SSA will give swim clubs a leg-up

The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has identified three main areas where it can assist its affiliates during the coronavirus pandemic, said its secretary-general Bervyn Lee yesterday.

Many of its affiliates, which include swimming clubs and academies, have been struggling financially following the introduction of the circuit breaker on April 7 to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The move saw sports facilities such as stadiums, sports halls and swimming pools closed, which meant that classes – especially those for beginners which Lee acknowledged form the “bread and butter” of its affiliates’ businesses – were unable to take place.

While the circuit breaker ended on Monday, sports facilities are not expected to reopen their doors for a few more weeks to come.

Lee acknowledged that the cautious exit from the circuit breaker is “understandable from the Government’s perspective” but noted “it also prolongs challenges the aquatics fraternity is facing”.

He told The Straits Times the SSA will help affiliates reduce costs and tap on schemes to alleviate financial burdens as well as run online capability development courses.

It would also work to prepare the fraternity for the reopening of pools and outline safety measures that would “give confidence to the public that measures are in place for one’s health and safety” and thus encourage swimmers to return to the pool.

The SSA held a two-hour town hall via Zoom with 50 of its affiliates to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on Monday. They exchanged ideas on enhancing health and safety considerations.

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

“LTS at public pools affects a huge number of coaches’ livelihood, especially in group classes.

“If it resumes at a much later stage, many coaches will not be able to survive given the financial strain.”

Lee said suggestions for the safe conduct of such classes have been included in its guidelines to clubs on protocols to be adopted.

He added: “For example, one safe practice for LTS classes with children who have lower confidence in the water and need help, is for one parent (caregiver from the same household) to be in the water with them. This allows safe distancing between the learn-to-swim coach and the child or parent.

“One other safe practice is to not allow any sharing of toys and equipment during the sessions.”

The SSA intends to circulate its safety protocols and guidelines – which would have three parts dedicated to the preparation for the sport’s resumption, swimmers’ return and management of athletes and staff – to the aquatics community “as early as next week”.

Read the latest on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore and beyond on our dedicated site here.

Get The Straits Times app and receive breaking news alerts and more. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now.

Source: Read Full Article