Monday, August 31, 2020 First Steps Back to the Water Today, for the first time in nearly six months, a small number of club swimmers will be able to experience their first pool swim after lockdown. This follows the Government announcement on 20th August that pools can open from 31st August. The reality is that only a few pools are in a position to open their doors today as most facility providers continue to follow and finalise the guidance, making the preparations needed to resume aquatic activity over the next few weeks. Euan Lowe, CEO of Scottish Swimming commented “While it is great that some pools can re-open from today, we know that there is a phased approach being applied to pool re-opening in different areas. It’s a step in the right direction for those who are lucky enough to swim today but we look forward to many more of our members getting ‘back to the water’ over the coming weeks.” For those fortunate enough to be back in the water today there will likely be mixed emotions - a sense of excitement and anticipation coupled with relief and perhaps a fear of the new norm. Swimming is a way of life for many and a chosen path for thousands of club swimmers across Scotland where friendships are formed, goals are fulfilled and fun is shared. Getting “back to the water” in its new form will take a bit of getting used to but much can be learned from the experiences of performance athletes who have been back in the water for a few weeks now. Katie Goodburn of Warrender Baths Club commented “During lockdown, like many others, I joined in various zoom workouts provided by my club and Scottish Swimming and despite working hard to keep my fitness levels up over the 18 weeks, it’s difficult to replicate the feeling of being in the water.” “One of the best things [about being back] is interacting with fellow swimmers.” Katie Robertson of University of Edinburgh commented “The social aspect of the sport has always been really important and something I missed a lot during my time out of the pool.” “Whilst maintaining social distancing measures we’ve not quite been able to interact in the usual way but we’re still able to chat, laugh and motivate each other from our lanes.” Among the first clubs to get back to the water are Helensburgh Amateur Swimming Club (HASC) who have their higher performing squads in today at Helensburgh swimming pool. Alex McEwan of HASC commented: “The Leisure Trust, Live Argyll, has been great to work with in recent weeks, communicating risk assessments and operational procedures regularly and we have also had valuable support from Scottish Swimming through regular training workshops and online sessions to help us prepare our club and members for getting back to the water.” “Our members are delighted to be back and we will see different squads all getting a chance to swim this week on different days with new protocols in place around double lanes and restrictions on numbers.” Over the course of the next few weeks we will be sharing more stories and experiences of our members as they get #BacktotheWater. For the latest guidance for pool operators, swim schools, clubs, pool users and aquatic educators please visit our COVID-19 Hub.