WYCOMBE DISTRICT SWIMMING CLUB

Return to the Pool - Guidance Released

Simon Shaw

Swim England Guidance

Today Swim England have published their long-awaited guidance on the return to swimming pools.  This is great news for us all, but we do not yet have a date when the pools will be open again, so there is no immediate return to training. Our online services will continue at the same time we will be preparing for a return to the pool.

What will training look like?

What will training look like under the guidance?  Well it's not easy to answer that question now, these guidelines are complex, and we will need to work through them. Some things though are clear; particularly that this is not a return to normal training. Measures will be in place in pools that involve ‘social distancing’, both in and out of the water. Further it’s more than just maintaining a fixed distance apart, it’s about time in proximity, it’s about ventilation, it’s about disinfection and it’s about cleaning.

We can't be certain yet, but our current view is that training will involve fewer swimmers in the pool than normal. We will also need gaps in the programme to enable us to keep our distance as we enter and leave the centre and to allow necessary cleaning to take place. So actual time in the pool each session could be shorter.  Swimmers won't be hanging around in the showers and will probably need to arrive clean and pool ready and may have to depart without having showered on site.

Social Distancing

The choice of the phrase ‘social distancing’ can easily give the wrong impression. We want you to come back as a team; we want to swim together, to meet with friends, but we will have to keep a physical distance between us.

We understandably tend to think of distancing as about protecting ourselves from the virus. These measures are better thought of as being designed to stop you passing the virus on to others, as you may not even realise that you have it. Those others include the public and all our team, the people you swim with, the people who swim after you, and the coaches and pool staff.  The measures will inconvenience you, but we need you to take responsibility and comply for the sake of the whole of Wycombe Swimming #oneteam.

The swimmers’ behaviour and adherence to whatever measures are in place, both in and out of the pool, is key to us being able to swim. It is key to the health of the team and their families. You will not be able to swim if feeling unwell, if you have any virus symptoms or you should be isolating for any other reason. You will also need to adhere to distancing rules outside the centre as you come and go.

Good news

The good news for Wycombe swimmers is that we access to a pool built very recently. It’s a 50m pool so has lots of space and unlike many pools it has big, 2.3m wide lanes. The ventilation and disinfection systems in the pool are modern and good quality and are expected to meet and to exceed the guidelines.  The operator is keen to reopen the pool and we are in constant dialogue with them.

The downside is other pools are not so good, some pools may not reopen immediatley or ever, other clubs and swimmers will be looking for opportunities to swim. This will may lead to an initial higher demand for public swimming, though public sessions will have similar ‘social distancing’ requirements and they will be harder for the pool operators to run and enforce than for us as a club.

Gentle start

When swimmers start back they are unlikely to start on the same number of hours that they were swimming before lockdown it will be a gentle start. Our coaches are looking at a programme that will bring swimmers back properly, retain their skills and reduce the potential for injury. To have so many swimmers rested for so long is a new experience for swimming; normally swimmers are only out long term with individual injuries.

Please comply with the guidance of the coaches on this.trying to add additional ‘public sessions may adversely affect the work they are doing and  further will create additional demand for public swimming.This in turn will put pressure on the Club’s ability to hire lanes, in the end you could end up paying more for less swimming.

Your support is vital to us restarting

Not only will we need all swimmers to stick rigidly to the new swimming protocols, we will need additional help monitoring them. Your support is vital to us restarting we will be seeking to appoint parents to help us, we need you to volunteer in order to be able to run our sessions. This will not be a difficult task and we will provide simple training to help and it will mean that you watch the session.

Next steps

The next steps for us are to work on our proposed protocols, to ensure they meet the requirements of our risk assessments, and to discuss these with the pool operator. We need to develop the procedures and work out a new pool programme with Places Leisure. All this in an environment of fast changing rules nationally. We will need to provide all returning swimmers with guidance on what to do and how to do it before they restart.

We will shortly be releasing a questionnaire to all members. We need you to fill this in to help us plan - if you don’t return it, we won’t be able to provide for your return.

We need to put the key volunteers in place and then wait for the announcement that the pools can open, and we can train again.  If you do not volunteer, we will not be able to train; if we aren't able to train we may lose the pool time altogether.

We expect all this to happen in the next few weeks depending on government advice – so please read the emails we send and reply, if necessary and as soon as you are able.

 

We look forward to seeing you soon.