THE CEO of Scottish Swimming Euan Lowe has warned against open water swimming - an activity sanctioned by the Scottish Government.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday lifted lockdown rules as Scotland entered phase one of the road to recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

As part of the opening phase the public are now allowed to take part in non-contact sports including open water swimming – but Lowe is urging Scots to take caution.

Asked if he welcomed the return, he said: “Most definitely with a word of caution, particularly at this time of year.

“It can be a very dangerous environment, there are coastal waters potentially, there are tides, there are currants and I suppose the most critical thing is water temperature.

“Water temperature up here is nowhere near as warm as it is down south.

“Whilst it has been announced that you can, it is very much a word of caution, it is not something we are necessarily promoting at the moment.

“This is primarily because there aren’t any lifeguards at work at the moment round any of the coastal areas, so it is with extreme caution.

“Naturally these environments are better when you are in numbers from a safety point of view and clearly we can’t do that at the moment.”

Lowe also explained how Scottish Swimming will aim to introduce the sport back into society as lockdown restrictions are eased further.

He continued: “There will be a phased return at best over a period of time as confidence and finances allow.

“That will be a challenge for us as a sport for club training and competitions.

“It might well mean we will need to increase the width of the lanes so that swimmers are distanced from side to side with each other. A typical eight lane pool might only be able to operate with four lanes.

“Chlorine in the pool is a good thing [for coronavirus], it clears it, it removes it, it destroys it, it gets rid of all those things from the pool.

“The pool itself isn’t so much the issue, it is the social distancing and the space. If I was going to say there was one challenge that we need to overcome it is the changing rooms.

“On dry side facilities people come in with their trackies on or what not and do their exercise and leave without having to go into a changing room.

“Swimming is slightly different because they are going to be wet, so if we can overcome that problem and that challenge then it will become a lot easier.”

Ahead of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, whenever they may return, Lowe has put forward his performance concerns for Scottish athletes looking to perform at the highest level on the global stage.

He added: “Naturally the longer anyone is away from the training they would like to do there may potentially be some losses, but the signals are they are responding well.

“The absence can be a good opportunity when they return to the pool to repair any flaws they might have.

“Immediately just before this situation escalated we were in the pool we had our Edinburgh international going on.

“This year of all years when you are looking towards Tokyo and some of the athletes preparations you’re getting all excited and building up to the road to Tokyo.

“The longer it goes on naturally you can expect a dip in performance but they are coping with that mentally quite well and we WILL get back to that performance - that’s for sure.”

Euan Lowe was speaking to Rhona Mcleod, McLeod Media. @RMcleod-Media 

Link to entire interview: