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Dorset County ASA

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Guidance updated as lockdown is eased

June 2, 2020   By

Swim England has issued new recommendations on land training and open water club activity after the Coronavirus lockdown was eased by the Government. From Monday 1 June, Government guidelines allow groups of up to six people from different households in England to meet outside. This opens up the opportunity, for example, for outdoor land training with one coach and five athletes.

Swim England can confirm that insurance cover will apply as long as clubs and their members are adhering to the Government guidelines and the national governing body’s latest land training guidelines are followed. This includes coaches only delivering activity for which they have been trained and clubs ensuring that they have acquired the relevant permit, if necessary, for the outdoor space they are using.

Additionally, Swim England has issued specific guidance on open water swimming training for clubs. This outlines how in certain circumstances, where it is safe to do so, clubs will be able to run open water training sessions in small groups of up to six (including the coach). To do so, coaches must have an appropriately recognised open water coaching qualification, such as the Swim England Qualifications Level 2 Coaching Open Water Swimming Qualification. If this is not the case, then the club’s Swim England insurance policy will be void.

Ever-evolving guidance

A Swim England spokesperson said: “In all instances, risk assessments must be carried out and risk management put in place covering Covid-19 requirements and participant/coach safety. Please note, these are ever-evolving documents which take into account the most up-to-date Government guidelines which have been set out. Risk assessments are key to evidencing that the risk is being assessed and managed and this is something that the Government has highlighted must be taking place. It is essential that the club record and evidence that they are working to and controlling the social distancing measures expected by the Government. It is also important to remember that should any member act illegally, criminal actions would not be insured by the insurance policy. This includes breaking the Government lockdown restrictions and social distancing requirements.”

Issued 1 June 2020

Team Manager 1 courses online

May 31, 2020   By

Swim England has released more dates for an online Team Manager training webinair, which saw dozens of places snapped up within half an hour of when it was first launched in April. Team Manager 1 focuses on single day competitions or camps where there is no overnight stay, and has been specially adapted for online training so that it can be completed during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The three new dates for the Team Manager 1 webinar, which can be accessed by any category of Swim England members, are (click on the date to book a spot on that course):

Enthusiasm of volunteers

Claire Coleman, Swim England head of Volunteering and Pathways, commented that the response demonstrated the desire of people wanting to get more involved in aquatic sports. Claire said: “The Team Manager 1 webinar has been a great success in delivering volunteer training and engaging with our members since lockdown commenced. This first step into volunteering gives members the opportunity to understand the requirements of this role, key points in creating and maintaining a safe environment and how to manage situations whilst on pool deck. The first phase of nationally hosted workshops were booked up very quickly with the first course being full to capacity in 22 minutes. This clearly demonstrates to us the enthusiasm of volunteers to engage with the online delivery.”

Following the publication of WavePower 2020-2023, the content of the course has been updated particularly in relation to ratios and the role of chaperone. Swim England has also incorporated other feedback received over the last twelve months from presenters, clubs and volunteers to address some of the common queries received during the workshop. If the course is fully booked, your name will be added to a waiting list for the next available dates. In light of the success of the Team Manager 1 webinar, a working group is looking to transfer Team Manager 2 online in the future.

Meanwhile, workshops on a range of courses – including the Team Manager 1 webinar – are also being held by the Swim England regions after the pool of online presenters was expanded. To find out details of what is happening in each region, click on the following Swim England South West Region and if interested in attending any SWR workshop email swimsouthwest@swimming.org

All Swim England national events cancelled for 2020

May 27, 2020   By

Swim England has announced all its remaining national events in 2020 have now been cancelled. The decision has been taken to allow the national governing body to start planning for its competitions in 2021. It will also ensure athletes do not rush back to full fitness and potentially put themselves at the risk of injury when pools are eventually reopened. Swim England had already called off events in all disciplines until the end of August because of the Covid-19 pandemic  – which included the National Summer Meet.

Now it has been confirmed the following national competitions will not take place:

  • September: Swim England Open Water National Masters Championships (Nene Park, Peterborough).
  • October: Swim England National County Team Championships (Ponds Forge); Swim England Masters National Championships (Ponds Forge).
  • November: Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships U15s Finals (Ponds Forge); Swim England Artistic Swimming National Masters Championships (K2 Crawley); Swim England Masters Swimming Inter County Team Event (various venues).
  • December: Swim England Winter Championships (Ponds Forge).

