CHENNAI: Swimming pools in Tamil Nadu will reopen for training from December first week after the pandemic-enforced lockdown in March. This was listed in new guidelines released by the state government on Monday. The date is not finalised. This decision comes nearly two months after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) gave permission to open pools across the country.
Swimmers and coaching staff will follow protocols more or less similar to those released by the MHA in October. According to guidelines, a maximum of 20 swimmers are allowed to train in a 50m pool with 10 lanes, while 16 are permitted in 25/50m pools with eight lanes.
The pools will be accessible for competitive swimmers above 12 years. Chlorine level must be maintained at 2.0PPM with Ph level between 7 and 7.4.
Toilets and showers will be off limits.
The Tamil Nadu State Aquatic Association (TNSAA) welcomed the move to open facilities for training. "Sanitisation of pools owned by Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu has begun. Even many private pools have started work to get ready in a week. We will follow MHA guidelines. We are just awaiting the exact date for reopening since the government order does not mention it," said T Chandrasekaran, TNSAA secretary.
KK Mukundan, former national coach and now secretary of Madras District Aquatic Association, said training will be in batches with a limited number of swimmers per session.
"Now that we got permission to reopen facilities, it's important to ensure we strictly adhere to the protocols and keep the athletes safe," said Mukundan, who runs the ORCA swim centre in Chennai. "Only issue the swimmers might face is they won't be able to access washrooms. We will advise our children to shower at home and then train here. We will take extra precautions to ensure safety."