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Swimming Trust donation to promote water polo

October 14, 2020   By

The Swimming Trust  has donated £6,000 to fund two key initiatives in the Swim England Water Polo Strategy 2020-25 to help provide new opportunities at all levels of the sport to widen participation and support officials. A total of £4,500 will be used to make a series of short videos to promote mini-polo and water polo for children aged 8-14 on social media and to provide schools with grants to set up their own water polo clubs and teams. The remaining £1,500 will fund refereeing workshops hosted by the British Water Polo League to help aspiring and existing referees at all levels to ensure developing players are best prepared for playing at the top level.

Toby King, chair of the Swim England Water Polo Leadership Group, said: “I am delighted that the Swimming Trust is supportive of our new strategy and funding these key initiatives. We hope that they will significantly accelerate our ability to recruit a larger, more diverse group of new players, while ensuring that the game is officiated consistently at all levels to help our aspiring competitors get used to the conditions they will experience at the highest level. Despite the recent imposition of the ‘Rule of Six’, under-18s are still allowed to train almost normally and play competitive matches, so this funding is particularly welcome at a difficult time.”

The Swimming Trust, which relies entirely on donations, is dedicated to delivering opportunities to enjoy aquatic sport throughout the UK. The Trust’s secretary, Brian DeVal, said “We are very happy to be able to support the England Water Polo strategy to involve more people in this great sport. In particular, we are pleased that the recent rule changes mean it is now possible for children as young as eight to play for a school or club team in a water polo tournament. This is the second award made by the Swimming Trust to help the development of water polo in the past year. The first award was for the training of tutors to help develop water polo referees and other officials. Together these awards will provide new opportunities at all levels of the game.”

Issued 9 October 2020

2021 County Champs to move later in the calendar

October 7, 2020   By

Swim England has confirmed that, due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the usual January/February time slot for County Championships is now highly unlikely. The event will be suspended until later in 2021, with a planned alternative window from late May until 18 July 2021, and a further racing opportunity being opened up for counties later in the year so that older swimmers sitting exams will be given the chance to participate at an appropriate time. Counties and regions will be consulted to ensure that participation in the Regional Open Water Championships is not affected by this decision.

Swim England’s Swimming Leadership Group has made the decision following consultations with volunteers who organise the County events and Regional Swimming Managers, and taking into account the health and wellbeing of everyone involved.

Tom Baster, Chair of the Swimming Leadership Group, said: “We are aware how much the County Age Group Swimming Championships mean to the entire swimming community – they are excellent competitions, organised by highly-committed volunteers and officials. Staging the events in their original timeframe would result in championship weekends that are significantly reduced in size and number of competitors, owing to social distancing laws. Obviously, we understand that there will be some frustrations at this delay but the most important thing is the safety of everyone involved. The swimming community is committed to doing everything it can to ensure that these events happen in 2021 wherever possible. We hope by creating a later calendar window for the events, it will enable us to achieve this and that everyone understands the reasoning behind this decision.”

Swim England has also confirmed the current plan is to run Regional Championships within their usual window and it will be making every effort to enable this to happen. Over the coming months, meetings will be held with Regional and County Swimming Coordinators on a regular basis to put plans in place for the revised county window. These will be communicated with members when details are finalised.

Swim England will soon be publishing details of its full Return to Competition strategy, including plans for the phased return of Open Meets. The first part of this features Level X Racing, which will be fully launched next week following completion of the pilot scheme.

Issued 7 October 2020

Pilot clubs trial Level X swimming competition

October 1, 2020   By

Ahead of its official launch in October, eleven clubs have been selected to pilot Swim England’s new Level X swimming competition. With competitions cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Swim England has been keen to ensure club swimmers of all ages are able to work towards competitive activity. The Level X event will enable swimmers to compete against others from across the country within the comforts of their own club training sessions and submit times to Swim England rankings for races at varying distances with leaderboards to be published by Swim England throughout the competition.

Guildford City SC, City of Coventry, Long Eaton, Basildon and Phoenix SC, City of Norwich, Harrogate, Flitwick Dolphins, Stocksbridge Pentaqua, Camden Swiss Cottage, Trafford Metro and Taunton Deane have been chosen to try out all elements of Level X, which will include timing the races, compiling the results in the correct format and uploading results to Swim England rankings. Swim England Club Growth and Programme Manager, Becky Walker, said: “We’re excited to be testing Level X and ensuring the whole process runs smoothly ahead of the official launch. The pilot clubs were chosen based on those which had completed the return to the water survey to indicate they were back in training and include a mix of larger and smaller clubs, those with paid coaches and volunteer-run clubs. They also have access to Sports Systems and Hytek to test the process of entering the results to rankings. This is a brand new concept so we’re looking forward to seeing how the testing goes and can’t wait to officially open up Level X to all our clubs and members.”

Lee Spindlow, head coach of Guildford City SC said Level X was exactly what is needed at this time. He added: “Being part of this pilot is exciting for all our members. Our management team, coaches, swimmers and parents have come together and worked hard as a team to get the club back up and running and the introduction of competition is exactly what we need to keep the wave of enthusiasm going. During this challenging period, our swimmers have learned some valuable lessons in taking responsibility for their day-to-day actions, being adaptable in our training environment and taking ownership over their respective actions. To see them put this in to practice in a racing environment is actually really exciting for all our coaches.”

Further details will be shared in October with Level X activity commencing later that month and the all-new Level X Leaderboards launching soon after.

Issued 28 September 2020


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