Richmond’s young swimming stars are back in training with the support of Rishi Sunak.
The Richmond MP saw members of the Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club in action
during one of their resumed training sessions at Richmond Pool.
The pool re-opened on July 25 and the club’s members were back very shortly afterwards
observing Covid-19 safety procedures laid down their sport’s governing body Swim England in
line with Government guidance.
Mr Sunak said he very impressed with the organisation of the session to ensure that the young
swimmers could arrive, take part and leave safely.
He said: “There was almost a military precision to the way the session ran and it was great to see
the happy faces of the young swimmers as they went through their routines.
“The club, the coaches, parents and supporters have done an amazing job to ensure they can
resume the swimming activities which clearly bring such benefits to so many young people
regardless of their ability.”
Club chairman Richard Palmer-Jones said it was reassuring see the young people back in the
pools at Richmond and at Catterick Leisure Centre where the club also operates.
He said the club’s volunteer coaches and head coach Ben Hatchett had worked really hard to
keep all members engaged during lockdown and he was delighted that the club retained the vast
majority of them during the long months when the club couldn’t operate normally.
The major challenge facing the club was making up the income lost through the cancellation of
the regular inter-club galas it would normally have held.
This was essential to enable the club to maintain all its activities, particularly its para swim squad
successfully established in 2019.
Mr Sunak also met members of the Para squad during his visit, including 12-year-old Joe Field
who, along with the club’s Archie Hare, has been selected for Swim England’s Foundation Talent
They join a squad of only 56 other swimmers in the country who have achieved this accolade.
We are really grateful to all members for their continued support with our Covid 19 measures. We need to bring your attention to some very important updates.
Catterick Leisure Centre
I am sure you know that we’ve had a few teething problems at Catterick Leisure Centre, but this all seem to be resolved now. The Covid liaison volunteers will now carry out the temperature checks.
As you can appreciate the guidance on Covid 19 is changing on a regular basis and Swim England has updated their guidance and we would like to highlight the following changes:
Swim England Health Survey
1. Have you or your child (if they are returning) had confirmed Covid-19 infection or any symptoms (listed below) in keeping with Covid-19 in the last five months?
New, persistent, dry cough
Shortness of breath
Loss of taste or smell
Diarrhoea or vomiting
Muscle aches not related to sport/training
2. Have you or your child (if they are returning) had a known exposure to anyone with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in the last two weeks? (e.g. close contact, household member)
3. Do you or your child (if they are returning) have any underlying medical conditions?
(Examples include: chronic respiratory conditions including asthma; chronic heart, kidney, liver or neurological conditions; diabetes mellitus; a spleen or immune system condition; currently taking medicines that affect your immune system such as steroid tablets)
4. Do you or your child (if they are returning) live with or will you knowingly come in to close contact with someone who is currently ‘shielding’ or otherwise medically vulnerable if you return to the training environment?
Swim England Declaration
I confirm that for any future training sessions I/my child* will only attend in the full knowledge that I/my child* am/is* free from any Covid-19 symptoms. In addition, but conversely confirm by signing this declaration that if I/my child* do/does* display any symptoms I/my child* will not attend training for a period of at least 14 days and follow government guidance to self-isolate.
I am also confirming all in my household will follow the government guidance on quarantine and self-isolation following any travel abroad.
I/My child* return(s) to training knowing that participation cannot be without risk, I am therefore aware of these risks associated with the Covid-19 virus, but I still wish/I still wish my child* to participate in club training.
I understand the processes and protocols Richmond Dales ASC have put in place in order to reduce risks and I/my child* will adhere to these in order to protect my/my child’s* health and the health of other members, staff and other users of the facility.
I also understand that the club will have to be flexible and responsive due to the evolving government advice around Covid-19, and the fact that circumstances will change.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NEXT:
We now need every member to re-sign to confirm they have read and understood the above updates.
The Health Survey form and Covid-19 and Risk Awareness Declaration form are now available on the membership portal and can be signed electronically.
Following a recent Covid review meeting I would like to make you aware of the following elements that were flagged up as requiring communication to member:-
Swimmers must arrive to the pool beach ready -there are no changing facilities available.
