Who Are We?
City of Bristol Aquatics is a non-profit club, with 3 sections providing outstanding swimming, water polo and artistic swimming teaching, coaching and competition to nearly 600 members. These members are drawn from diverse backgrounds, who live throughout Bristol and the surrounding areas. We cater for athletes of all abilities who wish to develop and improve their performances through athlete focussed and structured coaching. We have swimmers / athletes as young 8 or 9 through to adults, continuing to support their swimming aspirations through university and beyond.
The opportunities in our club are wide. We provide a pathway for our swimmers / athletes from learning and developing basic / core skills through to Olympic competition and everything in between. The club aims to meet all these needs, providing the opportunity for youngsters to excel and for many, to reach for their dreams.
The Impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 brought an abrupt end to training and competition for the club and its members.
At the point of lock down our swimming squads were just preparing for our April National Qualifier Open Meet, one of 4 annual Open Swimming Meets run by the club, that bring in funding to help with running costs so fees are can be kept accessible. Coming off a very successful Country Championships, with 88 swimmers (who train with CoB) competing across 2 counties and picking up 212 medals (1st-3rd places); our members had been training hard for this event. For our faster swimmers this event also presented an opportunity to qualify for Regional and National Events, including this year, for some, a combined British Championships and Olympic Qualifier. For 2020, very sadly, it was not to be.
Water Polo were just starting their local league season; with 2 Junior, 3 Men’s and the Women’s teams all denied valuable competition, which serves as the preparation for the British League competition. Our international junior and senior athletes have also sadly lost opportunity to prepare and take part in European competition.
Artistic Swimming members were also mid training in preparation for a number of events, not only to compete as representatives of our club but also for some to represent Britain at Senior and Junior events, including the 2020 Olympics. Opportunities we profoundly hope will be available in 2021.
The club and its coaches have worked wonders keeping the members engaged. Within days, online land training was up and running, Youtube videos were created for anybody who wished to use them to help keep fit and strong ready for when swimming pools could reopen. Group chats were set up to ensure the younger members were well and coping. Friday morning became online cooking classes and social events like bingo and quiz's helped keep everybody entertained.
When it was allowed, for some, land training commenced face to face in social bubbles. Friends used to spending significant time together, seeing each other for the first time in many months was emotional, and their energy palpable as they got to work getting ready for the day pools opened again.
Our Pool Is Reopening
On Tuesday 1st September one of our pools (Hengrove) reopened, and we were straight in, 6am sharp, the first morning. This is amazing news, but there is a long way to go. Costs of returning to the pool have gone up significantly, as the pool operator looks to cut costs, the burden of providing lifeguarding to all our sessions has fallen to the club and numbers allowed in the pool at any one time has been considerably reduced to allow for social distancing ... but we are back in the water.
Sadly, other pools that we use have yet to re-open increasing the difficulty in reorganising squads to fit into the reduced pool time.
Why are we Crowd Funding?
With the loss of revenue from this seasons swimming Open Meets and the additional costs of returning to the pool, the clubs present income does not cover the costs. As with so many sporting clubs, the impacts of COVID are presenting many challenges to resolve.
It is important to the club to ensure membership is accessible to all. We wish to avoid meeting all of the additional costs borne from the impacts of COVID through increasing membership fees, as we believe this could discourage new members and may not be viable for all. Additionally, we wish to be able to support all our members through this difficult time, which includes those financially impacted by this crisis, to ensure that all members can return to the pool and joining City of Bristol Aquatics remains open to all swimmers. It is also important that the club remains financially secure in the long term so as to continue to grow and provide the very best opportunities for swimmers to train in the Bristol and surrounding areas.
We have set a target and hope that Sport England will match fund half of this through the Activity Together scheme. This is a massive target and very ambitious, but we are an ambitious bunch. The club and all its members are looking to the future, when competitions can restart and dreams can remain alive.
Who will you be helping?
Anything you can spare will help us ensure that CoB Aquatics remains the great club it was before COVID, to be financially accessible and to help us continue to build and develop so as to provide the best opportunities for our present members and those of the future.
Your donations will help all of these people:
- Young children looking to take their swimming / water polo / artistic swimming further
- Children starting out competing
- Children and Young adults competing at County, Regional, National and International Level
- Swimmers / athletes with disabilities
- Opportunities for swimmers / athletes from other clubs to receive additional training with a performance squad
- Swim specific training for children taking part in multidisciplinary sports such as triathlon
- Life saving Skills