Children across Scotland celebrate as swimming lessons restart
THOUSANDS of youngsters are set to return to swimming pools across Scotland as swimming lessons restart following the six-month closure caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Scottish Swimming – who are partners with Scottish Water in supporting the national Learn to Swim Framework – have been working with Leisure Trusts and aquatic co-ordinators to restart lessons after pools were given the green light to reopen from 31st August.
A range of new measures will be put in place that includes instructors teaching from poolside rather than in the water, and children arriving ‘Beach Ready’ at poolside with their costumes under clothing.
Around 30 of the 39 Learn to Swim Framework providers are set to resume their programmes over the coming weeks, with majority opening at least one pool this month.
One of the first Learn to Swim providers to reopen and welcome back youngsters is Aberdeen Sports Village.
Niki Drever, Aquatics Programme Manager at Aberdeen Sports Village, said: “It’s great to have our lessons starting again and for children once more to be in the pool learning such an essential life skill.
“To start off with we will be focusing on making sure the kids can get back to the water safely and be confident as we re-cap on some of the core aquatic skills while having fun at the same time.”
The Learn to Swim partnership, which has helped to create a 100,000-strong new generation of young, safe swimmers was extended for a fourth year earlier this month, in a move to further boost the delivery of the programme.
Euan Lowe, Scottish Swimming chief executive officer, said: “We are thrilled that, after a halt for six months because of the pandemic, swimming lessons are to restart and children can learn – once more – how to be more confident and safer in the water.
“We’ve been working closely with Leisure Trusts, Aquatic Providers and key partners within the sector over the summer to put in place procedures and guidance so that swimming lessons can take place safely and in accordance with all Government guidelines.
“Swimming is a pursuit that is essential for the health of the nation. So the return of children to the water should also be seen as a significant step in providing reassurance that swimming pools are safe environments for everyone.”
Parents are being given an advice leaflet to guide them on the changes being made to allow a safe return to the water and there will be a range of resources and new signage in pools to provide additional guidance and reassurance.
One parent spoke of her delight at returning to the pool at ASV:
“It’s great to be back – just want to thank Aberdeen Sports Village and their team. It’s absolutely excellent in there and we felt really really safe going in. They’ve got everything running like clockwork so it’s great to be back and to see how seriously everyone has taken it.”
Pools will have their own procedures, however some of the changes may include teachers delivering lessons from the poolside, staggered lesson times to allow for social distancing or limited spectating. Children should come “Beach Ready” so they have their swimming costumes on underneath their clothing and are to be encouraged at home to practise tasks such as putting on googles and drying and dressing themselves.
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “Safety in and around water is a key element of the Learn to Swim framework. Swimming is a hugely valuable skill and learning the basics at a young age is vital.
“The safe resumption of the Learn to Swim programme is welcome.
“There will be children – and parents – who have been looking forward to this for many weeks now.
“With our partnership with Scottish Swimming being extended for another year, we look forward to seeing thousands of youngsters continue to enjoy – and benefit from – learning to swim.”
The Learn to Swim Framework is aimed at youngsters from birth to 11-years-old and provides consistently high-quality teaching which progresses through a series of lessons and levels over a number of years.
More information on the Learn to Swim Framework can be found on the dedicated website: www.learntoswim.scot