It has been a long wait but, thankfully a number of pools are starting to reopen and we can go swimming again! Just like me, I know so many of you have missed swimming dreadfully. It’s the space swimming gives us in our life, the zen of it, the friendships and the attention to our physical and mental wellbeing that we miss so much. I was thrilled to see the first pools reopen on Saturday and everyone in our sport has worked so hard to create a Covid safe environment. It has been a fantastic effort so well done to all. Sadly I’m not at all confident that all pools are going to reopen however and, as President of Swimathon, I feel it’s really important that you should know this as together we can help to save many of these pools.
Swim England have identified a sizeable number of swimming pools that will be unlikely to open for a period of time – and potentially be lost forever - unless we can convince the government of the essential need for them to reopen. Together we are a force for good. Over the past 33 years our Swimathon Community has raised £54 million for charitable causes and more than 750,000 of you have taken part – it’s amazing - you are amazing. But right now, we all need to pull together and help send a message to our government that funding is needed for local authorities to protect swimming pools and leisure facilities. We can swim in the pools that do open and encourage everybody else to swim. This will send a clear message that our sport is loved, needed and wanted. By taking part in Swimathon, you will have more reason to go down to your pool more regularly to train and complete your challenge, you will be talking to friends about swimming and highlighting the benefits of the sport.
You will have an opportunity to tell people about your challenge, how wonderful swimming is, highlight the incredible work Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK are doing and how these charities need your support.
You can educate your friends and family on how crucial pools are in our communities and, in doing this, you will be helping others in our community so much. (see further information below). All you have to do is pick a distance and take part in MySwimathon, talk to as many people as possible and swim, swim, swim. Your swimming experience at your local pool is now going to be slightly different because of social distancing so please ensure that you are aware of all the latest guidance.
You will have to book a slot for each swim you have, so be sure to contact your pool before going down and booking your swim in. Tip: make sure that you have some flexibility in when you swim as certain times might be fully booked. Who knows, you might find a new time that you really love! I am also very pleased to say that as part of MySwimathon, we are trialling a new tracker so that swimmers with fitness devices can automatically upload their swims. We hope this is just the start of our commitment to driving forward innovation within swimming and the aim is for this to be bigger, better and available to all Swimathon participants next year. With pools now starting to reopen, it is a very special time for all swimmers. Together it is our chance to make sure that swimming returns to good health. We can do this by swimming more regularly and taking part in a MySwimathon challenge, which can be done in one session or spread across multiple sessions.
Do please dive in for yourself, your community, our worthy charities and, of course, our amazing sport. And, please don’t forget to tell absolutely everyone that pools are back as our children need our pools to remain open so they can learn the vital life skill of swimming. You know, this month marks the 40th Anniversary of when I won my Olympic gold medal. It was the most amazing experience. Being involved with bringing swimming back to life is also amazing and incredibly important to our communities so please join us all in bringing swimming back to life!
Duncan Goodhew, Swimathon President