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BSCA response to Government COVID-19 update (10/05/2020)

May 12, 2020

The BSCA has noted the Prime Minister’s statement upon the latest COVID 19 restrictions of the 10/05/2020 and subsequent statements by a number of agencies following it and the clarifications that have been issued with respect to Open Water Swimming.

Following these we have received a number of comments from coach members in respect of the specific matters concerning that activity. The BSCA broadly supports the Swim England statement & recognises the importance of the caveats highlighted within it.

The comments made to the BSCA from members concern adhoc statements made through social media & elsewhere and queries we have either noted or received, from those experienced in this area.

The BSCA has a significant number of members who have undergone & completed relevant training in the pursuit of Open Water Swimming.

The number of comments received are crystallised in this response from a senior coach who has supported Swim England Open Water programmes & been successful in such at a national & international level:

My concern following the announcements is that unfortunately some people now appear to think it is okay to organise open water training which, in my opinion, it is not.

It rightly says you can go for a swim in an open water environment but not as part of a coaching group for social distancing reasons.

I have today seen uncertified Coaches who think that it is ok to do this & hence will be putting themselves at risk and endangering swimmers.

Normal open water training requires a number of coaches/lifeguards etc which immediately means that they would be breaking social distancing rules.

If they decide to continue without the necessary safety measures in place to adhere to social distancing then they would not be covered from a health and safety point of view & their insurance would likely be null & void.”

The BSCA has also noted the RLSS statement of the same date & commends its clear & unequivocal wording regarding the overall impacts of swimming in an open water environment at this time & the wider strains this may place upon the emergency services as well as the NHS more generally. We ask that members read this and consider it alongside the Swim England statement.

Whilst the BSCA recognises why there is such enthusiasm to get back to swimming in almost any shape or form, we were concerned to see such potentially dangerous actions being considered by coaches & swimmers at this time. We are happy to support all the home nations in reinforcing the safety message beyond coronavirus that regardless of experience & ability, open water swimming is inherently dangerous and it is vital that the safety measures required of the activity, are adhered to.

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