One cannot learn to swim in a Pandemic

Bangalore Capstone City COVID-19 Health

The coronavirus is thought to be killed by chlorine in swimming pools, but it is best to avoid crowded pools even though no covid case has been found through swimming pools. Aside from the physical aspect, swimmers are concern about their mental health.

Bangalore: The news was good for the country’s talented swimmers. The swimming pools had been preparing for the opening of swimming pools on October 15, 2020, after nearly six months of lockout. This was listed in the Ministry of Home Affairs’ latest guidelines, which were issued on October. The opening of pools, on the other hand, will now be determined by the states. 

Basavanagudi Aquatic Center had been open since November 2020, with a small recess in February. “The centre had gone through a thorough sanitation before opening up and there was no activity at the start of opening the swimming pool,” said Padmanabha Rao V, head coach of Basavanagudi Aquatic Center. 

The Aquatic Center adopted the government’s stringent instructions, which primarily consisted of effectively combating the virus’s spread, and was mostly dependent on handling the water, which involved a pH of 7.5, 2 ppm of chlorine, and 24-hour filtration. Nearly 100 pupils have routinely attended swimming lessons, producing the RT-PCR test a requirement for both children and coaches once a month. However, the centre had 500 students before the lockout, and the parents of the remaining 400 children are now unsure whether or not to allow their children to swim because they are afraid of the covid virus.

“The children’s temperature is being checked at the entrance and the coach are responsible for their own swimmers, to look out for any covid symptoms and to report immediately if anyone shows signs of covid – 19,” Padmanabha added. 

Shannon Sovndal, MD, an emergency medical services medical director in Boulder, Colorado, and author of Fragile, states that chlorine is a drug that destroys coronavirus.

“There is currently no indication that COVID-19 can spread to people by recreational water,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “However, it is necessary to avoid close contact with people outside of your home while visiting public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds, as well as natural bodies of water — like beaches and lakes — to slow the spread of COVID-19.” 

Taking extra care if possible go to a public park with a pool where other people are swimming in. As long as all of the pool additives and temperatures are where they should be, the individual need not think about catching COVID-19 from the water. In the summer, though, public pools are often overcrowded. Moreover, if a person without a mask sneezes when you’re relaxing in a nearby lounge chair, that might be a concern.

“So far no Covid cases have been reported with contact to swimming pools,” said the head coach, which acknowledges the vital question of whether one can be infected with the coronavirus. The reason they say why there have been no cases of infection of the virus through swimming pool is still because of the chlorine. 

The main challenge that the coach and the swimmers are facing is the lack of efficient training, which is because of the limited time of practice which had been affected due to the lockdown; an athlete should undergo a minimum of six months of training with a planned work out, and lack of it affects their skill and lower their performance level in competitions. 

In swimming, India lags behind, but a few young stars are working hard to qualify for the Olympics. 

Despite many failures, Indian swimming at the highest level now seems to be youthful and promising. In the men’s division of the Olympics, China and Japan are among the top four nations. “They’re fantastic. We just come in fifth or sixth place when we play against them for the Asiad gold.” Wilson Cherian, once the country’s finest backstroke swimmer, who finished fourth in the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, agrees. Swimmers from several nations, including Singapore and Korea, practice in the United States. Swimming is well supported in these nations, unlike in India.

National swimming athlete Ridhima V Kumar’s challenge during the lockdown was mental health more than the virus. “We had online classes however it was difficult to keep the momentum going and I had to find something productive to do during six hours where I usually dedicate to swimming,” said Ridhima V Kumar. 

The rise in dependence on land and solo training as a result of COVID-19 has also impacted the swimming culture. Many competitors have been reluctant to compete in a pool and rely on land-based exercises to supplement their training. Athletes have been pushed to sprint mile after mile in order to maintain a semblance of fitness. 

Vijaya Raghavan, Vice President of KSA said, “ We have our own department to test chlorine level, which should not increase more the 2ppm according to the guidelines given by the government.” 


Chlorine is widely used in swimming pools to destroy viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Although experiments on chlorine’s efficacy against the unique covid-19 virus do not seem to have been performed, chlorine’s effectiveness against other SARS-CoV viruses has been investigated. According to the report, approximately half of the coronavirus was inactivated in one minute, according to the exact chlorine dosage. Within the pool environment, chlorine is supposed to be equally successful in inactivating covid-19. 

The increase of chlorine has raised a few issues that Dr. Lorraine Dias a MD Physician at Orthopedic and Sports Med Clinic had come across: severe skin dryness irritation problems and children with stomach pain because they accidentally swallow the high level of chlorinated water. The segregation that occurs while swimmers swim can make someone vulnerable to get infected by the virus if he/she is the carrier of the virus. It is advisable to avoid swimming now during the pandemic, however using a temperature control pool is more preferred to help the individual less vulnerable to the virus.

According to WHO, swimming in a well-maintained, properly chlorinated pool is safe. However, it is advisable to stay away from all crowded areas, including crowded swimming pools. Keep a one-meter distance from people who sneeze or cough even in a swimming area.

The virus can be killed by chlorinated water. “But stopping it from spreading in locker rooms and other places near pools is still a problem,” said Padmanabha. Among the problem of social distancing, water treatment and air circulation have been a problem in indoor swimming pools.

