COVID-19: SNSW advice

Lane Rope in a pool

In recent weeks, there has been a gradual easing of restrictions put in place by the NSW Government in response to the state's success in managing the COVID-19 situation. As the situation evolves, Swimming NSW will continue to provide relevant updates through this dedicated page.

1 July return to sport

On 1 June 2020, the NSW Government announced the resumption of competitive sport from 1 July 2020. Below is a summary of the conditions and requirements for swimming.

From 13 June 2020:

  • Indoor recreation facilities can re-open with the following conditions:
    • the number of people in a facility must not exceed one person per 4 square metres, including staff (i.e. the 100 person indoor premises rule will not apply to indoor recreation facilities)
    • sport and recreation activities (including swimming classes) must have no more than 10 participants, plus the instructor and any assistants, per space and comply with one person per 4 square metres.
  • Under NSW public health orders, indoor facility owners and operators must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that details how their buisness will keep participants, visitors, volunteers and workers safe. The NSW Government has developed this COVID-19 Safety Plan template that can be used by swimming pool operators recommencing from 13 June 2020.

From 1 July 2020:

Visit the NSW Government website for more information on becoming a COVID-safe business. It is important that all swimming pool owners and operators also remain up to date with current NSW Government public health orders

Some of the conditions outlined above differ in the ACT. From 12 noon, Friday 19 June 2020, Phase 2.2 of Canberra's Recovery Plan came into effect. The changes, as applicable to pools and swimming, are as follows:

  • Swimming pools can open with a maximum of 100 people (including staff, trainers and spectators) per indoor or outdoor space or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser.
  • Swimming pools should have a maximum of four swimmers per lane.
  • Communal facilities (such as changerooms) can open if a risk assessment has been done and a strict cleaning regime is put in place. This should be outlined in the COVID Safety Plan.
  • Canteens can operate, however, physical distancing must be encouraged.

Visit the ACT website for more information on restrictions within their borders.

It is important to remember that although state and territory governments may ease restrictions, the decision to re-open may differ between individual facility owners and their businesses and across communities based on local conditions and other factors.  

Swimming NSW will make an announcement regarding its events in the coming weeks.

Return to play in a COVID-safe environment

Prior to resuming sporting activity, all clubs are recommended to have a clear Return to Play in a COVID-safe Environment framework. We recommend that clubs start developing their COVID-safe plans as soon as possible to ensure they are ready to resume swimming activity once the relevant easing of restrictions allows them to do so. The jointly prepared Swimming Australia National Guidelines for Restarting Club Environments outlines 10 recommendations for clubs to consider/implement prior to the resumption of swimming activity, as follows:

  1. The club has nominated a COVID-19 liaison
  2. The club is familiar with its state/local government restrictions re: COVID-19
  3. The club has checked its facility’s safety protocols
  4. The club has put in place infection limitation measures around water bottles and equipment
  5. The club is managing swimmer numbers in accordance with the guidelines
  6. The club is ready to respond if a swimmer becomes sick whilst training
  7. The club has a communication plan should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed
  8. The club is considering and is practicing current work health and safety measures
  9. The club has an appropriate drop off/pick up procedure for swimmers in place
  10. The club has considered COVID-19 vulnerable groups within the club environment

Click here for full details about these recommendations, as well as further information for clubs on returning to the pool. These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment.
Further to the above, the following general COVID-safe principles will apply:

  • Maintain 1.5m social distancing at all times
  • Get in, train and get out
  • Practice good hand hygiene before and after training
  • Come ready to swim
  • Stay home if you, or a family member, are unwell
  • Don’t share food, drinks, equipment or towels
  • Follow the one person per 4 square metres rule to ensure sufficient physical distancing between participants

Please also note the following SNSW Hygiene Best Practices, which are widely considered by health experts to be key to disease prevention and management.

Further information

You can also stay up to date with the health situation, credible advice and recommendations at the following links:

NSW/ACT Government

World Health Organisation

Australian Government

Sport Australia/AIS

Swimming Australia

We understand that this is a worrying time for many in our community. We want to assure you that our staff and SNSW Board are responding to the situation as it evolves.

Thank you again for your ongoing support in putting the health and safety of our Swimming NSW family first.


  • Looking after the mental health of yourself and others
  • Swimming NSW is working hard to develop ways we can support our members during this very difficult time. We encourage everyone to look after themselves, their family and friends. If you are feeling overwhelmed by it all, there is help available. Our friends at ReachOut Australia have a number of resources to help you through challenging times. 

