Update – 20.03.20 (09:40)

Public Swimming

At the moment there seems to be some leeway on people exercising, as long as it can be undertaken in the full context of the social distancing guidance. We have, therefore, started to make some swim sets available to use.

To be clear, it is up to individuals to determine whether it is appropriate to swim at any given time and to manage the risks to themselves and others if they choose to do so. Just because we have provided a set does not mean we are advising you to swim during this period but we do recognise the importance of exercise and of swimming to our members.

The general social distancing measures that are most relevant in the context of exercising are:

  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family
  • Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid peak times and unnecessary interactions

For additional swimming guidance you should carefully consider the following;

  • Any swimmer with an underlying health condition should not swim
  • Any swimmer with a sibling or parent / grandparent who lives with them, with an underlying health condition should not swim
  • When you arrive at a pool facility check pool numbers to see whether it is possible to swim with reasonable personal space
  • Personal hygiene when out of the water is still of the utmost importance, and other surfaces like door handles and changing benches could be a risk area, especially given the humid environment, therefore swimmers should shower with soap before and after swimming and disinfect hands after pushing and pulling door handles or touching lockers.
  • Avoid congregating with others in hallways and corridors outside of the pool hall or reception of facilities
  • If parents are attending, please wait in open areas of facilities or in car parks in their vehicles
  • Maintain clean swimming kit and towels, using a high 60 degree wash to kill any bugs

In order to be personally and socially responsible, we strongly advise you to follow the above measures if you choose to go swimming.

Update for Squad Members – 19.03.20 (14:50)

Following yesterdays news we have obviously had a number of queries come through, which we have attempted to answer below as they no-doubt have wider interest. I would also like to thank everyone who has emailed their support and acted with such positivity and empathy. This was also reflected in the response from lessons members who, in significant numbers, have been very quick to donate their fees from their last few lost Spring term lessons to the club.

Squad Member Contributions

As per the email sent out yesterday, we are asking each squad member to make a ‘place holder’ contribution, for want of a better name, to the club. There are two levels to this, some squads will pay £20 a month, whilst others will pay £35.

Monthly contributions of £35 – Senior Elite, Junior Elite, Performance, Performance Development, Aspire, Advance

Monthly contributions of £20 – Preparation, Development, Foundation, Masters, Senior Fitness, Junior Fitness

These are the only payments we are asking of you in the short-term. For your ease and ours, we will be temporarily altering your normal recurring direct debit to the new contribution level. We are in the process of altering these today out of necessity (they get ‘locked-in’ after today), and they will be sent out as per the normal automated invoicing schedule tomorrow. Apologies that this seems like an uncomfortable level of quickness between asking for contributions and adjusting direct debits, however we are trying to work within our existing systems and processes.


Changing and Challenging Personal Circumstances

Our intention is not to place undue pressure on those whose personal circumstances change during this period. If this is you please get in contact with us and we can discuss your situation.

Fitness, flexibility, nutrition and motivation

It will take us a number of days to determine what we want to do, how we want to do it and then to get it set up, but I’m sure in the meantime we will distribute some simple opportunities / information to use or tap into.

At the moment there seems to be some leeway on people exercising, as long as it can be undertaken in the full context of the social distancing guidance. We may make some swim sets available to use, and provide a reminder about the social distancing guidance and more specific swim guidance. However, it will up to individuals to determine whether it is appropriate to swim at any given time. Just because we have provided a set does not mean we encourage you to swim during this period.

Upcoming Competitions

Following on from the message from Swim England, the majority of clubs have cancelled their upcoming open meets. There are currently 2 meets that swimmers from our club are entered into, Guildford L1 meet and Bournemouth Rising Stars meet.

Guildford have sent a confirmation that the meet will be postponed until further notice. they will be issuing the club a refund for the fees we have paid. Swimmers had not been invoiced for this meet yet so there is nothing further to do.

Bournemouth Rising Stars meet – we have this morning received the confirmation that this meet will also be postponed. They do not as yet have a future date for this meet. However, in the meantime they will be issuing a refund to our club of all fees paid. We, in turn, will credit your accounts for the fees you have already paid.

