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The Arena Manchester International Swim Meet proved to be a huge success over the weekend (12-14 February 2021), in no small part, due to the efforts of the 18 strong technical officials team. No fewer then 25 of the officials were supplied from the North West Region’s swimming club. It was the first time that any of these officials had worn their whites since early March 2020 due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
From conversations with some of the officials, it was clear that they’d all been missing swimming, almost as much as the swimmers.
To support events, such as this one, the Region delivers a comprehensive programme of official training which is co-ordinated by Colin Evison.
City of Manchester Swim Team swimmers, parents and coaches made up the bulk of the poolside volunteers, alongside British Swimming staff.
Head of Performance Coaching and Strategic Aquatics Lead for MCRActive and Head Coach of the City of Manchester Swim Team, Mark Rose said;
“An outstanding weekend that was the result of a huge amount of work for a considerable number of people across the swimming community and the city. The environment was incredibly safe, well planned and executed meaning that swimmers and coaches could concentrate on producing good results.
We all owe City of Manchester Swim Team, the club’s Meet Director Sophie Parker, Manchester City Council, British Swimming and GLL a big thank you for their herculean efforts on delivering this event. A great template to use to ensure safety when competitions return for the wider community. A true example of great partnership working.”
The Manchester meet is a bold enterprise at the best of times but during the current pandemic, the logistic of the event required collaborative commitment from the City of Manchester Swim Team, Manchester City Council, British Swimming and GLL.
Manchester City Council and British Swimming had the following to say;
“Despite almost 12 months without long course competition, the athletes put on a show, with multiple British Records broken across the three days of action which was witnessed by 25,000 people via the livestream coverage.
Molly Renshaw was the star of the show on Friday night, equalling the Women’s 200m Breaststroke British Record with an impressive swim, whilst Adam Peaty took 50m and 100m Breaststroke golds, posting quick time in both. Another Olympian on fine form was former Trafford Metro swimmer James Guy, who like Peaty, took the double victory, while Tokyo hopeful Abbie Wood smashed her 200m Individual Medley personal best to bring the weekend to a fitting end.
S3 para-swimmer Ellie Challis produced a string of breath-taking performances across the weekend, the 16 year old, who trains at the British Para-Swimming National Centre, which calls the Manchester Aquatics Centre its home, breaking British Records in the 50m Backstroke and 100m Freestyle.
Another para-swimmer in record breaking form was Jordan Catchpole, his victory in the Men’s Mixed Classification 50m Freestyle saw him take the British S14 record, one of five wins over the three days.”
The meet was approved and held under DCMS guidelines for elite athletes and its importance cannot be underestimated. Elite athletes have been granted approval to train and compete during the pandemic at a very limited number of designated venues.
Another important benefit from delivering this meet, which will support the wider aquatic community, is the identification of best practice when hosting an event during the pandemic in a safe and secure environment for all involved. We hope that this event will contribute and support communications regarding the return to swimming as it has been demonstrated that there can be a safe return to swimming for all.
“Everyone swimming here was so grateful to be here and that it could go ahead, with all the staff working so hard. It was really good, everyone stick to the rules and respected everything because we were so grateful to be here” – Abbie Wood