    Here are a few links that you might find useful (for yourself or to share with others who are doing it tough):

    We are here to help, too. Swimming NSW will remain operational throughout the months ahead and we encourage our members to reach out at any time they need support - even if it's just for a chat!

  • Dryland exercises and home workout tips
  • With all swimming pools closed, the options for swimmers to train in the water have all but dried up. Remember this is only temporary and we hope that you will all be back in the pool in the not too distant future. In the meantime, there is a host of workout from home content popping up to help you keep up your fitness and stay motivated so you can be ready to hit the pool again when life returns to normal. 

    Here are a few to get you started. Read more.

  • Governance advice and support available to clubs
  • From changes to how clubs can operate in the current environment to the longer-term financial implications, the COVID-19 impact on sport at all levels will be significant.

    We've compiled some information that can help clubs to navigate some of the uncertainty and access crucial government support and assistance. Click here for more.

    14 May update: NSW Fair Trading has updated its rules around holding AGMs.

    To assist incorporated associations in the changing circumstances resulting from COVID-19 restrictions, associations are no longer formally required to apply for an extension of time to hold 2020 annual general meetings by lodging the form: A11 - Application for extension of time for holding annual general meeting.  

    Associations may conduct their AGM when restrictions are lifted or may conduct the 2020 AGM, for the purpose of presenting the financial information to members, in conjunction with the 2021 AGM. You can find more COVID-19-related information on their website.

    11 May update: The Office of Sport has developed a resource library that brings together resources from a variety of expert providers and official organisations to help support your sporting organisation. It doesn’t matter your size, if you employ people or not, there will be something here that can help you.

    The Office of Sport has also compiled an overview of financial and stimulus measures that may be available to all types of NSW sport and recreation organisations and businesses as a result of the impact of COVID-19 public health measures on their organisations.

  • Webinars and podcasts
  • There are a lot of great webinars and podcasts on a wide selection of relevant topics to help keep clubs, swimmers, families and coaches informed and entertained through this uncertain time.


    Timeout Talks hosted by the NSW Office of Sport

    With timeout currently called on sport, the Office of Sport, in collaboration with Sport NSW and The Australian College Of Physical Education, has launched a new webinar series to keep our sporting community connected and united so we can return as one.

    Timeout Talks will offer a wide selection of webinar topics, discussing key points pertinent to organisations and clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as sessions that provide valuable personal and professional development opportunities in areas such as coaching, high-performance pathways, inclusion in sport and much more. It's a free resource for the industry to support individuals and organisations across all levels of sport in NSW, from grassroots sport to professional sport. Register for an upcoming webinar and view recordings of past episodes here.

    'JX Xtra' hosted by Swimming Australia

    Swimming Australia and its nutrition partner, Bio Island, are delighted to present a new three-part ‘JX Xtra’ webinar series hosted by Bio Island ambassador and dual Olympian, Dolphin Elka Whalan (nee Graham).

    Covering an array of topics across a three-week period, the series aims to provide parents – and junior swimmers themselves – with ideas around how to stay motivated and maintain wellness during the COVID-19 situation, as well as provide recipes to make healthy, nutritious-filled snacks and meals.

    The series kicks off Friday 15 May. View full details here.

    Post COVID-19 Community Sport hosted by Play by the Rules

    Play by the Rules is running a series of webinars to help clubs through the challenges presented by COVID-19 and their journey beyond. The next webinar, Governance Challenges and Planning for the Future, will be held at 10.00 am, Friday 15 May 2020. You can view past webinar recordings here.

    Gold Class Swimming

    Gold Class Swimming recently ran a series of webinars aimed at helping parents of competitive swimmers, coaches and swimmers during lockdown. You can view the past webinar recordings here.

    ASCTA – Australian Swimming Coaches & Teachers Association

    This one is for the coaches and swim teachers. ASCTA regularly offers professional development webinars for its members. You can view and register for upcoming webinars here.


    Off The Blocks

    Australia’s Number One Swimming Podcast Off The Blocks brings you the latest interviews from Australian swimming’s biggest legends, superstars of today and rising stars of the future. Take a look here.

    Olympics Unleashed – Australian Olympic Council

    Olympics Unleashed features Aussie athletes on their journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

    Throughout the series, presented by Olympian David Culbert, you will hear from Olympians, athletes aspiring to make the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team and from some of the most senior people driving the Olympic Movement in Australia. Take a look here.


    The show that shares information, ideas and inspiration between swimming people who stay dry! Take a look here.

