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Swim Wales Open Letter to First Minister

Nofio, Plymio, Nofio Artistig, Polo Dŵr, Addysg
National, Performance

Rt. Hon Mark Drakeford MS

First Minister of Wales 

Welsh Government

5th Floor, Ty Hywel

Cardiff Bay

CF99 1NA

Dear First Minister

The announcement by Welsh Government overnight to the press, and reinforced at today’s press conference, regarding the easing of restrictions and roadmap out of lockdown has been both disappointing and concerning in equal measures.

 As you will already know from our previous correspondence with you and your officials, our member clubs and participation account for 500,000 Welsh Adults and Children who swim or are involved in aquatic activity once a week in Wales, that is 16% of the Welsh population. Every one of us has waited patiently for our government to produce a roadmap out of lockdown which would highlight the importance of sport and the benefits it presents to physical and mental health.

Whilst a timetable for the reopening of sport and leisure, and in particular swimming pools, across Wales is what we have asked for, the announced date of May 17th is much later than we, as a collective, had hoped for.

Over the last 12 months our sector has consistently proved our ability to adapt and respond to the pandemic and put in place the measures and mitigations required to operate safely across our clubs and facilities and this has not been reflected in the news today. In the 10 weeks of pool opening between September and December there were less than 10 cases in 500,000 swims recorded by the ONS and T&T systems.

In addition to this your own Technical Advisory Group have agreed with the science presented to them by Swim Wales surrounding the neutralising effect of chlorinated water, this has been completely ignored by you and your administration.

The delay in the opening of indoor facilities completely contradicts your previous position ‘facilities such as...gyms and leisure centre also did not appear to increase risk of infection’ and leaves us wondering how these decisions were made. To say we are puzzled and confused by your approach is an understatement.  The decision made by the Welsh Government is irrational and lacks logic, and on behalf of the tens of thousands of people we represent we would urge you to reconsider the timetable.

This letter has been co-signed by 80+ Chairs of our member clubs who on behalf of their thousands of members all advocate the points made in this letter.

I look forward to a response and we will be working with the Welsh Sport Association on next steps as a sector.

 Fergus Feeney

CEO of Swim Wales

With support from Swim Wales Affiliated Clubs & Chairpersons

  • Aberaeron Swimming Club, Phillip Lear
  • Aberavon Swimming Club, Peter Budd
  • Aberdare Comets Diving Club, Jason Rogers
  • Abergavenny Swimming Club, Nicky Sherrard
  • Abertillery Piranhas Swimming Club, Angharad Edwards
  • Aberystwyth & District Swimming Club, Deidre Jones
  • Amman Valley Swimming Club, Lisa Bryan
  • Arfon Swimming Club, Oggy East
  • Bangor Bilidowcars Diving Club, Nick Pipe
  • Bangor Swimming Club, Dewi Davies/Ellis Roberts
  • Barry Swimming Club, Heulwen Cooper
  • Brecon Swimming Club, Nicole Mosely
  • Bridgend County Swim Squad, Roland Nicholas
  • Bridgend Swim Club, Rich Watkins
  • Buckley Amateur Swimming Club, Sarah Green
  • Caernarfon Swimming Club, Brian, Jones
  • Caerphilly County Swim Squad, Cathryn Barr
  • Caldicot Swimming Club, Lorraine Crook
  • Cardiff Masters Swimming Club, Terry John
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University Swimming Club, Dan Davies
  • Carmarthen Water Polo Club, Paul Williams
  • Carmarthenshire Masters Swimming Club, Tim Howells
  • Celtic Dolphins Swimming Club, Matthew Thomas
  • Chepstow & District Swimming Club, Chris Haeffner
  • Chirk Dragons Swimming Club, Brian Lewis
  • City of Cardiff Swimming Club, Mike Bamborough
  • City Of Newport Swimming & Water Polo Club, Julian Knight
  • City of Swansea Aquatics Swimming Club, Owen Smart
  • Colwyn Bay Amateur Swimming Club, Antony Williams
  • Connah's Quay Swimming Club, Mike Lewis
  • Corwen Sharks Swimming Club, Steve Kelly
  • Cwm Draig Water Polo Club, Lloyd Rickards
  • Cwmbran Swimming Club, Gareth Spencer
  • Denbigh Dragons Swim Club, Karen, Evans
  • Denbighshire Development (Competitive Unit), Justin Jones
  • Fishguard Flyers Swimming Club, Paul Mason
  • Flint Amateur Swimming Club, Hannah Skinner
  • Gele Gators Swimming Club, Mike Wilson
  • Haverfordwest Seals Swimming Club, Matthew Lewis
  • Heads of the Valleys Swimming Club, Phil Jehu
  • Holywell Amateur Swimming Club, Bethan Hall
  • Isle of Anglesey Swimming Club, Jason Jones
  • Llandudno Amateur Swimming Club, Steven Owen
  • Llanelli Amateur Swimming Club, Kevin Southam
  • Llanelli Lightening Diving Club, Nicola Thomas
  • Merthyr Tydfil Swimming Club, Kathryn Hughes
  • Milford Haven Tigers Swimming Club, Neil Arnold
  • Mold Swimming Club, Sam Boon
  • Monnow Swimming Club, Matt Williams
  • Neath Amateur Swimming Club, Peter Wells
  • Newtown Swimming Club, Nick Trigg
  • Nexus Valleys Swimming Club, Craig Hughes
  • Nofio Clwyd, Alistair Holl
  • Nofio P.B.P, Mike Clishem
  • Nofio Sir Gar, Justin Cressey-Rodgers
  • Northern Celts (Competitive Unit), Stephen   Parker
  • Pembroke & District Amateur Swimming Club, Keith Thompson
  • Pembrokeshire County Swimming, Matthew Lewis
  • Pembrokeshire Puffins Disability Swimming Club, Ann Adams
  • Penarth Swimming Club, Suzanne Walsh
  • Penyrheol Amateur Swimming Club, Jo Job
  • Pontypridd Swimming Club, Brendan D'Cruz/Alan Williams
  • Port Talbot Swimming Club, Charisse Dawkins
  • Preseli Panthers Swimming Club, Rhian Hill
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff Performance Swim Squad, Craig Fowler/Sally Isaacs
  • Rhondda Swimming Club, Chris Williams
  • Rhyl Dolphins Swimming Club, Sean McCue
  • Ruthin Rays Swimming Club, Victoria Hughes
  • Swansea Masters Swimming Club, Paul Grunhut
  • Swansea Stingrays Swimming Club, Patricia Knight
  • Swansea Synchro, Dominique Freeth
  • Swansea University Swimming Club, Verity Cook
  • Swansea Water Polo, Paul Killa
  • Swim Conwy, Tracy Brown
  • Swim Gwynedd, Deiniol Harries
  • Tenby Swimming Club, Paul Haley
  • Torfaen Dolphins Swimming Club, Paul McRae
  • Tredegar Torpedoes Swimming Club, Sian Lewis
  • Welsh Wanderers Water Polo Club, Tim Lock
  • Welshpool Sharks Swimming Club, Samantha Webster
  • Wrexham Swimming Club, Darryl Pyper
  • Wrexham Water Polo Club, Michael Grant