Swimming: SSA engages affiliates to discuss guidelines for re-opening of pools and classes

SINGAPORE -The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has provided affiliates with guidelines on safe distancing for aquatic sports and put up proposals to help affiliates during the coronavirus pandemic, said the organisation in a statement on Tuesday (June 2).

A two-hour town hall was held via Zoom with 50 of its affiliates to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on Monday, during which affiliates shared the challenges faced and exchanged ideas on how to enhance health and safety considerations.

Sports facilities including pools have been closed since the circuit breaker measures kicked in on April 7, and will remain closed in Phase 1, which will last at least four weeks after the April 7-June 1 circuit breaker.

SSA secretary-general Bervyn Lee acknowledged that the cautious exit from the circuit breaker is “understandable from the government’s perspective” but noted that “it also prolongs the challenges that the aquatics fraternity is facing”.

“The SSA, in close consultation with the government, believes that there is a need to come together as one, for our sport, our athletes and as a community. The dialogue session held with the affiliates allowed us to listen to the challenges faced, provide an avenue for the exchange of ideas and share proposals that have been considered.”

Affiliates felt the dialogue was a positive engagement, with Sttitude Swim School’s Sumiko Tan expressing hope that the Learn to Swim (LTS) programme would resume soon.

She added: “The town hall was effective in gathering feedback and responses from the ground and in direct relation to people who are affected. There is not much clarity so far for the community at large forLTS.

“LTS at public pools affect a huge number of coaches’ livelihood, especially in public pool and group classes. And if it is to be resumed at a much later stage, many coaches will not be able to survive given the financial strain. We sincerely hope that resuming of LTS classes can be considered in greater thought to protect the livelihood of coaches, at the same time, protect the health and safety of each individual.”

The SSA also put up some proposals to help the affiliates during this period, including exploring with the affiliates ideas to reduce some costs and get help through the grants offered by the government, continuing to run courses for learning and upgrading, such as CoachSSA and TeachSSA courses.

Former national swimmers Ang Peng Siong and Mark Chay, who run Aquatic Performance Swim Club and XLab respectively, were optimistic about the direction taken.

Chay said: “It was great to see the fraternity come together to discuss issues affecting us and how we can work together as a community during this period. I look forward to the reopening of the swimming pools.”

“The SSA townhall session was definitely a positive step to connect with the ground and the aquatic stakeholders. Together we can come out of this challenging times stronger”, added Ang.

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