    Coach Connection

    Jon Shaw, Swimming NSW Coaching Director, interviews and chats to leading coaches within NSW and Australia. Many topics will be covered to keep you up to date with coaching swimmers from Age to Open level. These chats will be for coaches about coaches and they will lend their experience to support your development and challenge your thinking. Take a look here.

    Swimming with Bobby

    Talking all things SWIMMING with Bobby Hurley, former World Champion turned coach and commentator. Hear insights from the best swimmers and coaches around the world about their journey to the top and performing at the highest level. Take a look here.

    On Her Game

    Sports journalist, Sam Squiers, speaks to elite sportswomen about their challenges, triumphs and setbacks in an effort to get to know the person behind the athlete and learn what it takes to get to the top of their field. Take a look here.

    Swim Like a Fish - Social Isolation Podcast

    Swim Like A. Fish is an online, educational resource for swimmers and coaches started by retired UGA swimmer, Abbie Fish. Coach Abbie has coached clients as young as 5 and as old as 90, including some Olympic athletes. In her podcast she investigates the importance of dryland workouts for swimmers, techniques and the greatest rivalry that never happened (Thorpe v Phelps). Take a look here.

Latest news

  • 17 July 2020: Revised COVID-19 Safety Plan template
  • As a result of rising COVID-19 case numbers in NSW, NSW Health has revised the COVID-19 Safety Plan template for community sporting competitions and full training activities.

    Clubs will need to update their COVID-19 Safety Plans detailing the actions that will be put in place to address the additional requirements set out by NSW Health.

  • 30 June 2020: Updated Public Health Order
  • On Tuesday, 30 June 2020, the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research, The Hon Brad Hazzard MP, made the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) under the Public Health Act 2010. This Order revokes all previous Public Health Orders and, amongst other areas, provides the rules governing the conduct of sport and active recreation. The full Order may be viewed here.

    Clubs should be aware of the important change concerning maximum number of participants: The Minister directs that the organiser of a community sporting activity must ensure that a gathering for the activity involves no more than 500 participants.

    It is also important to note that a COVID-19 Safety Plan is mandatory and must be kept at the venue / clubhouse with the Duty Officer aware of its location for access and inspection by an authorised officer if required. To view the NSW Government approved Safety Plans, please click here.

  • 26 June 2020: SNSW Return to Competition Plan
  • Swimming NSW welcomes the news that competitive sport can resume from 1 July.

    While we recognise that pool managers have interpreted the easing of restrictions differently and are managing the return-to-swimming risk in different ways, we are confident that all clubs will be back to full pool access over the coming months. With this in mind, Swimming NSW has been working with its various stakeholders to map out a fair and safe return to competition in NSW. Read more.

  • 11 June 2020: 1 July return to sport update
  • Last week, the NSW Government announced that community sport for under 18's could resume from 1 July 2020. In making this announcement, the government did not release any further information or guidelines for what this resumption would look like for our sport. Swimming NSW, alongside several other sporting bodies, has since been in talks with the NSW Government to better understand the conditions and requirements that need to be met under this directive.

    On behalf of the sporting sector in NSW, the Office of Sport yesterday released information that provides further details based on these discussions with the NSW Government. Click here for a summary of the conditions and requirements for swimming.

  • 2 June 2020: Resumption of kids' sport (1 July 2020)
  • Yesterday, the NSW Government announced the resumption of kids' sport from 1 July 2020. It is not yet clear what this means for swimming, but we will advise our community as soon as we know more. Stay tuned.

  • 24 May 2020: Sport Australia launches 'Return to Sport Toolkit'
  • Sport Australia has launched a suite of practical resources that focus on giving community sporting clubs and associations a roadmap for the safest return to sport at all levels. Sport Australia’s Return to Sport Toolkit comes with comprehensive checklists, adaptable COVID-19 safety plans and templates that can be used by sporting organisations at any level. It is in step with the AIS Framework for Rebooting of Sport in a COVID-19 Environment and the Australian Government’s National principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities. Read more.

  • 20 May 2020: Squad training given the green light in NSW
  • NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard MP, has signed off on an exemption for squad training to resume in indoor pools. The directive, released this morning, will allow indoor pools to open for the purpose of allowing squad training to take place. Up to 10 swimmers will be able to participate at one time, along with their coaches and trainers. Read the full ministerial exemption here.

