Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has been left with ‘mixed feelings’ over the ‘cautious’ reopening of swimming pools – as over 18s face a further frustrating wait before being allowed to train with their clubs.
Outdoor swimming pools and lidos plus open water venues will be allowed to open from 29 March in the first wave of easing lockdown restrictions after schools resume on 8 March.
Five weeks later, from 12 April, indoor pools can reopen for individual use or within household groups. Indoor children’s activities – including club sessions for all under 18s in all aquatic sports and learn to swim lessons – are also allowed to resume from this date.
Organised indoor adult sport, including club activities and group water-based activities for over 18s such as health and wellbeing classes, will be allowed five weeks after step two – no earlier than 17 May.
“We appreciate that many will have been hoping for an earlier reopening date but we understand the need to be cautious as we don’t want to end up in another lockdown in the future. While I’m delighted that outdoor and indoor pools can reopen at the earliest available opportunity allowed by the government, it’s still a bitter sweet moment for our thousands and thousands of over 18 club members,” says Nickerson
“Of course, adults will be allowed to get back in the water when pools reopen but, for so many of them, it will mean they have been unable to train with their clubs for more than six months by the time the indoor restrictions on adult organised sport are eased,” she said.
Club-arranged land training in groups can resume outdoors from 29 March but this is not a substitute for being in the water, says Nickerson.
“That’s why we shall be urging the government to reconsider this restriction and allow adult organised activity to take place in the second wave when indoor pools reopen.”
“Our clubs and recreational swimmers cannot simply rely on outdoor pools and lidos which is why all activity should be allowed when indoor pools can reopen on 12 April.”