2020 has been a challenging year for all and has greatly impacted all sports, but in particular, competitive swimming has been hit hard with restrictions on training and no competitions held since last year.
The swimmers at Ryde Swimming Club saw training cancelled in March as the pandemic hit. The club put in place some ‘dryside’ exercises, as they are called in the swimming world, which consists of simple exercises to try and maintain their strength and cardio fitness. Some swimmers were fortunate enough to purchase their own pools to train in. The club also organised regular games evenings via zoom, as well as swimmers sending in their ‘dryside’ training videos.
In the summer, the club put on training sessions in the sea for its senior swimmers to start slowly rebuilding their fitness in the water. Then in July, pools were finally allowed to re-open with Ryde Swimming Club being one of the first clubs in the country to return back to training, thanks to Waterside Community Trust promptly putting measures in place to facilitate a quick return.
At first, training was very different with temperature checks, hand sanitising, allocated rest zones and training sessions which had to be booked. However, the swimmers adapted without complaint – although some hesitant at first – and all were elated to see their swimming friends and of course to get back into the pool.
Swimming is more than a sport – for a lot of swimmers it has huge mental and physical benefits, with some requiring additional support upon returning.
The youngest swimmers in the club are 8-years-old, with the oldest around 18. They train 3-5 times a week and swim between 2,000-5,000m per session (80 – 200 lengths). The club has welcomed many new swimmers this year, despite the current situation and the club has, as a whole, seen great progress in all of its swimmers.
COVID has shown that swimming, although very much an individual sport, is at its core a team sport. The coaches have proudly watched as their swimmers reunited with each other, providing without any prompting support for one another, showing the new swimmers the ropes as well as great resilience and team spirit.
All of this hard work, with no gain..
Todd Miller, General Manager at Waterside Pool, says:
“The swimmers’ achievements need celebrating, congratulating and due recognition in their commitment to the sport they love. Throughout the whole year their training, hard work and progress has been with no big incentive. Yes they have individual goals, but they have been denied the swimming competitions to exploit them, these have been non-existent for the whole year and as yet non-existent in 2021. Now that is commitment to your sport!
“A huge well done to Ryde Swimming Club for keeping your sport alive, but equally to all sports clubs, coaches and volunteers for continuing where possible during these difficult times, it undoubtably has meant more to your athletes, players and competitors than you will ever know”.