Letter from East District President - Les Rodger
26th October 2020
All East District Clubs, Life Members, Management Team
Firstly, I hope you and your family are well in the continuing health crisis.
Most clubs in the District have now been back in the water, at least to a partial extent, for a few weeks now and hopefully are now finding that the new procedures required during training to cope with the crisis are working for you.
Initial reports are that most clubs are finding that around 80 per cent of members have been returning and hopefully there will be more as we go through the winter and more clarity appears in terms of a way forward. We recognise and appreciate that this bald statistic does not reflect the fact that some clubs are more significantly affected by loss of members than this average and this may be impacting in other ways. Also, the training time for most clubs is much shorter than would normally be available. Further, learn to swim programmes have been on hold, so there may be few new younger recruits for a little while yet.
The other Disciplines are also struggling in the restrictions with respect to training in terms of contact and those aged over 18. Masters, Diving, Synchro and Water Polo are all heavily impacted. Open Water at least has a short while to take stock and hope for more clarity in the lead up to summer 2021.
On a more positive note, it is gratifying to see so many clubs working in partnership, with the interests of the athletes at the forefront. This is, after all, why we are all working within the sport that we love. On behalf of the athletes, I’d like to thank you all for the hard work clubs are putting in to finding ways to cope.
The District is well aware of the financial pressures clubs are feeling as a result of all the above. We are budgeting for a loss this year and will make every effort to minimise any additional financial burden placed on clubs by ensuring that the “per capita” is the minimum necessary to ensure that the District is there to offer support through the crisis and is still viable once some semblance of normality returns.
It is fairly clear now that District swimming competitions cannot be run in anything close to a “normal” format for several months yet. Given the recent restrictions, the first opportunity to run a formal District Age Groups is likely to be many months away but we continue to monitor the situation.
However, both the National and the East District Swimming Committees are working on a format for virtual meets to take place over the next few months to give athletes as much opportunity for race training as is possible within government restrictions. We can expect more information on this very soon. I would like to thank the East District Swimming Committee in general and Jo Maguire and Susan Liddle in particular for their immense efforts on our behalf in this regard and their creative thinking to formulate a system to allow competitions in a format that has never seriously been attempted before. I am also aware that other disciplines are considering how they too may hold virtual competitions and look forward to seeing what can be done within the interconnected digital/virtual world that we are very fortunate to have in the circumstances.
DISTRICT FORUM MEETING
With a view to the above, and to Virtual Meets in particular, the District will be holding a Forum Meeting on Thursday November 19th, focussing on Virtual Meets, how to enter them and how you might run your own interclub virtual meets. The meeting will be via Zoom and will start at 7pm.
District Forum Meeting
Thursday, November 19th, “Virtual Meets (Participation and Organisation)”
The meeting registration link can be obtained from your club
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
This is a ‘private’ Zoom meeting. Any member can attend but you must register.
Forum Meetings are an informal type of district meeting, with presentations and discussion/dialogue and are for any club volunteers, officials or coaches with an interest in the subject.
We expect this meeting to be of special interest to Coaches who may be considering the participation of their athletes in such competitions, to Entry Secretaries and other club officials and also indeed Gala Organisers who might be considering running a virtual meet themselves. Although the earliest competitions are likely to be entirely based on trust and run by club Coaches, later stages will likely involve some Technical Officials as we move along a pathway towards some level of normality, so STOs will also gain an insight into the way we expect to go forward. However, Forum Meetings are for everyone and there is no restriction on numbers from individual clubs.
I look forward to seeing you on the 19th. In the meantime, please all keep safe.
Les Rodger, East District President
On Behalf of the Executive, SASA East District
25th October 2020