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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.

Swim England statement on return to swimming

May 19, 2020   By

As you may have seen, there have been a number of recent Government announcements that impact upon our sports. On Sunday, the Government announced its Covid-19 recovery plan. As part of this, there was a relaxation around some of the restrictions on outdoor activities which impacts on open water swimming. You can find our statement in response to this here, as well as our open water swimming guidance here. On Wednesday, 13 May, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport released new guidance to enable elite sportsmen and women to return to training. This is obviously a welcome step as we look to see a return of the sports we love, especially for the athletes that are on the British Swimming elite programme.

As the authority which is able to nominate athletes to represent Great Britain, British Swimming has the responsibility of identifying athletes and performance facilities which will be permitted to return at this time. We will work collaboratively with British Swimming to understand the insight and learnings as they restart training and this will support the wider return.

We recognise that across all our sports, the vast majority of participants will not be on elite programmes. We remain totally committed to working towards a situation where our recreational, club and talent programme swimmers, divers, artistic swimmers and water polo players can once again safely enjoy the water that we’re all so desperate to return to. To that end, we are continuing to work on guidance for clubs, to be issued ahead of the reopening of swimming pools.

The Government’s Covid-19 recovery plan has said all pools will open no earlier than July, although it should be stressed there is no guarantee that they will open on that date. We will publish our guidance in advance of pools reopening.

To encourage as many people back into the water when the time is right, Swim England will also be supporting clubs by providing a communications toolkit to help engage members and a sector wide campaign to help increase confidence in returning to the water. In the meantime, we continue to provide online content and engagement to support our members.

There is a real danger that due to the impact of the Covid-19 disruption, a number of pools may not reopen even when they are allowed to do so.  We are continuing to make the case to the Government about the importance of swimming pools for clubs and communities up and down the country and are pushing for financial support to help safeguard the future of these pools.

We have written to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and MPs from across the political spectrum – some who have tabled a number of parliamentary questions on this issue.

We will continue to fight on behalf of our members and the wider swimming family. In the meantime, stay safe and well.

Jane M Nickerson

Swim England Chief Executive

Issued 17 May 2020

Swimathon Foundation launches relief fund to support aquatics community

May 16, 2020   By


Recently come to our attention is The Swimathon Foundation which has launched a Relief Fund to help the swimming and aquatics community deal with the impact and effects of Covid-19. Grants of between £250 and £1,000 are available to small swimming and aquatic organisations experiencing short-term financial hardship from the effects of the pandemic, especially where access to financial support is not otherwise available. Eligible organisations range from National Governing Body affiliated swimming clubs, aquatic clubs and swim schools to independent swimming organisations.

Swimathon President and Olympic gold medallist, Duncan Goodhew MBE, said: “I’m thrilled that we’re able to support members of the swimming community at this difficult time. Almost all swimming clubs are run by a few individuals who put in an immense amount of voluntary time to keep clubs afloat. Now that hard times have hit, they may be really struggling with all of the costs associated. These are the unsung heroes of the sport and it’s so important that we do all we can to help them get through this tough time.”

The Swimathon Foundation was founded in 1997 to bring together the swimming community and benefits of swimming whilst raising money for some of the UK’s most deserving charities.The Foundation organises ‘Swimathon’, the UK’s biggest annual recreational swimming event which takes place over one weekend at over 600 pools across the UK. Around 750,000 people have taken part since the first event in 1986, raising over £50 million for charities in the process. This year’s event has been rescheduled for 16-18 October.

Swimathon Chairman, Anthony Kendall OBE, said: “Swimathon has been raising money for good causes for 33 years, and this fund is a crucial part of its plan to give back to those in the swimming community who are struggling to make ends meet at this time.” To be eligible to apply for a grant, applicants should either be a registered or affiliated club or swim school with a National Governing Body or a small local swimming organisation that may not be a traditional swim club/school, but is working on local level to provide swimming or aquatic activity in their communities. Applicants are welcomed from all over England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – closing date for applications is 22 May 2020.

For more information about The Swimathon Foundation and to apply for the COVID-19 Relief Fund grant, visit www.swimathonfoundation.org.