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Swim England writes to PM

June 23, 2020   By

Swim England Chief Executive Jane Nickerson has written to the Prime Minister to ‘stress the urgent need’ to announce a date when swimming pools can reopen. The Government has hinted that leisure facilities will be able to open doors for business again following the Covid-19 lockdown around 4 July, but has yet to publish its guidance on how this will be implemented. However, it will take pool operators at least 14 days to get facilities ready for customers again, meaning that many could still be closed on 4 July even if the go-ahead to reopen has been given before then.

Swim England published its Returning to the Pool guidance on 16 June and has been working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the Government’s guidelines for reopening leisure facilities. Now the national governing body has called on Boris Johnson to provide some clarity to swimming pool operators and swim school teachers across the country.

In the letter, the Swim England CEO wrote: “There is growing frustration at the continued delay in publishing these guidelines, preventing swimming pool operators, swimming clubs, swim schools and other learn to swim providers from being able to fully prepare their businesses, staff and clients for reopening. Swimming pool operators and swim schools/teachers have been unable to trade for months and are unable to plan effectively in the absence of guidance outlining the conditions they will need to operate under. We understand the latest advice is that these services will not reopen until 4 July at the earliest but swimming pools need adequate time – at least two weeks – to redesign their premises, train staff, bring their swimming pool back up to operational standards, communicate with clients regarding operational changes, implement adequate hygiene standards and come to terms with the changes necessary to ensure the safety of themselves and their clients. We therefore urge you to publish the guidance without any further delay. We are available to provide any support necessary in order to ensure this outcome.”

Plea for additional financial support

Jane Nickerson has also reiterated the call for financial support to help the hundreds of pools that are at risk of staying shut even after restrictions are eased by Government. She wrote: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has rightly championed the importance of physical activity – this is a sentiment we wholeheartedly support. Before the lockdown, 14 million adults in England went swimming in the last year, making it one of the most popular activities. Swimming pools provide hubs of physical activity in communities up and down the country, generating huge social value for these areas. However, without urgent additional financial support, hundreds of swimming pools up and down the country will not be able to reopen, even when the Government declares it safe to do so, exacerbating health inequalities for the many people who find exercising on land difficult as a result of their health conditions. It is therefore vital that as well as the publication of guidance for leisure facilities, there is additional financial support for swimming pools.”

Issued 19 June 2020

‘New normal’ guidance published by Swim England

June 15, 2020   By

Swimming pool users will have to adapt to a ‘new normal’ to ensure the safety of everyone visiting and working at facilities, according to guidance published by Swim England today. The national governing body has issued its’ Returning to the Pool advice ahead of the Government giving the green light for a return to the water. Included in the five detailed documents are robust recommendations for operators, casual swimmers, lane swimming, family-fun sessions, club activity, teachers and those attending swimming lessons.

The guidance is based on the latest scientific advice and Government guidelines and will be updated to reflect any changes announced in the future. The document has been developed following lengthy consultation with Public Health England, Sport England, leisure operators, home country partners and a panel of representatives from clubs, swim schools, volunteers and other key stakeholders across the country, including medical professionals. View all five of the Returning to Pool guidance documents by clicking here.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England Chief Executive, thanked everyone who had contributed to the in-depth guidance. She said: “We have all been missing the water during the Covid-19 enforced closure of swimming pools. Swim England is therefore delighted to be able to produce this guidance to help ensure the safe return to the water once swimming pools are allowed to open again. Our first priority remains the safety of everyone involved in our sports, be they participants, leisure centre staff, coaches or volunteers. When pools reopen, it will not be a case of ‘business as usual’ and we know that things will have to be different. However, if we are to play our part in protecting the NHS from another wave of Covid-19 admissions, it is important we follow the latest guidance and adjust to the new ‘normal’.

The Swim England CEO reiterated that “This guidance has been produced in collaboration with experts from across the sector and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to its creation” and added that the decision to reopen pools rests with the Government, warning that even when the date is announced, some facilities might not be open immediately. She continued: “While the guidance contains vital information on how to reopen facilities, unfortunately it doesn’t include the key date on when pools can open. We will continue to lobby the Government for a reopening date but, ultimately, we have to be guided by them on this. There has been plenty of Covid-19 guidance produced but we have not simply followed other countries leads on this. Our dedicated staff have worked tirelessly to create robust recommendations that are fit for purpose and cover all aspects of aquatic activity. It’s a living, breathing document that will be regularly updated but we hope it gives our members, clubs, teachers, coaches, swim schools and pool operators the clarity they need to move forward together as a sector – safely and confidently.”

The Swim England guidance specifically covers the use of the pool. All advice around leisure centre’s wider space, such as reception and changing rooms, will be issued by the Government at a later date.

Issued 15 June

Dorset club first in region to be awarded Stronger Affiliation

June 5, 2020   By

Dorset’s Weyport Masters SC is the first club in the South West Region to be awarded Stronger Affiliation. The Swim England portal for submissions only went live on Monday 1 June, so the club has not wasted any time in accomplishing the task. Congratulations Weyport Masters – job well done!

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