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‘Special tribute’ paid to swimming teachers and educators at popular conference

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has paid a ‘special tribute’ to swimming teachers and educators for the ‘extra efforts’ they have had to make to ensure lessons could still continue during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the start of the Swim England Teaching and Education Conference, Jane acknowledged the ‘huge challenges and strains’ that Covid-19 had put on the sector but said she ‘really valued the work and contributions’ of teachers and educators up and down the country.

The Swim England Teaching and Education Conference was taking place on Zoom due to the coronavirus restrictions but 18 virtual workshops had been arranged with Jamaican international swimmer Michael Gunning the keynote speaker.

Hundreds of people signed into the conference – and included delegates logging in from Sydney, Beijing, South Africa and Kuwait to give it a truly international feel.

Jane said: “I am delighted this event is taking place again this year, albeit in the now all too familiar virtual format.

“It remains one of my favourite events of the calendar because every year it serves as a brilliant reminder for me of the passion that our teachers and educators have.

“Passion for teaching our children – and adults – those vital skills that it’s no exaggeration to say could one day be the difference between life and death.

“Passion for passing on not just the basics, the important technical knowledge about how to swim, but passing on an excitement for and love of the water.

“Hopefully a love that will stay with the pupils for a lifetime and bring them hours of joy over the years.

“I am only too aware that teachers, educators and swim schools will be only too familiar with the huge challenges and strains posed by Covid on your respective businesses.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to pay a special tribute to the teachers and educators for all the extra efforts you’ve had to make as a result of Covid.

“Alongside dealing with the financial, and emotional, implications of having to shut during the national lockdowns, I know the huge efforts that went into running your sessions again in a way that was not only safe but still as welcoming and enjoyable as possible for your learners.

“All the efforts to reassure anxious parents and nervous children alike that not only was it safe to return, but that it would still be a positive and enriching experience.

Many challenges

“We hope our returning to the pool guidance was helpful, but appreciate operating in a Covid-safe way inevitably placed further issues for you to have to navigate.

“The figures from UK Active revealing the incredibly low number of transmissions in the leisure centre environment shows that the actions you took, the efforts you made, all made a real difference.

“We know that many have been itching to return to the water during the second lockdown. We campaigned ferociously for pools to be allowed to reopen in all tier areas and we are delighted that these calls were heard by the Government and that learn to swim activities for under 18s can resume from 2 December in all parts of the country.

“Covid has complicated issues around access to facilities. We’ll therefore continue to be a strong voice for aquatics in England, seeking the support our pools need and making the case for investment in facilities which are of course the lifeblood of all our activities – be they Learn to Swim, club activities for all disciplines or aqua fitness classes.

“Aquatics could not continue without all the hard work of teachers and educators in pools, on poolsides and in classrooms up and down the country and we really do value your work and contributions.

“There are many challenges facing swimming in the coming years but Swim England will continue to be a loud voice for our sector on the issues that we know are so important to all of us.

“Hopefully 2021 will see the widespread introduction of successful vaccines and a return to something like normal for our pools, clubs and swim schools.

“Fingers crossed that next year we will be doing this in person again, celebrating the achievements of our teachers and educators, looking back at Olympic successes in the Tokyo pool for our elite swimmers, artistic swimmers and divers – and with lockdowns and Covid pool closures firmly in our rear view mirrors.”

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