If you have recently returned from a foreign holiday, please can you send relevant details (country visited and dates) to RDASC Admin () ahead of returning to training. The Club will then advise if you are clear to train.
Positive Covid-19 Test
In the event of a swimmer recording a positive covid-19 test, the parents / carers of the swimmers in the respective bubble will be notified immediately and swimmers must follow government guidance to self-isolate.
In addition – please see these reminders below of key elements of the Covid policy:-
We would like parents / carers not to remain on the bridge/mezzanine when swimmers are waiting to enter the pool (if it is a necessity to stand with your child, masks must be worn and social distancing measures must be adhered to).
Swimmers are expected to have their own bottle of sanitiser
There will be no entry when the door closes 10 minutes before the start a session
Declaration forms for all swimmers returning to the pool are now due.
I would like to close by commenting how well the swimmers have coped with such unusual circumstances. The club has been highly impressed with the levels of cooperation and maturity shown.
Thanks to all for doing such a great job in providing a safe environment for our return to swimming.
Two swimmers from RDASC have been selected for a prestigious talent programme run by Swim England.
Joe Field and Archie Hare, both 12 years old. swim in the Para Squad at Richmond Dales ASC.
Joe, who has dwarfism and Archie, who is visually impaired, both qualified for the National Para Championships last year and their successes in the pool have led to them both being selected for Swim Englands Foundation Talent Programme 2020-21.
They join a squad of only 56 other swimmers in the country who have achieved this accolade.
Having been selected to attend the North East Regional Para Talent Camps in 2020, both have now moved on to the next stage of the talent pathway with selection onto the programme.
Richmond Dales para coach Zoe Cowan said“I am very proud of both Joe & Archie for all the hard work they have put into their training in the last 12 months. This is a fantastic opportunity for them both. Their positive approach and commitment inspires others and they both show that anything is possible with hard work and determination no matter what hurdles you have to overcome.”
Richmond Dales swimming club, who train at both the Richmond Leisure Trust pool and Catterick Leisure Centre, set up its Para swimming squad in 2019 Its aim is to support swimmers with physical, intellectual & visual impairments to achieve their potential in the sport. The squad currently has 5 members but the aim is for the club to recruit more Para swimmers to its ranks and to become a hub for Para swimming in the North East.
The Head Coach at Richmond Dales said “It is fantastic to have both boys on the Swim England National Para Foundation Programme, a massive well done to them both and coaches Zoe & Keith for all their hard work.
We are confident this is just the beginning of the high level achievements for our Para Squad members and we are striving to provide Para swimmers in the North East with an environment that can facilitate international potential.”
The Chairman of Richmond Dales ASC, Richard Palmer-Jones said “ We are incredibly proud of the achievements of Archie & Joe in gainingnational recognition within their sport. Our aim as a club is to provide an inclusive environment where every swimmer can follow their dream – and in Archie & Joe’s case that is to represent GB at the very highest level. Our incredible coaching team deserve great credit for helping Archie & Joe and countless others pursue their dreams – well done to one and all.”
Virtual training sessions, peer to peer mentoring, diet tips and inspirational talks from competitive athletes, have been the order of the day for Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club members during lockdown. The club were celebrating as swimming pools opened to the public and they return to their regular training, albeit with strict safety control measures in place.
Richmond Dales ASC who train at Catterick and Richmond swimming pools are known for the wide range of swimmers they support. Swimmers from 7 years old are welcomed into their youth, fitness, elite, masters and para swimming squads. The Club also have close links with GB Down Syndrome Swimming and reached out to this squad to provide mentoring support during the lockdown period.
The Swimming Club have expressed their gratitude to Olympian swimmers Hannah Miley, Chris Cook, Ross Davenport, James Guy, European Champion springboard diver Grace Reid and Para Olympic Finalist Stephen Clegg for providing club members with a range of talks and question and answer sessions whilst the pools were out of bounds.
In addition to these sessions, and land based training via Zoom, coaches have held cookery sessions online showing swimmers how to prepare their own healthy snacks for before / after training & competitions.
