Swim England has confirmed it is committed to doing everything it can to enable the ‘excellent’ County Age Group Swimming Championships take place in 2021.
However, due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions, it is highly unlikely that these events will be able to take place in their usual January/February time slot.
To that end, Swim England has announced that the normal window will be suspended until later in the year.
An alternative window will now run from late May until 18 July 2021, with a further racing opportunity opening up for counties later in the year so older swimmers sitting exams will be given the chance to participate at an appropriate time.
Counties and regions will be consulted to ensure that participation in the Regional Open Water Championships is not affected by this decision.
Swim England’s Swimming Leadership Group has made the decision following a number of consultations with volunteers who organise the events and Regional Swimming Managers and has taken into account the health and wellbeing of everyone involved.
Tom Baster, Chair of the Swimming Leadership Group, said: “We are aware how much the County Age Group Swimming Championships mean to the entire swimming community – they are excellent competitions, organised by highly-committed volunteers and officials.
“Staging the events in their original timeframe would result in championship weekends that are significantly reduced in size and number of competitors, owing to social distancing laws.
“Obviously, we understand that there will be some frustrations at this delay but the most important thing is the safety of everyone involved.
“The swimming community is committed to doing everything it can to ensure that these events happen in 2021 wherever possible.
Understands the reasoning
“We hope by creating a later calendar window for the events, it will enable us to achieve this and that everyone understands the reasoning behind this decision.”
Swim England has also confirmed the current plan is to run Regional Championships within their usual window and it will be making every effort to enable this to happen.
Meetings will be held with Regional and County Swimming Coordinators on a regular basis over the coming months to put plans in place for the revised county window.
These will be communicated with members when details are finalised.
Swim England will soon be publishing details of its full Return to Competition strategy, including plans for the phased return of Open Meets.
The first part of this features Level X Racing which will be fully launched next week following completion of the pilot scheme.