Swimming Community – Key Information & Impacts of COVID-19

18 March 2020
Generic Swimmer - Backstroke


With an abundance of information making its way online and via the media, we wanted to provide the swimming community with a central hub of reputable advice and information, as well as updates on swimming event cancellations and postponements from around the country.

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 constantly and rapidly evolves, we will strive to keep this page updated as new information and resources are made available. With this in mind, if an event cancellation has been missed below, please contact clubs@swimming.org.au and we will update accordingly.

National Guidelines for Restarting Club Environments

  • Club Administrators
  • Together with our member organisations and as a collective leadership team across Australia, we have been working on a plan to assist clubs and their coaches to safely return to swimming activity. Following this work we have created the Swimming Australia – National Guidelines for Restarting Club Environments. We encourage all clubs to familiarise themselves with the content which has the collective sign-off of all State/Territory Swimming Associations and the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA). These National Guidelines will be revisited, updated and improved as appropriate.

Key Information

  • CEO Updates
  • Monday 4 May

    Dear Swimming Community,

    First and foremost, on behalf of Swimming Australia including the Australian Dolphins Swim Team, I wanted to write to send my best wishes to you and your family as well as your teams, volunteers and club members around the country at this time. There’s not one of us that isn’t feeling the impact of this situation as we all navigate this international health crisis. While the past few weeks have been difficult, there are positive signs on the horizon as we enter the next phase,  but we must all continue to play our role and be mindful that there is still a long way to go for a full recovery.

    Secondly, I want to acknowledge and thank all our States/Territory and member organisations (MOs) who have done an outstanding job ensuring that all their clubs and communities are staying connected and are kept up to date with the ever changing environment, providing critical information as it comes to hand. We will continue to work closely with all MOs to ensure that swimming is ready to scale back up with the appropriate community support when the time comes.

    As we move toward the stabilisation phase of responding to the pandemic and begin to consider what the ‘revival’ phase may entail, there is little doubt that swimming, and indeed the entire sports industry, will play an enormous part in restoring a sense of connection, purpose and help to play a strong part in restoring confidence as a nation.

    Over the past few weeks I have been working closely with other sports, Sport Australia, AIS and the AOC to continue to advocate for sport in the ‘big picture’ and create a clear picture of understanding for Federal Government on the funding landscape for sport, and now the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. We will update on any key outcomes that directly impact our sport. The Federal Government has also recently launched the COVIDSafe App to help our communities stay safe and track the spread of COVID-19. You can find out more information about the app at www.health.gov.au. This is one way that the government is trying to assist communities get back to normal as quickly as possible.

    Swim Central, the technology platform for our sport, has been identified by the Swimming Australia Board as a national “mission critical” priority at this unique time. As such, even though we currently have a challenging situation of some staffing adjustments and reductions across Swimming Australia due to COVID-19, we will continue to focus on our commitment to appropriately resource and develop Swim Central to have it in the most improved state possible once we are all back in the pool.

    Having dealt with the heartbreak of a postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, our Dolphins are now firmly looking ahead to prepare for 2021. Pleasingly our elite teams in South Australia have been allowed access to pool facilities under strict conditions and we are hopeful that other states will soon come back online to continue their programs. You will see more of our Dolphins across our digital channels as they take you inside how they are staying connected to swimming and keeping focused, fit and looking after their wellbeing during this time. You may have recently seen the takeovers on our Dolphins Instagram channel and the messages of support from Cate and Bronte Campbell to those who would have competed in the 2020 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships (see here).

    Clearly our sport has been impacted by this pandemic and we welcome the recent National Cabinet decision to endorse national principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities, providing a pathway for a safer return to sport (see here). We look forward to seeing a safe return to our sport and we will provide updates as appropriate. In the meantime, we urge you all to stay connected to your club, coaches, support staff, teams and of course connected to swimming.