With the current level of uncertainty, we do not know when swimming will start up again. With this in mind we are not planning to enter any other meets. As soon as the situation improves, we will of course reconsider the competition calendar and look forward to supporting the postponed meets.

Olympic trialists

We are endeavouring to have one exception to our broad ‘no-swimming’ policy and this relates to those swimmers with Olympic Trials still on the horizon. This potentially once in a lifetime opportunity, coupled with how we believe the risks can be carefully managed for the swimmers and broader community with such as small group, means we are comfortable to see what may be possible whilst pools remain open. This will be kept under constant review int the context of the current Government guidance and British Swimming’s approach to qualification.

Update – 18.03.20

Dear Members, thank-you for your patience whilst members of the Trustees, coaching and administrative team met to determine a way forward. I’m sure you can appreciate these are challenging and fast-moving times.

The decision has been made to cancel all swim lessons, training sessions and competitions with immediate effect. This was the decision of the Trustees, and was subsequently supported by Swim England’s own position. The decision was made putting the welfare of the community first.

We recognise that the implications of this decision are far reaching and that swimmers, and by association families, will be affected by not having the opportunity to learn, train, socialise, compete, release energy, etc.

As part of the Trustees discussions, they wanted to go beyond just informing people of cancelled sessions. As such, we intend to be transparent about our position and it was felt important that members have clarity to be able to reflect on their own circumstances. Planning for this current period has been based on looking at an initial three to six-month window, and the potential implications within and beyond that window.

Although we can heavily reduce our financial exposure immediately, and then further over the next six weeks, you reach a point where those costs can no longer be reduced without significant changes. The bulk of these final costs are our valuable front-line and administrative teams. In addition, our biggest financial risk will not be covering the fixed costs during this period but loss of income from lost members both throughout this period and when we restart. The implication here meaning we would run at an ongoing loss until we re-filled those member positions.  This element of the current situation is the most unknown.

A significant majority of the short-term costs and longer-term losses will be absorbed by the reserves we have managed to secure over the last few years but we are asking our squad members to pay a contribution over the coming months, whilst we are asking our lessons members to donate the fees associated with their lost spring term lessons. We appreciate that not everybody will be in a position to do this.

Additional and more detailed arrangements have been sent to lessons and squad members by email.

Update – 17.01.20 (14:30)

Following the updated guidance from the Government late yesterday afternoon, Kings School and the ATR have now closed their facility to community use. Other facilities haven’t followed suit yet but may well do. The guidance from Swim England is not clear as of yet and our Trustees will not have the opportunity to discuss these challenges and our position until this evening’s emergency meeting. With swimmer and community safety at the forefront of our mind, we are taking the unfortunate decision to cancel all training until we are in a clearer position tomorrow. This includes this evening’s and tomorrow morning’s sessions at River Park, as well as all sessions at the ATR and Kings School.

We will update again tomorrow, but there will be major disruption to the programme regardless of the discussions.  These are unprecedented times and will provide many challenges and uncertainties but we intend to discuss and address those with integrity and positivity.

Update – 17.03.20 (08:30)

Like others, we are aware of the guidance from the Government which was announced late yesterday afternoon. We will be liaising with the relevant local and national bodies today to establish what the guidance is for swimming and ourselves. If the guidance is clear we will endeavour to make a decision on the continuation of activities during the day, if not we will be finalising our position with our Board of Trustees this evening. There is a high likelihood that community facilities will close today at the request of local councils or for other reasons. Please assume activities are on until we advise to the contrary but keep a close eye out for member emails or this webpage for updated information. We are also keen to remind people that if you, or other household members, are symptomatic please refrain from attending.

Update 11.03.20 – Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) advice

Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) has received many enquiries about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) following on from the e-newsletter about decontamination guidance for non-healthcare settings dated Friday 6 March.

There are questions that are consistently being asked as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops.

Is it still safe to go swimming at this time? Can the virus be transmitted through the pool water?

