Coronavirus: New swimming guidance reveals what you can and can’t do when pools reopen

Ross McGuinness
·4 min read
 Young water polo players train in the Olympic swimming pool. Indoor Olympic swimming pool in Kranj reopened after two months of lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Luka Dakskobler / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Swimming pools in the UK are yet to reopen after being closed during the coronavirus lockdown. (PA)

Swimmers in England have been told what they can and can’t do once pools reopen when coronavirus lockdown eases further.

Facilities were forced to close in March alongside gyms and other public spaces as strict measures were introduced to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The government doesn’t plan on reopening leisure facilities such as swimming pools until 4 July at the earliest, as a top scientist warned it will be “very surprising” if there isn’t a second coronavirus spike.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

However, Swim England, the national governing body for swimming, has issued a series of guidelines in preparation for pools reopening their doors.

Swimmers have been warned they will need to get used to a “new normal” when they return to the water.

What swimmers should do

Pools are being encouraged to only offer sessions that can be booked in advance and apply one-way systems poolside to help keep swimmers apart.

Swim England recommends arriving with a swimming costume under clothes and showering at home to reduce the amount of time spent in changing rooms.

Swimmers should shower before leaving home and when they get back from the pool.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Once they have finished swimming, users should leave the venue as soon as possible.

Swimmers should bring hand sanitiser with them to the pool, Swim England said, but they should also use the venue’s hand sanitiser and wash stations where available.

Before pushing off at each turn in the pool, swimmers should check to see if anyone faster is approaching.

Swimmers should stay hydrated by bringing their own pre-filled water bottle to the poolside.

What swimmers should NOT do

Swimmers have been told not to go to the pool if they are showing any COVID-19 symptoms such as high temperature, cough, difficulty breathing or loss of taste or smell.

When in the pool, users should not make physical contact with other swimmers.

 Foto Cecilia Fabiano/ LaPresse 25 Maggio 2020 Roma (Italia) Cronaca Fase 2 : riapertura delle piscine Nella Foto : il circolo sportivo Due Ponti Photo Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse May 25, 2020 Rome (Italy) News Phase 2: reopening of the swimming pool In the pic : Due Ponti Sporting club
Swimmers will be told to avoid using strokes like the butterfly at busy times in the pool. (PA)

People will be asked to avoid wide strokes such as the butterfly at busy times.

They have also been told not to overtake other pool users in order to maintain social distancing in the water.

What did Swim England say?

Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson said: “When pools reopen it will not be a case of business as usual and we know that things will have to be different.

“However, if we are to play our part in protecting the NHS from another wave of COVID-19 admissions it is important we follow the latest guidance and adjust to the new normal.”

Watch the video below

When will swimming pools reopen?

Pools will not reopen until 4 July at the earliest, but Swim England said some facilities may not be ready when they are given the go-ahead by the government.

Nickerson said: “While the guidance contains vital information on how to reopen facilities, unfortunately it doesn’t include the key date on when pools can open.

“We will continue to lobby the government for a reopening date but, ultimately, we have to be guided by them on this.”

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

Read more about COVID-19

How to get a coronavirus test if you have symptoms
How easing of lockdown rules affects you
In pictures: How UK school classrooms could look in new normal
How public transport could look after lockdown
How our public spaces will change in the future

Help and advice

Read the full list of official FAQs here
10 tips from the NHS to help deal with anxiety
What to do if you think you have symptoms
How to get help if you've been furloughed