    Please stay safe and know that we will be back in the water soon enough.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Leigh Russell
    CEO, Swimming Australia


    Tuesday 24 March

    Dear swimming community,

    It’s been a massive few days and weeks for everyone. Lots of difficult decisions have been made, but each one was made with our people at the centre. Last Friday, we flagged the need for the IOC to consider ‘fair play’ as our concern grew stronger about our friends and colleagues across the world who are unable to train, while also facing unbelievable heartbreak in their communities. Over the weekend, the COVID-19 situation changed again in Australia with rising numbers of cases and increasing government regulations, restricting movement and gatherings.

    Yesterday, the Australian Olympic Committee announced it couldn’t field a team to go to Tokyo in the current circumstances. Paralympics Australia indicated they were entirely supportive of that position, given the unprecedented situation in our country.

    With the health and safety of everyone working in our high performance programs so paramount – including athletes, coaches and staff – we suspended our programs indefinitely. This is the time for our people to focus on their health, their families, and their communities – and when it is time to press ‘go’, I know our team will regroup, work hard, and set about inspiring the nation once again.

    These developments mean that the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials are also postponed indefinitely. We are working towards the plan that the Olympics and Paralympics will be held in 2021 in the northern summer, with our date for trials to be confirmed at a later stage.

    Not competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year is devastating for our athletes, coaches and staff who have worked so hard in the pursuit of their goals. However, right now it is vitally important to put the focus squarely on the most pressing issue for our country at this time. Our athletes and coaches are only digesting this significant change to plans and will need some time to work out the ‘game plan’ moving forward. But once this crisis is over, move forward we will.

    There will be many questions about the future that our people and swimming community will have. We intend to work over the next couple of months to answer all of them and be clear with our plans for later in the year, and in to 2021. But right now, we shift our focus to ensuring our people move through these difficult times and have some space to look after themselves and their families.

    As CEO, I’m so proud of our athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and members. The way that people pull together through times like this are important. Thank you to our swimming community – let’s stick together towards Tokyo 2021.

    Leigh Russell
    CEO, Swimming Australia


    Monday 23 March


    Over the weekend there were a number of Australian Government announcements that impact our swimming environments, and our daily performance environments across the country.


    This morning we are working through all issues, with the health and safety of our people our first and only consideration.


    We understand that there will be many questions at this time, and we ask for your patience today while we focus on the matters at hand.


    For the latest government advice, click here.

    Wednesday 18 March

    I take this opportunity to provide an update on Swimming Australia’s response to the current COVID-19 situation. As this situation is changing rapidly, we will endeavour to update as often as possible all information here.

    Given this is a truly unprecedented situation, we understand that every single one of us will be impacted in some way (if not already). As we are entering this time, we want to express our sincere best wishes and thoughts to everyone in our swimming community. With such uncertainty, we know that this is a difficult time for athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff and families and want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to understand the impact and respond accordingly.

    Last week we made the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming events, the Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships and the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships. All sport in Australia has been impacted, and we saw many cancellations of events come in over the following days, including more swimming events across the country. This set of circumstances is difficult and disappointing, but in making these decisions, health and wellbeing was at the centre of our considerations.

    Even though it is often difficult to keep turning up to swimming practice without a goal like the Age Championships in front of you, it’s important to maintain long-term ambitions and continue to strive for future achievements. Adversity breeds resilience, something that is needed to succeed in sport and life. During these uncertain times it is important to keep your routines as much as possible – in line with government advice – which at the same time can serve to support your coaches and facilities which are often small businesses.

    How we are keeping our people safe

    There are several proactive steps that we have taken over the past couple of weeks to ensure we try to minimise the potential risk of COVID-19 to our people. A number of these steps relates to decreasing the mobility between our teams of staff (no non-essential travel), postponing or cancelling any external meetings that cannot be done via technology, and only essential staff having physical contact with our high performance squads. We’ve also asked all staff to work from home, and for our athletes to consider postponing appearances or non essential meetings, using technology where possible for this purpose.

    Continuity of swimming events and club activity around the country

    Each respective state is following advice and adjusting to incorporate up to date information on a daily basis. You can find links to this information below. At this stage we continue to follow government advice and are working with Sport Australia to understand the situation for community sport so we can advise our member organisations accordingly. Our states are playing a lead role in working with clubs and are the first port of call for any queries relating to local events.

