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Swim England determined to fight for swift reopening as lockdown rules confirmed

Swim England has expressed its sadness and a determination to fight for a swift reopening for pools after the Government confirmed only school swimming lessons can take place in the second national lockdown.

All public and private pools have been forced to close until at least Wednesday 2 December as part of the restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has urged the Government to ensure pools can reopen at the earliest possible opportunity for the physical and mental health benefit of the nation – and to help avoid more facilities closing for good.

During the lockdown, only school swimming lessons, as part of the national curriculum, can go ahead.

There was hope that learn to swim sessions and organised club sessions for under 18s would be allowed to continue under the supervised activities for children in the new legislation but the Cabinet Office has confirmed this is not the case and the clause related to childcare only.

Jane said: “We’re obviously saddened that all public and private pools have to close for the next four weeks, meaning all club training in the water, learn to swim lessons – except for school swimming lessons – and aquatic activity for those who can’t exercise on dry land is forced to stop.

“We understand that measures are needed to slow the transmission of coronavirus but physical activity is a key tool in the fight against Covid.

“Our focus now turns to lobbying the Government to ensure that pools are allowed to open at the earliest available opportunity.

“We can’t let our industry be pushed to the back of the queue as it was when the easing of measures in the first lockdown were introduced.

“Closing and reopening pools is a costly business and that’s why we will also be pressing with our key partners for the Government to provide a desperately-needed enhanced Sport Recovery Fund to ensure the long-term future of the sector.”

This is what the new restrictions mean for all aquatic activity.

School swimming

School swimming lessons as part of the national curriculum can take place in a school-owned pool or usual venue if the operator is open.

Universities and boarding schools

Swim England understands boarding schools may use their own facilities for their pupils as now, but may not invite those outside the boarding school into the facilities.  This will be confirmed later today. It is understood university pools may only open for elite return-to-training purposes.

Private and public pools

All pools must close unless they are able to stay open to facilitate school swimming lessons only. Private pools can only be used by the owner’s immediate family or support bubble and must not be hired out.

Club activity

Sadly, club activity at pools must not take place at pools during the lockdown. Virtual home activity sessions can be organised by clubs to help keep members active.

Learn to swim (excluding school swimming)

All learn to swim sessions, including baby swimming, are on hold during the lockdown. No 1-2-1 lessons that are held in private or endless pools can take place.

Elite training

Elite training can continue in designated facilities under the original Return to Training Guidance. Only those swimmers who were named on the original list during the first lockdown are eligible. Swim England will be working with British Swimming to try to keep these swimmers in the water if possible.