Swim England is to begin issuing licenses for level four single club competitions in time for Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown.
It means the recognised national governing body’s affiliated clubs will be able to stage competitive events once again, subject to the Government’s targets for the easing of restrictions being met.
Swim England has now released its Return to Competition guidance for event promoters ahead of the country moving into Step 3, which is due to take place no earlier than Monday 17 May.
Tom Baster, the chair of the Swim England Swimming Leadership Group, said: “The release of the Swim England Return to Competition guidance takes us an exciting step closer to what we’re all looking forward to – a return of competitive swimming events.
“We’re delighted to be at the point where we can begin issuing licenses to give clubs the opportunity to stage level four single club competitions once again.
“In line with the Government’s own gradual easing of restrictions, the return to competition will need to be similarly phased in its return and, with social distancing remaining in place until at least late June, it is unlikely that any galas this season will resemble galas of old.
“However, this philosophy, at least in the short term, will create much-longed for racing opportunities for swimmers.
“We do hope, however, that our plans will lead to the full and normal return of racing as soon as possible.”
The Swimming Leadership Group has staged a series of meetings with key personnel to formulate and publish a timeline for the safe and successful reintroduction of competitive swimming in all its forms.
The release of the Return to Competition guidance will be followed up with a webinar on 21 April to provide event promoters with further support and guidance and to answer any specific questions they may have when considering how to plan and stage a meet/gala.
Places can be booked on the webinar by clicking here.
Licensing applications for a single club level four competition will then reopen from Monday 26 April.
It is hoped that licensing applications for all levels will reopen on Tuesday 1 June with meets commencing from 21 June, which is the Government’s target date for all restrictions to be lifted.
In the meantime, Swim England has launched the second series of Level X Racing and has worked closely with British Swimming and other home nations on the proposed summer Festival of Swimming.
Tom added: “We are committed to delivering on this plan but acknowledge the commitment we have to members in providing them with the opportunity to compete in galas again and to provide crucial racing opportunities.
“The return of level four single club competitions will help towards this goal, as will the second series of Level X Racing.
“Series 2 will now run until 22 August, to enable all swimmers, including those scheduled to return to the pool on 17 May, the opportunity to compete.
“Additionally, younger age group categories have been created for the Leaderboard Competition to increase the reach of the initiative to all Category 2 members, irrespective of age.
“On behalf of the Swim England Swimming Leadership Group, I thank you for your incredible patience and, like you, hope we will be back at safe and secure events very soon.”