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Dorset County ASA

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Plans for return to competition in progress

September 17, 2020   By


Swim England is developing detailed plans to enable competitions to resume across all disciplines. The NGB’s Framework for Resuming Competitive Activity will define how national, regional, county and club events can take place with coronavirus restrictions in place, and provide guidance to support clubs, counties and regions in the planning and delivery of competitions in line with Government guidelines.

The Framework for Resuming Competitive Activity will outline the different phases of how aquatic sports can begin competing again under social distancing measures and will be adaptable to any changing restrictions imposed by the Government.

George Wood, Swim England Sport Development Director, said: “We know our clubs and members are keen to see a return to competitive activity. The Discipline Leadership Groups recognise the importance of competitions which is why we’ve been working hard to develop options and possibilities for national events next year, as well as at regional, county and club level. It’s important we can advise clubs, counties and regions on the safest way to stage competitions and events as well. The Competitions and Events Guidance which will be developed as part of the framework will detail the operational considerations, plans and risk assessments required to be implemented in order to deliver Covid-secure competitive activity and will be updated regularly.”

The Framework for Resuming Competitive Activity must be signed off by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport before it can be released. Water Polo has already been given the green light to resume training and competitive matches, and guidance for artistic swimming has also been submitted to Westminster and awaiting approval. Plans for swimming and diving will be submitted imminently.

Wood added: “We’re delighted that water polo has got the go-ahead to resume and hope that artistic swimming will soon be given the all-clear. The swimming plan is a little bit more complicated due to the amounts of people that are on poolside at any one time and we are looking at how events can be safely run while adhering to the guidelines that are in place. Our swimming and diving plans will be submitted very shortly and, once approved, we will be in a position to finalise the Framework for Resuming Competitive Activity and look at how we can get our competitions up and running again.”

In the meantime, Swim England will soon be announcing details of a new virtual swimming competition – Level X – which will enable swimmers to compete against others from across the country within the comforts of their own club training sessions. It is hoped to launch the competition in mid-October and details of the format will be announced soon.

Issued 17 September 2020

Water polo gets green light

September 17, 2020   By


Water polo clubs and players have been given the green light for a return to training and competition after the Government approved Swim England guidance submitted evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the beginning of the month. Water Polo is now on the approved list of sports allowed to restart competitive action following the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

Swim England specific guidance for water polo clubs will include guidelines on social distancing during breaks and post-game, use of equipment, advice for match officials and coaches, injury treatment and information for spectators. The guidelines should be used in conjunction with Swim England’s Returning to the Pool guidance, which covers details on travel to training and matches plus advice for medics.

George Wood, Swim England’s Sport Development Director, welcomed the announcement by the Government. He said: “This is fantastic news and we’re thrilled water polo can now be played once again. I would like to thank Toby King and our Water Polo Leadership Group and our Head of Performance Operations, Rachel Bayley, for pushing forward this important piece of work. It will come as a welcome relief to our affiliated water polo clubs and players who have been desperate to enjoy the sport they love since pools were allowed to reopen. We have created guidance which ensures training and matches can be safely played while respecting the current guidelines set out by the Government. This is now available to download from the Swim England website and has been sent out to water polo clubs. The guidance should be adopted by clubs and leagues as appropriate and should be adhered to at all times to ensure the safety of athletes and officials and compliance with the standards agreed with Government.”

Issued 15 September 2020

Clubs not affected by new coronavirus restrictions

September 10, 2020   By


The Government has now confirmed to Sport England that organised sports and activities which have initiated return to play protocols will be allowed to continue as before. Swim England has published detailed guidance for the safe use of swimming pools, which has been used by facilities across the country.

Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson said, “This is excellent news. We expected this would be the case when the announcement was made by the Prime Minister but wanted to confirm before updating our affiliated clubs, members, coaches, teachers and swim schools. Club activity and swimming lessons will be able to continue as previously as they are taking place in Covid-secure environments, but they must continue to adhere to our Returning to the Pool guidance. All other pool activity operating within the Swim England guidelines can also continue but people should not travel to pools socially in groups of more than six. We’d also encourage everyone to follow the latest advice from the Government and wear face coverings where necessary and ensure you maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene at all times”.

