Lockdown sports series: Synchronised Swimming


By Ruby Batt, First Year English

Over the coming weeks, Epigram Sport will look at how several University sports clubs have adapted to life in lockdown. In the fourth article of the series, the Synchronised Swimming Club explain how they have been preparing for their return to the water.

If you were to tell me when we started University in September that the world was going to change as much as it has, I wouldn’t have believed it.

The different effects Covid-19 has had on the world are countless. Like everything else, sport took a significant hit, and right in the middle of that world lies the University of Bristol Synchronised Swimming Club.

The Synchronised Swimming Club with the Imperial and Nottingham clubs at a show in London | Faye Spence

As a committee, preparing for a new year can be challenging enough without having to consider the added difficulty of a global pandemic.

Not only was last year brought to an abrupt halt, but we are now faced with the probability of next year looking considerably different to what was planned.

One of our main concerns has obviously been the reopening of the swimming pool. To say that practising synchronised swimming without a pool is difficult would be an understatement.

All jokes aside, it is something we seriously had to think about. Thankfully, it was announced last month that swimming pools could re-open, providing some much-needed positivity for the club.

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On top of this, the University has said that ongoing refurbishments at the pool should be finished by September or October.

Despite the good news, the club clearly has to alter the way it functions in order to respect various social distancing and safety rules.

Swim England, the national governing body for most swimming sports, has issued advice which we will be following to ensure we return to the pool safely.

This includes respecting social distancing in and out the pool, reducing training numbers with split sessions, cleaning equipment regularly and not practicing lifts, close physical contact or connected moves with teammates.

Synchronised swimming is a sport that requires a lot of different skills; flexibility and overall strength and fitness are crucial.

With that in mind, it is possible to be productive out of the pool by setting up physical sessions that are applicable to synchronised swimming.

I’m a great believer in finding a silver lining – having to consider a global pandemic has forced us to think outside the box

Although this is how land training sessions work normally, the possibility of not being able to get back in the pool got us thinking about ways to keep sessions interesting.

One idea was to mix these sessions up, for example a workout session one week, then say a more relaxed yoga-styled one the next. It was also suggested that the artistic side of synchronised swimming could be incorporated by getting members involved in choreography.

Synchronised Swimming requires in-pool and on-land preparation | The University of Bristol Synchronised Swimming Club

I am a great believer in finding a silver lining to things. In this case, having to consider a global pandemic in our preparations has forced us to think outside the box and come up with some really fun ideas.

I have been swimming for years and the chance to get involved with choreography has never arisen. I think it is something members would really enjoy.

Although the coming year is going to be challenging for the society, we can hardly imagine how scary it will be for incoming freshers.

With Freshers’ Week looking very different from previous years, it is really important to make the best out of a bad situation.

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One of the best things about University is joining different societies and clubs, so hopefully freshers are not put off by the circumstances. Rest assured the University of Bristol Synchronised Swimming Club definitely won’t be put off.

Whether it’s an online Freshers’ Fair, socially distanced socials, or fun training and give-it-a-go sessions, the club will do everything it can to keep people entertained.

Featured: Faye Spence

How has your club had to adapt to government guidelines?