PWTAG has consulted with Public Health England who have told us: “We have checked with our national leads who confirm that coronavirus would be inactivated at the levels of chlorine used in swimming pools.”

Public Health opinion is that it is generally safe to go swimming at this time. Water and the chlorine within swimming pools will help to kill the virus. Of concern, though, is the interaction that pool users have with each other beyond the swimming activity. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is evolving and characteristics of the virus are still being determined.

For everyone’s safety, PWTAG is urging the management and owners of swimming pools to ensure:

  • Frequent, regular, testing of the pool water for pH and disinfectant levels.
  • That pH and disinfectant levels comply with PWTAG guidance in the Code of Practice.
  • Monthly bacteriological tests of pool water are carried out by an UKAS approved laboratory.
  • And to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the pool environment, ensuring a frequent and regular cleansing regime of all areas used by the public.

Public Health England novel coronavirus what you need to know blog

Users of swimming pools, on the other hand, are directed to shower before entering the pool to remove impurities typically found on bodies, and to shower on leaving the pool. They also are directed to observe good public hygiene practices.

Above all, bathers who are unwell should be discouraged from using the pool. Follow the guidance on page 34 in the Code of Practice on “when not to swim”.

Update 11.03.20 – Forest of Bere Meet

There is no present advice to close schools or to cancel events, including sporting fixtures, in the UK. I have been in contact with South East Region Swimming this morning and they have confirmed that the Regional position is that “that events are planned to go ahead unless the directive from Government or Swim England changes”.

Hence at present we are planning to go ahead with the Meet on Saturday. It seems unlikely that the guidance will change this week. However we will of course inform you urgently if we receive any advice from either Swim England, or the venue, that anything does need to change.

The following information has been sent out by Swim England to Clubs and provides some useful links to the most up-to-date information.

The Government has issued advice around travel to and from certain areas as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops. Please read the latest advice here. This is updated regularly.

We’d like to take this opportunity to remind all clubs running events, training sessions or trips abroad that they must inform participants, coaches, volunteers and spectators of the hygiene precautions to help reduce the spread of infection. For the latest infection control advice, please click here.

It is our expectation that Swim England members will comply with the latest Government and NHS guidance. This can be found on the Public Health England website. If you feel unwell, please call NHS 111 for advice.

Swim England will be continuing to plan for our events as normal but we will be following Government guidance and assessing risk as appropriate. We will be issuing specific guidance regarding forthcoming Swim England events as necessary to those due to attend.

The key messages are to observe all the hygiene measures in the above link and, if you are unwell, use the NHS 111 Online service for further advice. Please do NOT attend the meet if you are unwell with symptoms that could be consistent with Coronavirus, unless you have had official health advice that you are not at risk.

We will finalise the programme in the next couple of days and this will be available on our Club Website


Coronavirus update – all lessons and training still on

We continue to carefully monitor the situation and to follow the advice issued by Public Health England.

There are no recommendations from PHE that group / sporting activities shouldn’t go-ahead at this time. In addition, we are not currently aware of any staff or swimmers having visited specific areas of concern, or that have been diagnosed with the virus.

Obviously, we use swimming pools that are also used by other groups. We are aware of one other community leisure facility in the country that has closed for 24 hours for a deep clean following a visitor subsequently being diagnosed, so disruption to out normal programme is still possible..  If our pools are required to close in following PHE guidance we will update you as soon as possible. We are not providing any specific guidance on the use of the leisure facilities we use but are advocating use of the general guidance on preventing the spread of the virus, which can be found on the NHS website here; NHS website. This has more information about how coronavirus is spread and answers common questions about the virus.

Whilst Coronavirus COVID-19 is an issue, we politely ask that if anyone meets the conditions set out by Public Health England in relation to recent travel and Coronavirus COVID 19 (see conditions here) that you do not attend our lessons or training sessions to minimise the risk to the community. We ask that you maintain your absence until the PHE advised period of time has passed and you no longer meet the conditions. We also politely ask that you let us know of your absence, and the reason for it, so we can mitigate against further risks.