16 March 2020
Swim England has cancelled a number of forthcoming events due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The decision has been taken following the Government’s announcement to implement increased social distancing, avoid crowds gathering and carrying out any unnecessary travel.
All competitions organised by the national governing body that are scheduled to be held between now and the end of May have been called off.
That includes the preliminary and qualification rounds and finals for the Water Polo National Age Group Championships for U17s and U19s boys and girls and the Artistic Swimming National Championships.
The British Masters Championships, which is organised and hosted by Swim England, will also not take place.
Entry fees and spectator tickets for all cancelled events will be refunded.
Swim England will look at the potential of rescheduling the events later in the year if that proves to be viable.
Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “Cancelling events is not a decision to take lightly but following the latest announcement by the Government, it’s only right and fair to our members and clubs that we made an announcement sooner rather than later.
“We hope this will allow people to cancel hotels and travel arrangements with the minimum of cost.
“We understand the frustration of those who have been training hard for our national competitions but the health and wellbeing of our athletes, coaches and volunteers is of paramount importance to us.
“Ideally, we would like to rearrange these events and we will look into that but it may not prove to be possible which is why we are refunding all entry fees and spectator tickets.
“We’d like to apologise to everyone for any inconvenience and disappointment these cancellations will cause but hope you understand this decision has been taken out of our hands due to the unprecedented situation we are facing.”
Continue to review advice
Currently, the Swim England Diving National Age Group Championships is still scheduled to go ahead at the beginning of June.
Jane added: “We will continue to review advice from Government agencies and liaise with the venue operators in relation to our events and competitions from June onwards.
“Sadly, this virus is impacting our sport at a key time for open meets and regional championships. Whilst Swim England cannot dictate to regions and clubs, we do strongly suggest that the advice of the Government is heeded.
“We understand the concerns around the qualifying window for the Swim England Summer Meet, which is impacted by the British Swimming Summer Championships.
“It has been agreed that the current window will be suspended and a technical meeting will take place this week to determine a process for issuing invitations for these meets.
“At present the Government has not closed schools or restricted school activity and therefore we do not see any reason why clubs should not continue with their training programmes in their own environment within the guidelines of the facility.
“We do not recommend training camps take place with members from different clubs.
“I am really sorry we are in a position whereby events are cancelled and we are recommending a curtailment of activities.
“However, this will not last for ever and we all need to work together to protect ourselves and each other.”
Meanwhile, the organisers of Swimathon have also announced the Swimathon 2020 event weekend – scheduled to take place between 27-29 March – has been postponed until later in the year.