Return to water polo plans submitted to Government

September 3, 2020   By


A return to competitive action for water polo clubs across the country is a step closer after Swim England submitted an action plan to the Government. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport last week updated its guidance for a return to team sports, which enabled NGBs to send in detailed plans for their sport for review.

While swimming pools were allowed to reopen from Saturday 25 July, the majority of indoor team sports are yet to be given the green light to resume again following the Coronavirus lockdown. However, the publication of the Return to Recreational Team Sport Framework by the Government has given clubs hope that they will soon be able to return to training and matches. If approved, Swim England will create specific guidance for water polo clubs and players. That will include guidelines on travel to training and matches, social distancing during breaks and post-game, use of equipment, guidance for match officials, medics and coaches, injury treatment plus advice for spectators.

Safe return to action

Rachel Bayley, Swim England Head of Performance Operations, said: “We appreciate that our water polo clubs are desperate to return to action as soon as possible but we have to ensure that it can be done safely. Swim England has been reviewing game data, seeking expert advice and updating its plans in light of the guidance published by Public Health England and the UK Government. The resulting plan is intended to set out how clubs and members in England will be able to return to competitive team training and matches under the current Government guidance. We are aware that our clubs and members have many questions and we hope that once the document is approved, it will go some way towards addressing those. Once sign off has been achieved, we will issue water polo specific guidance and a road map that will provide a clear direction of travel for our clubs, players, coaches, officials and key stakeholders.”

Issued 1 September 2020

Swimmers selected for Swim England National Programmes

August 26, 2020   By


A total of 430 swimmers have been selected for the Swim England National Development Programme learning and engagement day. The National Development Programme is the third step on the Swim England Extended Talent Pathway but the first on the national framework. Swimmers were chosen using the new adjusted selection guidelines that have been introduced for the 2020-21 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Swim England spokesperson said: “Swim England Swimming Talent has tried where possible to make these guidelines robust and transparent whilst also promoting fairness and inclusion to all of our aspiring young swimmers. We intend to continue to collaborate with our regions and counties and where possible continue our pathway activities to help enhance the daily training environment so swimmers and coaches that show future performance potential have continued support along their journey.”

The 13 and 14-year-olds picked will be expected to join a day of online workshops in early October covering ‘Loving Race Day’, sleep recovery and injury prevention. A dry land conditioning session will also emphasise mobility and stability to enhance the anti-rotational / rotational strokes and streamlining. The highest-ranked 15 to 17 year old male and female pool and open water swimmers have been chosen for an online engagement day in November.

Due to the pandemic, there will be no pool camps in 2020 and dry land activity will be carried out online. It is hoped that pool activity may resume in 2021, depending on timing and the ability to host safely. This is dependent on the latest Government guidelines and will be confirmed in due course.

Swimmers were selected based on the Swim England long course rankings in each individual Olympic pool event and only times achieved between 22 March 2019 and 15 March 2020 were considered. Grant Robins, Swim England Head of Talent – Swimming, said: “We’d like to say well done and congratulate everyone selected for the National Talent Camps. We know this year’s camps will be very different to what we have been used to in the past but it’s still an honour for all these youngsters to be selected. I’m sure everyone will dive into  the opportunity to be involved in the online engagement day and we’re looking forward to working with all our developing swimmers over the coming season.”

Dorset swimmers selected are: Bournemouth Collegiate – Jamie Workman; Poole SC – Max Looker, Tilly McHugh, Charlie Meek, Luca Sartorius; Swim Bournemouth – Frank Chappels, Connor Cherrington.

A further 91 nationally ranked swimmers aged 15 to 17 years have been selected for the National Events Camps, with Robbie Hemmings (Poole SC) being selected from Dorset.

Twelve youngsters have also been added to the 2020-21 Swim England Para-swimming Talent squad, highlighting the quality of swimmers coming through club ranks and investment in regional training. A total of 58 swimmers from 49 clubs across the country have been chosen to take part in the ‘first-class programme’. There are now 12 juniors on the pathway’s foundation tier, 12 in the junior ranks and 24 in the youth section.

Martin Lees, Swim England Para-swimming manager, said the Coronavirus pandemic had led to challenges in how to develop the potential of the swimmers in the squad but he was confident the programme that had been created would help them all to perform in the pool when it matters.

Dorset para-swimmers selected are: Luke O’Dowd (Tornadoes of South Dorset); Zack Sturgess (Swim Bournemouth).