EARLIER this week, the government announced that indoor swimming pools would remain closed. This forced the diving community to come together and lobby MPs to get behind their #OpenOurPools campaign.

Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson has said millions of people are being let down by the decision not to allow pools to reopen on July 4.

However, the government has allowed pubs, restaurants and hairdressers to open their doors on that date.

Despite calling on the Prime Minister prior to his announcement and submitting evidence of what damage the coronavirus has had on the sector, Nickerson has been left frustrated with the decision and is calling on all Swim England members, clubs, coaches, teachers, swim schools, swimmers and facility operators to back the campaign.

The organisation has already provided comprehensive guidance to all clubs of all disciplines and is working with operators to ensure pools across the UK can be reopened safely.

Disciplined sports such as diving are used to social distancing measures and following rules.

City of Bradford Esprit Diving Club head coach Ian Keighley believes opening leisure centres is a must to help people’s health during these tough times and can see no reason why pools should not reopen.

He said: “You have got athletes where it is such a huge part of their life, they train six days a week, and that is where most of their friendship groups are. For their physical and mental wellbeing it is quite hard.

“I understand from an economical point of view that the government wants to get pubs and restaurants open again but is almost like it we (the leisure industry) are being forgotten about, we haven’t been given a later date. Everybody is in the dark.

“We obviously can’t have things set up the way they were before but it is easily doable. There will be changes in procedures but it can be done.

“People who go to the gym or a swimming pool, they go on their own, it is not particularly a group activity. It is a fairly controlled environment.”

During the last three months, diving clubs in the Swim England North East Region, which Bradford is part of, have shown great community spirit to provide workouts to motivate divers who have been unable to train in their pools since March.

They have arranged specialist training sessions using Zoom to bring divers from all over the region together to take part in activities, such as yoga with Team GB Olympic silver medallist Leon Taylor and ballet conditioning workouts with Dive London coach Josh Devine.

To help your local swimming and diving clubs, sign the Swim England petition on their website.