessions as part of a new collaborative project.

The sessions were being held for youngsters from five primary schools as part of the London Legacy Project which aims to make aquatic sports more accessible to hundreds of people.

Youngsters on the Swim England pathway impressed at the British National Diving Cup at the Plymouth Life Centre.

A host of junior divers recorded stellar performances including Euan McCabe, Amy Rollinson, Leon Baker and Desharne Bent Ashmeil.

Swim England announced it had introduced a new coaching policy which now focuses on the minimum expectations for clubs in relation to coaching qualifications.

Open water swimmers were being encouraged by Swim England to take part in a Government consultation for more designated bathing waters.

The recognised national governing body also called for the Government to be ‘more ambitious’ in ensuring there were stretches of clean open water to swim in.

Ninety five swimmers received a ‘fantastic learning experience’ after taking part in an offshore training camp and competition in Dubai.

The swimmers were all part of the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme.

New members were appointed to the Swim England Masters Working Group and were turning their focus towards ‘paving the future’ of Masters swimming in England.

Meanwhile, Matt Bartle has said he was ‘delighted and honoured’ after being named as the new volunteer lead for the Swim England Diving Leadership Group.

Bitterne Leisure Centre was announced as the first facility in the country to receive Swim England’s Water Wellbeing accreditation.

The Southampton-based pool was one of the first to join the Water Wellbeing programme in 2018 and it has allowed the centre to provide opportunities for those with long-term health conditions to become more active in the water.

Swim England announced it was creating a new resource to help club-level aquatics coaches support athletes who may be struggling with eating disorders.

March

An initiative to help hundreds of children progress from learn to swim lessons to a club environment has been launched by Swim England and Everyone Active. 

The Club Link programme was being rolled out across 125 facilities nationwide.

Dozens of visually impaired youngsters took part in the British Blind Sport National Youth Swimming Gala.

The event was run by British Blind Sport in partnership with Swim England and provided a ‘fantastic opportunity’ for young people with a visual impairment to take part in competitive races.

Olympian Craig Figes started a new role with Swim England as water polo programme lead for Great Britain.

Figes, who was the GB men’s captain at the London 2012 Olympic Games, was appointed technical expert for water polo, advising Swim England, British Swimming and the home nations.

Swim England backed a nationwide campaign to ensure 200 rivers are designated as bathing waters by the end of the decade.

The Speak Up For Our Rivers petition had been set up by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Swim England warned that 500,000 children were missing out on the chance to learn to swim due to a shortage of swimming teachers.

Swimming teachers on poolside

A series of health fact sheets were relaunched by Swim England on Social Prescribing Day

The fact sheets cover a range of conditions including asthma, dementia, epilepsy, diabetes, ear infections, glandular fever, mental heath and skin problems.

A team of 35 Swim England juniors gained ‘valuable experience’ as they raced against some of the biggest names in the sport at the Edinburgh International Swim Meet.

Richard Blackshaw, Swim England head of swimming talent, said the squad showed ‘fearlessness’ adding: “The team have been outstanding.”

The full team which will aim to steer Team England’s swimmers and para-swimmers to have the ‘best Commonwealth Games ever’ was finalised.

In total, there are 26 members of the backroom team covering all aspects from coaching, nutrition, strength and conditioning through to analysis and media.

A new ‘positive’ and ‘powerful’ project to increase inclusion and accessibility across Swim England’s volunteering structure was launched.

The Ripple Effect will aim to break down barriers for individuals who want to become volunteers and encourage them to get involved in aquatic sports

Rising energy costs could pose a threat to the nation’s health and wellbeing as ‘vulnerable’ facilities whereat ‘major risk of closure’ warned ukactive and Swim England.

Centre of lane in empty swimming pool

The first phase of the London Legacy project which offered free top-up swimming lessons to youngsters in three of the most deprived areas of the capital was hailed as a huge success.

Swim England water safety manager Ash Jones told a conference hosted by the Rivers Trust that improving access to open water opportunities would be a ‘win-win’ for outdoor swimmers and the environment.

An ‘invaluable’ new product to help swimming pool owners and operators maximise their Learn to Swim programmes was launched by Swim England.

The Aquatic Latent Demand tool will empower learn to swim providers to understand their true market potential, and therefore help more children to learn to swim.

Swim England was working in conjunction with the University of Nottingham on the Wild Swimming and Blue Spaces project which aims to encourage more people to reap the health benefits of open water swimming.

More than 900 13 to 14 year olds were given expert advice to help improve their performances in the pool at a second Swim England online National Development Camp.

Swim England started working in partnership with Her Spirit to inspire more women to get active.

The aim was to ensure more women are able to experience the positive health benefits of being active in the water.

April

 

Reading Royals retained the Redwood Trophy at the Artistic Swimming National Championships following an exciting event in Gloucester.

Olympian and Swim England’s West Midlands development officer Sarah Barrow gave an update on the West Midland’s diving strategy ahead of the Commonwealth games this summer.

A third diving pool in the region, improved swimming teacher workforce and free taster sessions during the Easter holidays were some of the steps the region has taken in order to increase participation.

Swim England released discipline specific versions of the ‘Maximising Club Pool Time’ tools. 

Versions for water polo, diving, artistic swimming were published following the success of the swimming guidance launched last year. 

The tools help clubs determine the appropriate amount of pool time based on the training requirements of the club’s members.

Swim England announced updates to two resources to help further improve inclusion in swimming. 

The removal of the need for medical evidence when submitting the application form for the ‘Certificate of Exception’ and the extension of the certificate to include a ‘swimwear exception’ were both proposed and supplementary agreed.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson received her MBE for ‘services to swimming’ and had an “engaging” conversation with Princess Anne about school swimming lessons.