    Continuity of plans in the Olympic / Paralympic year

    Understandably, many people have questions about what might happen to Olympic and Paralympic campaign preparation in this uncertainty. For us, we continue to adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach to our upcoming campaign preparation, until such time that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and IPC (International Paralympic Committee) may make a decision to proceed or not with these events. We don’t have a time frame on these decisions, understanding that the COVID-19 situation globally changes hour by hour. We will continue to work with the AOC (Australian Olympic Committee) to understand the latest thinking in regard to these events, but also proceed with our planning of the 2020 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials, to be held from 14 June at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre, South Australia.

    For now, our goal is to keep our athletes and coaches training for as long as possible, avoiding disruption where we can. We are anticipating access to facilities will change on a regular basis and we are meeting daily to plan and prepare for all possible scenarios. Olympic and Paralympic preparation is important to us, but the wellbeing of our people even more so. We currently have a COVID-19 group that is meeting regularly and ensuring we are taking advice from our Chief Medical Officer, as well as reviewing the latest information available and responding accordingly.

    We very much appreciate your support and understanding during this time. There are significant numbers of people that make our sport happen, from the grassroots to the elite, and we intend to ensure everyone as much as possible remains connected to swimming during this time, while also ensuring we keep you informed on a regular basis as new information comes to hand. Staff remain working and contactable for queries and the latest information.

    We also want to thank our partners for their incredible, ongoing support, who are not only there for our sport through the good times but also the more challenging times. Our thoughts and best wishes are also with our partners and their respective staff teams as we all navigate this uncertain time together. Hancock Prospecting and our Patron, Mrs Gina Rinehart, our broadcast partner Channel 7, Sport Australia, Bio Island, arena and Amazon Web Services. In addition, our High Performance partners, the AIS, Commonwealth Games Australia, AOC and Paralympics Australia and our 2020 Tourism Event Partners, Tourism WA and South Australian Tourism Commission.

    Please take care of yourselves and each other during this uncertain and difficult time.

    Leigh Russell
    CEO, Swimming Australia

  • Framework for Rebooting Sport
  • Friday 8 May


    Following the National Cabinet announcement today regarding a three-step approach to ease restrictions, Swimming Australia, State/Territory associations and ASCTA, are working with the AIS, Sport Australia, and Federal and State Governments to understand the impact and plans for sport, in particular swimming.


    As a collective leadership team across Australia, we have worked on a plan to assist clubs and coaches to safely return to swimming activity, and will release further details next week.


    Friday 1 May

    Swimming Australia welcomes the release by National Cabinet of the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities, which provides the pathway for a safe return to sport.

    The AIS played a central role in the development of these Principles and they align with the launch of The AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 environment.

    Click here to find out more and access the framework.

  • Athlete and Community Welfare
  • In the past couple of weeks, you will have had updates from all areas of your lives about the COVID-19 situation in Australia. This would have included the notification that the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships and Age Championships had been cancelled, and then your training pools announced they would close for the foreseeable future. We know these situations caused disappointment and frustration, which can lead to anxiety for some athletes who love schedules and certainty. These feelings are a natural reaction to not being able to do something that you love.


    What can be expected as normal responses to this situation?

    • Fear of falling ill, being socially excluded or quarantined
    • For parents, the feeling of being powerless to protect your loved ones
    • Anxiety or lowered mood due to interruption to daily routine
    • Fatigue due to stress or lack of sleep
    • Anger, frustration, irritability, boredom or loneliness due to isolation


    If what you are experiencing continues to impact on everyday life, the websites listed below might assist you – and for immediate support, please call Lifeline – 13 11 14.


    • Kids Help Line is there to provide you with emotional support anytime – call, email or webchat.
    • The AIS has released information for athletes which can be found on their website, as well as information around mental health and wellbeing.
    • head space has tips for young people on how to cope with stress relating to COVID-19.
    • Unicef provides information on how you can talk to your children about COVID-19.
    • Beyond Blue is another valuable source of information.

