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Performance swimmers and divers take the plunge at Aberdeen Sports Village

By Kirsty Brown

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As organised sport starts to return, Aberdeen Sports Village is working with some of Scotland’s top swimmers and divers to help them plunge back into their training.

The world class sporting facility has been closed since March 20 and remains closed to members under current Scottish Government Coronavirus guidelines, however, this week performance swimmers and divers and their coaches have been given access to the Aquatics Centre pools as part of the gradual easing of restrictions.

Aberdeen Sports Village will be the first in the UK to allow divers back into the pool.

Performance swimmers Hannah Miley and Toni Shaw.
Performance swimmers Hannah Miley and Toni Shaw.

The move follows lengthy discussions with Scottish Swimming, which is keen to get athletes back in the water for their rigorous training plans, as they look ahead to next year’s Tokyo Olympics and other performance competitions.

Aberdeen Sports Village is one of the first facilities in the UK to begin supporting competitive athletes again, and measures are being taken to ensure that the venue is in line with the current safety guidelines from the Scottish Government and Scottish Swimming.

Chief executive Duncan Sinclair said: “ASV is used by a number of British and Scottish performance swimmers and divers so this is a further opportunity for us to test our Covid-19 procedures safely and cautiously.

“Behind the scenes we have been working on a detailed plan to make sure we have effective, practical measures in place.

"The Scottish Government has moved into phase three of its recovery plan and we are hoping that we will be permitted to open our facilities more widely in the weeks to come.

“The space we have in our world class Aquatics Centre will be a huge advantage in terms of bringing our members back to a safe environment when we are permitted to do so.

"We are a charity organisation and closing our doors has meant we have had a challenging time over recent months.

"We are very pleased to see our performance swimmers back in the water this week as it is another step towards welcoming our loyal members and visitors back.”

Coaches and athletes using the pools at Aberdeen Sports Village from this week will be responsible for ensuring they meet strict training criteria set out by Scottish Swimming and ASV.

Chief executive of Scottish Swimming Euan Lowe said: “Having some of our performance athletes back in the water at facilities such as Aberdeen Sports Village is a positive step forward for the sport and will allow these facilities to test new protocols which have been put in place to keep athletes and staff safe.

"The team at ASV have extended great support to ensure we have the first divers across the UK back in the water.

“In the meantime, and in collaboration with pool operators and clubs, we have been working hard on developing guidance documents for the safe reopening of pools and these documents have now been submitted to the Scottish Government for approval.

"While we appreciate that there are particular challenges for swimming pools in relation to confined and poorly ventilated changing facilities, we hope that the testing of new protocols at facilities hosting performance athletes will hopefully signify the public being able to return to swimming across the country in the weeks ahead, to enjoy the huge benefits that aquatic sport brings to everyone."

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