Swim Wales Welcomes Pools Reopening on 10 August: Scottish Frustration With September Delay

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Photo Courtesy: pixabay.com

Swim Wales has welcomed the news that swimming pools will be able to reopen from Monday 10 August following an announcement on Friday by the Welsh Government.

The announcement came six days after indoor pools in England were allowed to welcome back swimmers – although many local authority-owned facilities have not yet opened or have done so at reduced capacity.

That has led to Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson pleading with the Government to provide financial support with 30% of public pools to remain closed until 2021.

This is an issue that could well play out across the United Kingdom given the loss of income during the closures as a result of COVID-19.

Scottish swimming July

Photo Courtesy: Scottish Swimming Twitter

Pools in Scotland will have to wait until 14 September to possibly reopen, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday.

She said the decision would be reviewed in three weeks to see if the date could be brought forward to late August.

That, however, prompted a strongly-worded response from Graeme Marchbank, chair of Scottish Swimming, who said:

“I’m bitterly disappointed after hearing the First Minister’s statement.

“Finally after all our continuous hard work we at least have a date for the opening of the pools. However, I am sure that all of our membership and staff are as frustrated with this outcome as I am.

“We will continue to press sportscotland and the Scottish Government directly to push for an earlier return to the water.”

Swim Wales Statement

In stark contrast to the news that swimmers will have to wait a further six weeks in Scotland, Swim Wales CEO Fergus Feeney welcomed the fact that pools will be able to reopen in 10 days.

Swim Wales July

Photo Courtesy: Swim Wales

In a statement, Feeney said:

“Dear valued member of the aquatic family, I hope you continue to stay safe and well.   We are thrilled (as you are) to hear the announcement today from the First Minister/Welsh Government that pools can re-open to all of our 11 users groups from Monday the 10th of August 2020.

“As many of you will know, for several weeks now Swim Wales has been focussed on developing and publishing high level user guidance for each and every one of our 500,000 participants across Wales. We wanted to ensure that everyone had the necessary safe practices to prepare for and aid their return.

“In parallel, we have worked closely with Welsh Government, Arts, Culture & Sport Division and TAC (Technical Advisory Cell) who provide scientific and technical advice to support Welsh Government decision makers during emergencies. This regular contact ensured that we were aligned throughout in terms of our guidance, health & medical reports to aid confidence levels on pool re-opening across Wales.

“A range of resources to support clubs and individuals in this second phase of returning to water has also been produced and are available for you to view here on the Swim Wales website. I am extremely proud of and grateful to our staff at Swim Wales, and to the wonderful volunteers we have across the country who have worked tirelessly to support our communities, our coaches, our athletes and our clubs, we have all played our part in this!

“Swim Wales will continue to work with Welsh Government and Sport Wales to review our current guidelines and assess when we can move to phase three of our phased return. Our attention will immediately turn to supporting the ‘places for sport’ and our facility partners (Local Authorities, Community Trusts, Operators) to ensure that our member clubs and participant groups have smooth transition back to the facilities and activities that they need. For now, we celebrate our collective achievement today and I thank you all sincerely.

“Aquatics for Everyone for Life”

 


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