    Whilst there are many elements of the COVID-19 situation that we cannot control, we can try in challenging times to take charge of our own wellbeing and help the people we love follow our lead.


    A reset of your mindset is a great starting point when faced with stress and uncertainty. Some people may find they experience positive emotions such as a sense of pride about finding ways of coping, a sense of resilience. Others might need a bit of support and guidance from you.


    Swimmers and all competitive athletes are really well equipped to work through disappointment or problems, and are often not aware of how resilient you are until it is pointed out. Resetting goals is what you do on a regular basis.


    Having additional hours in the day without training can leave some feeling lost and missing the structure of their ‘normal’ daily routine along with the emotion of missing friends from squad.


    Many of you were really looking forward to seeing friends at Australian Champs and Age, one thing we do know is that sport creates incredibly strong friendships and bonds, those friendships will pick up right where you left off.


    This is a bigger reset than one training session or a bad race, but swimming has helped you develop skills for you to manage this situation. Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking about what you can do:


    • Be active regularly, there are a lot of home workouts popping up on the internet and some swimming specific ones – moving makes you feel good
    • Set up an online challenge with your squad members to keep each other active and moving
    • If you feel anxious mindfulness practices are really beneficial; download a meditation or relaxation app and try to do it at least once a day…this practice will also help you when you return to swimming 
    • Your family and friends don’t get a lot of time to hang out with you when you are training, this is your chance to hang out in person or a virtual hang out – and maybe involve them in your daily workout


    We know this isn’t what you had in mind for your season after training so hard but when you get the green light to head back to training, see if you can in your best shape mentally and physically. Focus on what can be done rather than what can’t.


    Our Dolphin leader and triple Olympian Cate Campbell has said: “Sometimes you have to step sideways, sometimes you have to step backwards but you still have that one direction and that one focus which is part of the athlete’s mentality and the athlete psyche.”

  • Government - Community Sport Guidelines & Restrictions
  • Thursday 26 March

    Following the government's announcement to implement strict new measures on Tuesday, as of midnight last night (Wednesday 25 March), public swimming pools, community and recreation centres, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre, spin facilities, saunas and wellness centres will not be able to operate.

    Wednesday 18 March

    The Australian Government has today announced new community sport guidelines to combat the spread of COVID-19.


    This follows ongoing consultation with sporting organisations and is focused on providing relevant advice on change room access, physical contact, travel, and social distancing and hygiene practices.


    The guidelines state swimming pools, gyms and fitness centres are not required to close at this stage, providing they meet requirements for social distancing and hand hygiene.


    These requirements along with the full community sport guidelines can be found here, via the Sport Australia website.

  • Swimming Australia Events & Initiatives
  • Cancelled: 2020 Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships (7-14 April), Perth

    For more information, click here.

    Cancelled: 2020 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships (17-21 April), Perth

    For more information, click here.

    Postponed: 2020 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials (14-19 June), Adelaide

    In light of the announcement from the AOC regarding the 2020 Games, we will be postponing the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials.

    When the time is right, we will look ahead to the planning phase for 2021, but right now our focus must remain on stopping and slowing the spread of COVID-19 and supporting our people.


    For more information, click here.


    Cancelled: 2020 State Teams Swimming Championships


    Due to the current COVID-19 landscape and the existing restraints still in place regarding the gathering of large numbers of people Swimming Australia, in consultation with all of our Member Organisations, have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 State Teams Championships competition scheduled for October.


    The health and safety of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and their families is always paramount in any decision we make.


    Cancelled: 2020 State Based National Age Challenge

    With the cancellation of upcoming state events due to COVID-19, the recently announced pilot of the State Based National Age Challenge will not take place as planned. The new initiative will now be subject to further consideration as we determine how the concept could be pursued at a later time. These decisions will be confirmed and advised in due course. Thank you to everyone in the swimming community for your understanding at this challenging time for all.

    Cancelled: Bio Island Australian Junior Excellence Clinics

    • Adelaide scheduled for Sunday 22 March
    • Perth scheduled for Sunday 18 April​​​​​​


  • New South Wales
  • Cancelled: The Junior State Age Championships (28-29 March)

    For more information, visit the Swimming NSW website.