  • 14 May 2020: Club guidelines for restarting swimming activity
  • Last Friday 8 May, the National Cabinet announced a national three-step plan to re-open a COVID-safe Australia. For several weeks, Swimming NSW has been working in collaboration with Swimming Australia, State/Territory associations and ASCTA, along with the AIS, Sport Australia, and Federal and State Governments on a plan for clubs and swimmers to safely return to swimming activity once restrictions have eased. Today, we sent a communication to all club administrators on the Swimming Australia - National Guidelines for Restarting Club Environments. This email contains important information to help clubs prepare for the resumption of swimming activity. View email.

    Clubs can also check in with our 5 things clubs can do right to prepare for the return to swimming.

  • 13 May 2020: ACT enters first phase of recommencement for community sports
  • From midnight on 15 May 2020, the ACT will enter the first phase of recommencement for community sporting activity. This phase allows social and community sport to resume in outdoor spaces with a maximum of 10 people. Read more or you can watch a webinar delivered by Sport and Recreation for ACT for State Sporting Organisations regarding the first phase of recommendations for community sports.

    In line with this announcement, the ACT Government has released a framework for community sport in the ACT and FAQs that specifically address the use of swimming pools


  • 8 May 2020: National Cabinet announces plans to re-open a COVID-safe Australia
  • Today, the National Cabinet announced a three-step approach to ease restrictions.

    Swimming NSW has been working in collaboration with Swimming Australia, State/Territory associations and ASCTA, along with the AIS, Sport Australia, and Federal and State Governments on a plan for clubs and swimmers to safely return to swimming activity. Stay tuned for further details next week.

    Read more about the Australian Government's three-step plan for re-opening a COVID-safe Australia and economy.

  • 01 April 2020: Changes to the Swim League 2020 season
  • The government’s necessary response to the COVID-19 situation has temporarily put the brakes on all swimming competitions, swim club activity, squad training and Swimming NSW events. As such, we have made some changes to the upcoming Swim League 2020 season that was scheduled to commence on 9 and 10 May 2020.

    Click here to read more about the changes.

  • 25 March 2020: Additional event cancellations
  • The COVID-19 situation is ever-changing and there is much uncertainty ahead in terms of the depth, duration and scale of the challenges we are facing.

    The Government continues to announce new measures each day to combat the spread of the virus and protect Australians as best as possible, the key focus of which has been to keep people separated. This is extremely important at this time and we encourage all of our members to comply with this advice. Learn more about the government's social distancing advice.

    Last night, the Prime Minister announced that all swimming pools should close and this effectively means that our sport will stop for a period of time, along with our learn to swim pipeline. We by no means underestimate the effect that this will have on our sport right now and moving forward, however, we know that this situation is only temporary and we hope that you will all be back swimming in the not too distant future.

    Swimming NSW is working hard to develop ways we can support our members during this very difficult time and we encourage everyone to look after themselves, as well as their family and friends. Our youth mental health partner, ReachOut Australia, has provided us with some easy tips that can help you to manage your wellbeing during these uncertain times

    In further event announcements, Swimming NSW alongside Uni Sport Australia have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Sydney Open & Uni Sport Nationals meet that was scheduled for 14-17 May 2020. UniSport is exploring options to host the Nationals Swimming championships later in the year and will provide further updates as they become available.

    All swimmers that entered via Swim Central will have their fees refunded back to the card that was used to make the purchase. You should see these funds within 10-14 days, depending on your bank. If you completed entries via the online form, your payment had not yet been processed, so no funds have been taken.

    Further event announcements will be made as required and once further information is forthcoming from the relevant Government authorities. You can also visit Swimming Australia for a current list of event changes and other advice.

  • 20 March 2020: NSW Junior State Age Championships CANCELLED
  • As our members would be aware, the COVID 19 situation is ever-changing and there is much uncertainty ahead in terms of the depth, duration and scale of the challenges we are facing.

    The Government continues to announce new measures each day to combat the spread of the virus and protect Australians as best as possible, the key focus of which has been to keep people apart. 

    Last week we postponed our Junior State Age Championships until May with the hope that a quick resolution would be possible, however the Government has repeated today that for these measures to be effective they will need to be in place for some time. 

    Therefore Swimming NSW has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Junior State Age Championships. With over 2500 competitors and spectators, it would have been both impossible and irresponsible to try and go ahead with this event in the current circumstances.

    We are continuing to review the Sydney Open event with UniSport Australia as well our upcoming Swim League and Short Course seasons and will keep our members informed of any changes via this page, social media and our other communications channels. 

