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Divers across the North East Region join together to campaign to open our pools

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

During the last 3 months, diving clubs in the Swim England North East Region have shown great community spirit by working together to provide workouts to motivate divers who have been unable to train in their pools since March.

During this time, the Swim England North East Region has arranged specialist training sessions using Zoom to bring divers from all over the region together to take part in activities such as yoga with Team GB Olympic Silver medalist Leon Taylor and ballet conditioning workouts with Dive London coach Josh Devine.

Sheffield Diving has played a significant part in the team effort. Sheffield hosted the yoga sessions with Leon Taylor whilst Sheffield Diving Team GB Commonwealth Games divers Jack and Ross Haslam, along with fellow Sheffield and GB diver and coach Georgia Davenport, have been offering daily workouts that divers across the country have been accessing and enjoying. All squads have been set daily workouts by their coaches, including regular opportunities for face-to-face contact and social events such as family quizzes and bingo have helped to keep spirits up.

Since Ponds Forge diving pool closed in March, members and their families have completed weekly club challenges and workouts and to celebrate their hard work and commitment, Sheffield Diving set itself a very special team challenge. During the final week of May theyaimed to run, walk and cycle the distance equating to the 2199 miles from the UK to Croatia and onto Rome. That's the distance to all the diving pools between March and July that they would have visited to complete the 2020 competition season. The aim was to travel from Ponds Forge Sports Centre around seven UK diving pools, onto Croatia and then finish at the final competition pool destination in Rome. Divers, family members and friends were invited to join in and clock their mileage or achieve a personal mileage challenge across the week (adhering to government social distancing guidelines of course!)

The results were amazing:

5 coaches and many members completed half marathons;

1 coach completed a Marathon;

2 coaches completed 200 mile bike mileage across the week;

Hundreds of divers, family members, friends and even friends in the diving community as far away as Singapore Diving joined in the mileage.

In the end, an incredible 4195.35 miles was completed so the distanced travelled was back to the UK again from Rome.Helped by match funding from Swim England, a fantastic £5,070 was raised to help secure the future running of the club during this potentially catastrophic period, as all the usual fundraising activities had been unable to go ahead as normal.

Sheffield Diving’s Head Coach Tom Owens said, “It is hard to overstate how important our club is to its members and their communities. The mental and physical wellbeing of our divers is greatly enhanced by being involved in the sport and it has been really encouraging to see how our club and others across the region and the country have pulled together to try to keep everyone motivated and on track during this time. Families are pleased to know that their children are being supported and we have learned to appreciate how positive being in a sports club can be.”

However, there was dismay when the prime minster announced last week that indoor swimming pools will remain closed. The diving community immediately rallied together, lobbying MPs to get behind their #OpenOurPools campaign. Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson has said millions of people are being let down by the Government’s decision not to allow pools to reopen on 4 July.

She added, “If pools cannot open from the 4 July, the Government is jeopardising the physical and mental wellbeing of millions of people, preventing a generation of children from learning to swim and enabling them to have fun in, on and around water – as well as halting the future of potential Olympic champions.”

Despite calling on the prime minister Boris Johnson prior to his announcement and submitting evidence about the impact the coronavirus has had on the sector, the Swim England Chief Executive has expressed her dismay and frustration with this decision and is calling on all Swim England members, clubs, coaches, teachers, swim schools, swimmers and facility operators to back its #OpenOurPools campaign.

Swim England has already provided comprehensive guidance to all clubs of all disciplines and are working together with pool operators to ensure pools across the UK can be reopened safely. Disciplined sports such as diving are used to social distancing measures and following rules and officials are confident that reopening can be managed safely and responsibly.

For now Swim England is keen to work with the government as Jane Nickerson added,“It’s time the Government did the right thing for the leisure industry and the health of the nation by reopening pools and we’re keen to work closely with them to ensure this happens sooner rather than later.”

Please help local your local swimming and diving clubs by signing the Swim England petition on their website to #OpenOurPools

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