    Swimming NSW has recently partnered with Reach Out who have provided some self-care tips. Head to Swimming NSW’s Facebook page for more details and links.

    Information for businesses regarding stimulus packages can be found here.


    Specific support information for the Sports Sector can be found here.

  • Northern Territory
  • Postponed: Last Blast Long Course Meet (21 March)

    Postponed: Darwin Invitational (4 April)

    Postponed: Short Course Development Meet 1 (19 April)

    Information for businesses regarding stimulus packages can be found here.

  • Queensland
  • Cancelled: 2020 Speedo National Preparation Meet & Jess Schipper Challenge (21-22 March)

    For more information on Queensland-based swimming events, visit the Swimming Queensland website.

    Information for businesses regarding stimulus packages can be found here.

  • South Australia
  • Cancelled: Bio Island Australian Junior Excellence Clinic (22 March)

    Swimming Australia and Swimming SA will hopefully look to reschedule this event later in the year.


    To Be Advised: Mad March Meet (27-29 March)

    Click here for all information relating to events impacted by COVID-19 in SA.

    For more information and the latest updates from Swimming SA, visit its website.

    Information for businesses regarding stimulus packages can be found here.


  • Tasmania
  • Cancelled: Long Course Regional Championships, Hobart (28 March)

    Cancelled: Long Course Regional Championships, Launceston (29 March)

    Cancelled: Development Clinics (21-22 March)

    For more information on Swimming Tasmania events and updates, please visit its website.


    Information for businesses regarding stimulus packages can be found here.

  • Victoria
  • Cancelled: Victorian Country All Junior Competition (21-22 March)

    Cancelled: Victoria Metro All Junior Competition (28 March)

    Cancelled: Country Interdistrict Competitions (29 March)

    Cancelled – Victorian School Associations Competition (11 May)

    Cancelled – Victorian Relay Competition (16 May)

    For more information regarding the cancellation of these events, click here.


    For more information and regular updates from Swimming Victoria, visit the Swimming Victoria website.


    Information for businesses regarding stimulus packages can be found here.

  • Western Australia
  • Cancelled: March Madness Meet (22 March)


    Cancelled: Hancock Prospecting Junior Champs (27-29 March)


    Cancelled: Bio Island Australian Junior Excellence Clinic (18 April).

    Swimming Australia and Swimming WA will hopefully look to reschedule this event later in the year.

    For more information regarding the cancellation of these events, click here.


    For ongoing updates in Western Australia, visit the Swimming WA website.


    Information for businesses regarding stimulus packages can be found here.

  • International Swimming Competitions
  • Pan Pacific Championships


    Out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the four Pan Pacific Charter Nations have agreed to defer the 2022 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships until 2026.


    Read more here.

    World Para Swimming

    Cancelled: Sao Paulo 2020 World Para Swimming World Series (26-28 March), Brazil


    Cancelled: Sheffield 2020 World Para Swimming World Series (9-12 April), Great Britain


    Postponed: Indianapolis 2020 World Para Swimming World Series (16-18 April), USA


    Postponed: Madeira 2020 World Para Swimming European Open Championships (17-23 May), Portugal

    Postponed: Berlin 2020 World Para Swimming World Series (18-21 June), Germany 


    US Paralympics Swimming will continue to monitor the situation, together with World Para Swimming and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, to determine the possibility to reschedule the competition later this year.


    For more information and updates from World Para Swimming, visit its website.


    Oceania Swimming Championships

    Postponed indefinitely: Oceania Swimming Championships (15-21 June), Fiji

    This decision was made in consultation with Fiji Swimming and in consideration of government travel restrictions, event restrictions, home training environments and most importantly, the potential health risks to athletes.

    FINA will continually assess the situation with the hope of rescheduling the Oceania Championships later in the year.


    The process for selecting an Australian team to compete at this meet will be explored once all other facts about dates and venue are known and provided by FINA.


    You can find more information on the Oceania Swimming Championships via their Facebook page.

Was this page helpful?yesno

Thanks for your feedback.

Go back to top