Plan for the future

George Wood, Swim England Director of Sport Development, said: “We know our athletes will be saddened to hear we’ve called off the remainder of our events this year – we’re extremely disappointed too. It was a decision we deliberated long and hard over but felt that with the current uncertainty still surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and with no knowledge as to when mass gatherings will be allowed, we were better off starting to prepare for next year’s competitions.”

He continued; “We appreciate open water swimming is currently taking place but it would be difficult to stage the National Masters Championships due to the social distancing measures that are in force. We hope our members, clubs and competitive athletes in all disciplines will all be back in pools soon, enjoying the sports they love. But we have to be realistic and understand that getting ready for competitive action isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight, which was also a factor in our decision. Now at least we can start to plan for the future.”

The issuing of event licences is currently suspended and will continue to be so until further notice. Any licences that have already been issued are provisional in status.

The Swim England Discipline Leadership Groups will publish guidance for the reintroduction of competition, licensed or otherwise in their respective discipline once appropriate information is known.

Meanwhile, the Swim England National Awards, which was scheduled to take place in November, has also been cancelled.

Issued 27 May 2020

Date set for Swim England pools reopening guidance

May 22, 2020   By

Robust guidance to help the aquatics sector prepare for the reopening of pools will be released by Swim England on Monday 15 June.

The National Governing Body has been working in collaboration with industry partners to produce the detailed document, which has been developed in consultation with Sport England and Public Health England for all areas of aquatic activity, including pool operations, learn to swim plus community and club swimming. There is also specific information for all the aquatic disciplines – swimming, diving, artistic swimming and water polo.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England Chief Executive, said: “Government guidance clearly states that pools in England cannot reopen before 4 July and it is still unknown whether that will be the date that this happens – that is a decision for the Government. However, we want to be in a position where the aquatic sector has clear, effective and high quality guidance to support its preparation for reopening.”

The work is being led by the Swim England team, who are consulting with key stakeholders such as leisure operators and home country partners, to ensure the guidance is practical and applicable. A Review Group is also in place, with specialists from within Swim England and a range of partner organisations to ensure that the information is as robust as possible. The final draft will be made available to sector organisations for comment before it is finalised.

Also in the documentation are details around pool programming, observing social distancing, pool water treatment, air handling and circulation, risk assessment tools around social distancing and the customer journey.

Jane added: “I am grateful for the support that we are receiving from so many of our partners in the development of this guidance. We know it will evolve over time based on the emerging scientific and government information but we want to make sure that we have the best possible starting point, taking into account our own specific conditions and challenges.”

The guidance information will be released by midday on Monday 15 June and will be in a format which can be updated as more scientific knowledge and data is obtained. In the meantime, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs page continues to be updated regularly.

The announcement follows the release of the Best Practice Guidelines to Prepare Swim Schools Re-Openings document by the Swimming Teachers Association on 20 May.

Issued 22 May 2020

Dorset Schools Swimming Secretary to retire

May 21, 2020   By

The Dorset Schools Swimming Association is to lose its’ Secretary and events organiser, Gina Wilcox, who has announced that she will step down at this year’s Annual General Meeting after 16 years in the role. In a statement to gala organisers and officials, Gina said: ” We have sadly lost both Wendy Hooper and Mandy Thomas earlier this year due to previous conditions, and this follows the passing of Jean Holland and Gordon Smart last year, all without whom the DSSA would not have been as successful as it has been over the years. This has led me to consider the future of the Dorset Schools Swimming Association and I feel after 16 years as Secretary and ‘general factotum’ that it is also time for me to step away from the post. Should someone come forward to take on the position, I would of course support them but this, and the changing situation in schools and swimming pools, needs thought and decisions before the next AGM, currently planned for Thursday 15 October. Again, I sincerely thank you for all the support you have given to the DSSA and I wish you continued good health in this our lovely County of Dorset.”

Anyone interested in helping to preserve the traditions of Schools Swimming in Dorset can contact dorsetasa@gmail.com or Gina Wilcox direct.