Lockdown has had serious financial implications for the club with pool training being suspended. However members have stepped up to the mark by accepting ‘The 8:5:3 Challenge.’ and raising sponsorship money for pool equipment.
8:5:3 represents the letters in the club’s name (8-Richmond, 5-Dales, 3-ASC) and using the numbers, each individual had to come up with their own physical challenge to complete. The only rule was they needed to include all three numbers.
Megan Tait, a Year 8 student at Richmond School, chose to do an 8km bike ride, a 5km run and a 3km row, 5 times a week for 3 weeks – an incredible achievement.
Keith Hall, Club Development Officer and Coach at Richmond Dales ASC, said: “We are extremely proud of all of our athletes who have remained active and committed throughout this really difficult period. The individual challenges were extremely imaginative and helped to keep the swimmers fit and focused. The funds raised so far really did exceed our expectations but we still have a way to go to fully fund what we need. We would like to thank all of our Swimmers, Coaches, Parents and Supporters.”
If you would like to donate please visit their Justgiving page at
Richmond Dales ASC was formed in 1976 and has a long record of producing top level swimmers all the way up to Olympic athletes. To continue with its plans to expand and to help identify the next generation of elite athletes, Richmond Dales ASC is keen to identify the next generation of elite athletes by attracting new swimmers to the club to give them the opportunity to experience competitive swimming training. If you are interested in joining Richmond Dales for these sessions you can contact the club by emailing
As we approach the third week back in the pool, I’m delighted to report on so many positives around the club at present. Firstly, it is fabulous that so many of our members have returned to training – we are delighted to welcome you home!
Looking around the region it is clear that our retention levels are amongst the very highest. Our decision to prioritise EVERY squad having the ability to return has been very successful and we have also enjoyed welcoming new members joining from our highly successful ‘Inspire to Swim’ initiative – we are so pleased to welcome you to our family.
The challenge of return to pool has been great and I cannot praise our Covid Officers highly enough for the incredible work they have put into the safe return to swimming. The regulations are significant and we simply must adhere to them or lose our ability to operate. I witness the feedback messages each evening after sessions and continue to be full of admiration for the great team we have ensuring the very best and safest experience for every swimmer – a sincere ‘thank you’ for your tireless efforts.
I must however stress that we are in this for the long haul – we do not see any relaxing of the regulations this side of Christmas and with that I must re-iterate a number of key areas where we have experienced challenges since re-opening:-
Covid 19 Risk Assessment Declaration
Swim England require that this declaration be signed and presented by each member. Please ensure that this is presented to the Covid Officer at your next training session. Failure to present the completed form will result in the swimmer being unable to enter the pool.
The form can be found (https://www.rdasc.org.uk/training-advice/)
Form Titled (Return to Training – Declaration)
The doors are locked 10 minutes prior to the commencement of each session. Our staff have to move to poolside in order to ensure that the regulations are being met in that environment ahead of the pool session. We have experienced a number of late arrivals and unfortunately those arriving later than 10 minutes to the start of the session will not gain entry. Please make the effort to commence your journey to the pool in good time – we really want all swimmers to have the chance to swim but are bound by the regulations.
Wearing of Face Mask
This is mandatory in the Richmondshire Swimming Pool and we had this verified again this week during a meeting with the Chair of Richmondshire Leisure Trust. The simple rule will be – No Mask = No Entry.
Swimmers – there continue to be a number of contraventions of social distancing outside of the pool ahead of sessions. Markers have been placed strategically to ensure correct distancing and we will not allow swimmers who ignore these regulations to enter the pool.
Parents – Please can parents/carers please avoid congregating on the bridge (mezzanine) on arrival and departure.
Further Update – our Covid Officers have a formal review meeting on Monday 17th August where a number of refinements to the process will be discussed and verified. A further update will be issued following that meeting.
It is not our intention to overload or overcomplicate the provision of safe swimming to our members – but I hope you will appreciate that we are being, and will remain, as diligent as possible in order to ensure that we can continue to operate as a club. Please play your part in helping us continue to succeed in delivering a safe and enjoyable environment for our swimmers.