    We are aware that pools are beginning to close across the State and that even training is not possible for many of you. It is important to note that this situation is only temporary and that you will all be back swimming in the not too distant future. In the meantime, Swimming NSW encourages you to look after yourselves as well as your family and friends. Click here have a look at ReachOut’s 10 tips for taking care of yourself during this COVID-19 situation.

    Anyone who has entered the event will receive a full refund. 

    We thank you for your understanding. 

  • 18 March 2020: Further restrictions on gatherings (100+ people)
  • Today, the Prime Minister announced further restrictions on organised gatherings, banning all non-essential INDOOR organised gatherings of 100+ people, in addition to its previous limits on all non-essential OUTDOOR gatherings of 500+ people, which became effective earlier this week. This new restriction is effective immediately. 

    As detailed on the Federal Government's Department of Health website, indoor gatherings are classified as a gathering that 'takes place within a single enclosed area (i.e. a single room or area)'. The government is encouraging social distancing and good hygiene practices for indoor gatherings of less than 100. You can read more about the government's advice regarding indoor gatherings (both below and over 100) here.  

    The government also issued some Community Sport Guidelines. Although swimming pools are not required to close at this time, several councils have already made the precautionary decision to close aquatic centres and swimming pools in response to this latest announcement. If you are in doubt, please check your local council for advice specific to your area.

  • 15 March 2020: Restrictions on mass gatherings (500+ people)
  • On Friday 13 March, the Prime Minister issued a statement advising against organised public gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday, 16 March 2020. 

    As a result of this, and the rapidly changing environment, Swimming NSW has updated its advice for the NSW swimming community. In providing this advice, we have also considered Department of Foreign Affairs and TradeNSW HealthAustralian Institute of Sport, the World Health Organisation and other authorities, including Swimming Australia, to make decisions in the best interests of the health and welfare of our members, volunteers and families.

    • From 16 March 2020, Swimming NSW advises against hosting any swimming competition in NSW for a period of 30 days.
    • SNSW has postponed the 2020 NSW Junior State Championship.
    • SNSW has instructed all staff (not including pool deck coaches) not to attend NSW Swimming Programs for a period of 30 days.

    Our advice of 8 March, relating to self-quarantining and international travel, is also updated to now include all international travel to any country, NOT just those countries listed.

  • 14 March 2020: NSW Junior State Age Championships postponed
  • In response to the federal government's recommendation (13 March) to suspend all non-essential gatherings of 500+ people, Swimming NSW has decided to postpone the upcoming Junior State Age Championships to 9-10 May 2020. Read more

  • 8 March 2020: COVID-19 advice
  • Based on government sources, our current advice is as follows:

    • Any person who travels to or transits through the following countries must self-quarantine for 14 days after landing in Australia:

      • Mainland China

      • Iran

      • Italy

      • South Korea

      • Japan

      • Cambodia

      • Thailand

      • Indonesia

      • Mongolia

      • Singapore

      • Hong Kong

    Our current advice around international travel is in line with Government alerts – this list of countries may change as the situation evolves.  Please refer to the Australia Department of Health website for a list of countries and regions considered to pose a risk of transmission of COVID-19. This list is based on the risk of the person having been exposed to COVID-19 due to travel to a country and region with sustained community transmission and/or based on the patterns of travel between those countries and regions and Australia, and/or the other epidemiological evidence.  Further, following our own external advice we have also included Mongolia on our list of countries due to the poor standard of medical care and high degree of risk of transmission. You can read more about the latest Government update regarding Mongolia here.

    • Any person who has close contact with a person who has travelled to or transits through the above countries must self-quarantine for 14 days after being in contact with that person.

    • Any person who has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, must self-quarantine as outlined above and notify their Club/ Coach.

    • Any person who has been in contact with a person with suspected COVID-19, must self-quarantine as outlined above and notify their Club/ Coach. If you find out that the suspected case has tested negative to COVID-19 you can return to training/ competition prior to the 14 days.

    • If a squad member is diagnosed with COVID-19, that squad should be immediately self-quarantined and each member of that squad should be suspended from competition for 14 days.

    • All international tours to the above countries, should be postponed or cancelled.

    If any member is in a situation where they are unable to participate in a SNSW event as a result of the above advice, please email the following address to arrange for a refund of your entry fees:

    If you have any queries about whether you should be attending training or competitions, please err on the side of caution.

    As a precautionary measure, and for the safety of all our members, all peoples (coach/athlete/parent/official) who are unwell for any reason should not attend training or any competition.  If an unwell athlete/coach/official or parent presents at any SNSW event, squad or activity they will be asked to immediately leave the facility.

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