Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson gives an update on the reopening guidance, articles in the national media and why a trip to the pool will be very different when lockdown is eased.
In two weeks’ time, we shall be releasing detailed guidance on the reopening of pools.
You may have seen articles in the media over the weekend which highlighted some of the recommendations that are likely to be in the report.
We make no excuse for talking to the national press. We want Swim England and all our aquatic disciplines to be at the forefront of the Government’s thinking as they plan for the next stage of easing the lockdown.
We revealed details to try and manage expectations of what is likely to happen if – and it still is an if – pools do reopen, as we hope they will, on 4 July.
At this time, we are bound by the Government on when we’ll be able to get back to the sports we all love.
One thing is clear – initially things aren’t going to be the same when pools do reopen.
We will have to adhere to social distancing guidelines in changing rooms, the poolside and the water itself as well of the rest of the building and be more mindful of our surroundings
Some pools may request that there are fewer non-swimming individuals dryside to help them comply with these guidelines.
Rest assured, though, children will continue to be welcomed into pools to learn to swim and enjoy the water safely.
Our aim is to ensure this guidance is extremely comprehensive and covers the wide range of pool users.
To achieve that goal, we have been consulting closely 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.
I would like to reassure you this consultation has been wide-reaching and that’s another reason why it hasn’t been rushed out.
For clubs, the guidance will help to guide their decisions and support them to take an approach that meets their needs and is appropriate and safe for their circumstances.
It will also highlight to everyone who visits a facility, for whatever reason, the constraints and major financial challenges that operators now face.
A trip to the pool will be very different when the Government gives facilities the green light to reopen.
Thankfully, we are moving forward in a positive way and the guidance being released on Monday 15 June is another step closer to achieving our long-awaited return.
Jane M Nickerson
This article first appeared on the Swim England website, swimming.org.