Jane Nickerson receives MBE from Princess Anne

Jane said: “I was extremely humbled and honoured to receive the MBE for Services to Swimming during Covid-19. She was concerned that even before the pandemic, not all children learnt to swim despite it being a curriculum subject in England.”

There was some promising news as the latest data for the number of adults swimming was revealed by Sport England.

The data revealed that 2,001,600 adults went swimming at least twice in 28 days between November 2020 and November 2021, a 73 per cent rise on May 2020 to May 2021 results.

Swim England announced their support for a nationwide campaign to help reduce the number of deaths from drowning. 

The campaign urging people to ‘Respect The Water’ has been launched after new data revealed that there were 277 deaths by drowning in 2021, a rise of 23 from the total in 2020.

A campaign from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) to help raise the awareness and importance of aquatic physiotherapy and the impact it can have on your physical and mental wellbeing was also being supported by Swim England.

The campaign aims to keep facilities such as hydrotherapy pools open after recent closures have led to concerns from those who rely on the facilities.

May

City of Manchester enjoyed a golden double at the Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships.

The girls U17s and U19s teams were both crowned champions at the Liverpool Aquatics Centre, while Worthing took the U17s boys title and Cheltenham were victorious in the U19s boys’ competition. 

The swimming team for the Commonwealth Games was confirmed as a further 38 athletes were added to the 10 who were pre-selected in January for Birmingham 2022.

The final Team England squad included Olympic medalists and those making their Commonwealth Games debut.

Swim England received a share of £6.5m to help diverse and disadvantaged communities learn to swim as part of a Commonwealth Games legacy project.

A Swim England family and Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club have joined forces to support two young swimmers and their mum after they fled the invasion in Ukraine.

Tymofii and Tykhon, along with their mother Irina, recently arrived in the country and are now back in the water with Richmond.

Swim England was in the running for two national awards alongside its chief executive, Jane Nickerson, who has also been named as a finalist.

Jane had been shortlisted in the ukactive Awards Outstanding Leadership Award, while the national governing body is in the running for the Healthy Communities Award and the Marketing Campaign Award.

In one of his final duties as Swim England President, Ian MacKenzie hailed the the importance of water polo festivals for young players to help ensure the future success of the sport.

Ian, and his wife, Shirley, recorded the results at the Swim England North West Region’s U11 Water Polo Festival.

Swim England hosted two webinars to raise awareness of anti-doping as part of national Clean Sport Week.

Team England’s swimmers and divers got their first look at the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre, which would be the venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

They checked out the facility during a Prep the Pool test event which saw more than 300 swimmers given the opportunity to race at the £73 million facility.

North West’s Jim Wilks said it was an honour to be taking on the role of Swim England President in such a special year.

He was handed the ceremonial chains by outgoing President Ian Mackenzie during the Prep the Pool test event at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

Swim England launched its England Swims campaign, which appealed for those from ethnically diverse communities to give their views and experiences – in a bid to help make water-based activity more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

A number of people, including elite athletes and teachers, shared their experiences as part of the campaign.

Applications opened for the Aquatic Diploma in Sporting Excellence, which gives swimmers, artistic swimmers, divers and water polo players the opportunity to combines their studies alongside training and competitions.

The end of the month saw the announcement that the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards and Conference would be staged in front of an audience for the first time since 2019.

The conference and awards have been held virtually for the past two years due to the pandemic but the voco St. John’s Solihull would host the events on Thursday 29 September.

June

Nominations for the Swim England National Awards – which looks to honour members of the aquatics community for their devotion to our sports in the last 12 months – opened.

Swim England joined a coalition of leading organisations to issue a stark warning to the Government that rising energy costs could force the closure of hundreds of public leisure facilities in the next six months.

Chief executive Jane Nickerson hailed the work of Swim England’s biggest asset – its volunteers – during National Volunteers’ Week.

Swim England has partnered with UK Coaching as part of a nationwide drive to expand the coaching workforce.

Speedo launched its Swim United campaign which aimed to ensure all children who leave primary school by 2025 are able to swim.

Swim England backed the initiative, which was also supported by Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty, Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds, international swimmer Michael Gunning the Black Swimming Association and Active Black Country

England ‘Red’ took home the silver medal at the Women’s EU Nations Water Polo Cup in Brno, Czech Republic.

A new dedicated team to help support coaches across all aquatic disciplines was created by Swim England.

It’s spearheaded by Lindsay Trimmings, who is taking on the role of head of coaching after eight years working with the national governing body.

Ukrainian swimming teachers who have been forced to flee the invasion are being offered the chance to gain a world-renowned qualification free of charge thanks to the Institute of Swimming and Swim England Charity

Team England’s diving squad for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was finalised.

The 18-strong team featured a strong mix of youth and experience and was packed with ‘exciting talent’.

New gradings for water polo referees were published by Swim England following a comprehensive review. =

The England Swims campaign received more than double its target responses.

The results from the only survey would be analysed and used to help shape the future of the sector and Swim England’s next 10-year strategy.

England’s Senior Men’s water polo squad finished fifth at the 2022 EU Nations Cup in Brno, Czech Republic.

Swim England head of membership development Gaby Hay explained what Pride month means to her personally and the importance of shining a spotlight on the LGBTQ+ community.

Clubs across the country were due to host free taster sessions to help discover the next generation of para-swimmers as part of the Commonwealth Games Inspired to Try campaign.

A series of free swimming assessments as part of the London Legacy Project led to an uptake in lesson bookings and families returning to the pool.

The Swim England Diving National Age Group Championships took place over four days at the Plymouth Life Centre, with 139 individuals taking part.

New research carried out as part of the latest #LoveSwimming campaign revealed that teaching swimming was one of the nation’s most rewarding and fulfilling careers.

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