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Swim England release guidance for swimmers observing Ramadan

Swim England has published guidance to support swimmers who are observing the holy month of Ramadan.

Three documents have been developed to provide coaches and members with a resource to support both themselves and their swimmers to fuel appropriately whilst fasting.

Ramadan falls within aquatics’ competitive calendar and therefore it is important to recognise and assist those swimmers to overcome the challenges they may face in training, nutrition and competition.

Following feedback from Swim England members, the national governing body decided more could be done to support those swimmers to continue to swim and compete safely.

The documents that have been released contain a competition plan, guidance around nutrition as well as an example training day regime which will assist swimmers, parents and their coaches.

This important resource has been co-created by Swim England’s talent team, sports nutritionists, sports science medicine manager, head of diversity and inclusion and the Muslim Sports Foundation who aided the development with its specialist knowledge.

‘A strong practical resource’

Samanta Selmani, a parent of a member who contacted Swim England in 2022 to ask for support on this issue, is delighted to see the work that had been done.

She said: “The main reason why I had the idea to request this guidance is because, as a mum of a 15-year-old swimmer, I could see that fasting had an impact on my son’s training schedule and on his performances while trying to qualify for nationals.

“I was concerned he wasn’t getting all the nutrients he needed for his training and also I could see that after Ramadan, it would take him a while to go back to his best fitness level.

“Talking with other parents, I realised that some young swimmers choose not to train at all during the fasting month, for they are worried that it could be dangerous.

“There’s an increase of young British Muslim swimmers and I thought that some guidance can really make a difference to all the children that are fasting during this time and also to the ones that are approaching this amazing sport at a competitive level and are not sure they can conciliate it with the requirements of their religion.

“Having had a look at the documents I can see how beneficial it can be for both the nutrition part and the competition planning.

“It’s a lot more than I was expecting and I am truly impressed by it all.”

Mike Hawkes, Swim England’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, shared his pride in launching the guidance.

“We are delighted to finally be able to launch our Ramadan Guidance,” he said.

“We massively appreciate individuals such as Samanta getting in touch to share suggestions for how we can continue to break down barriers into aquatics.

“By co-producing this guidance with the Muslim Sports Foundation, we believe we have created a strong, practical resource that will help Swim England members from the Muslim community.”

Swim England’s Learn to Swim team have also produced some further informative content to support and educate swimming teachers and coordinators on how observing Ramadan could affect some learners during this time.

The content includes a range of activities so that students can continue on their learn to swim journey even if they cannot take part in swimming lessons throughout the month. More information on these resources can be found here.

The Ramadan guidance continues Swim England’s work to help break down the barriers within aquatics which includes last year’s updated inclusion resource, the ‘Certificate of Exception’.

This allows members to apply for a ‘swimwear exception’ so swimmers can wear a modest swimsuit or something outside of the current regulation when competing.

You can view the Ramadan guidance documents below.

Document Library