Basavanagudi swimmers were able to participated in several competitions and also a few got  cancelled, including one in Rajkot, due to the rising number of cases of covid – 19 in Gujarat and Maharastra, highlighting the unpredictability of the situation affected by the pandemic.

With the rising covid cases in the state of Karnataka, the restrictions on swimming activities have resumed. 

As per a notice released by the Bangalore Police Commissioner, the Chief Secretary and Chairman, along with the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority, have imposed certain reasonable public safety and health restrictions. 

An article in the Times of India had mentioned that on April 5, the Karnataka swimming fraternity hit the roads and appealed to the state government to remove restrictions on swimming activities in the state. They justified their argument by claiming that, as per researches, it is scientifically proven that COVID-19 cannot be transferred through water. Therefore, they urged the government to resume the swimming pools. 


The ‘unknowns’ are specific in COVID-19 by swimming world news. For several years, a lot has been learned about the interaction between coronavirus, water, and the dangers of any fecal material involvement. A crucial thesis from an American university has come to light after Swimming World highlighted a 2008 University of Arizona study into the interaction between water and coronavirus. 

In relation to the 2003 outbreak of coronavirus SARS-CoV, the paper states: “The persistence of coronaviruses in water observed in this study suggests that if SARS-CoV should reemerge in human populations, water contaminated with these viruses may continue to pose an exposure risk even after infected individuals are no longer present.”

The Water Research journal released 12 years ago in April 2009 has a six-page entry titled “Survival of surrogate coronaviruses in water” in ScienceDirect’s database. Lisa Casanova of the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, William A. Rutala and David J. Weber of the Department of Medicine, and Mark D. Sobseya of the Department of Medicine wrote the paper.

“If water or sewage infected with SARS-CoV are aerosolised, it could theoretically expose vast numbers of people to infection,” the writers write about the 2003 SARS-CoV virus epidemic. Also, with isolation steps to separate infectious patients, this may pose a long-term danger during an outbreak.”

Although most properly handled waters are safe in and of themselves (as opposed to the apparent dangers of close human interaction in a pool setting, including changing rooms and showers), the writers, looking at a wide range of concerns outside the field of sport, highlight issues that open water swimmers should be concerned.

A setting in which swimmers breathe in aerosolised water, which may aid virus transmission, is crucial to them. The authors emphasise the dangers of respiratory infections, such as Legionella, as well as cases where the presence of urine or feces will raise the risk of transmission in a research paper published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. 

Legionella is a respiratory pathogen acquired through inhalation of infected water droplets. Norovirus and hantavirus may be spread through desiccation and aerosolization of body fluids and feces. SARS was transmitted as people inhaled water infected with the feces-borne virus.

A few methods a pool owner can follow to create a safe and effective social distancing at pools.

Pool owners can choose to restrict the number of persons permitted inside the pool area at any one time, in addition to specifying that the social distance policy is in place. This essentially amounts to the creation of a new “Social Distancing Ability.” People would be able (and more likely) to keep a minimum 6 ft. distance if the number of people permitted at the pool is reduced. And with the use of several of these methods suitable to pools. 

The overall number of people who can use the pool per day is increased by limiting how long visitors can visit. The most effective way to do this is to set out blocks of pool time for people to visit each day. A pool, for example, may provide a set of 1.5 or 2-hour blocks of time for pool visits during the day.

In blocks of pool time, a 20- or 30-minute break allows you to: 

When entering and leaving the pool, patrons can maintain a social distance. 

Surfaces will be disinfected, and pool employees will test water chemistry. 

The total number of people in the pool area does not exceed the Social Distancing Ability.

Warning sign for covid–19: Pool owners may want to consider putting up a sign. The sign should be big, written in bold letters, and placed prominently at the pool’s entrance. These are all examples of future policies; signs may be tailored to meet local needs and your policies.

Ernest Blatchley is a Purdue University environmental engineer who researches how disinfectants in swimming pools interact with toxins and pathogens. 

“The water itself should present minimum danger and potentially a reasonable risk for most people in a well-operated pool,” Blatchley tells Inverse.

“However, since we don’t spend any of our time submerged in a shower, the chance of disease spread is not negligible.” 

A viral droplet from a stranger’s sneeze, or touching surfaces in the dressing room or bathroom, may infect swimmers with Covid-19. According to research, the Covid-19 virus can live on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 72 hours, involving a pool ladder, deck chair, or door handle.

“I’m not aware of anything about this virus that will preclude it from being successfully inactivated by the disinfectants we use,” Blatchley says. That is, unless there’s something “very strange” going on, such as a potential disinfectant resistance in some areas of the virus.

UV radiation from UV pool sanitisers or the sun often damages the radioactive content of bacteria and viruses. It has often used in conjunction with chlorine to destroy microorganisms in water. According to Blatchley, exposure to sunlight can make surfaces around outdoor pools less virus-prone than those around indoor pools. There is currently no evidence about how common water disinfectants impact the Covid-19 virus directly. However, evidence from other viruses with a similar composition shows that these disinfectants can destroy SARS-CoV-2.

Tokyo Olympics 2021

According to a senior official, Tokyo 2020 organisers expect to meet with the International Swimming Federation (FINA) on the first week of April 2021, after the federation said it would reconsider holding the Olympic diving qualification event scheduled for this month.

The Olympic competition and qualifying event for the diving, the Diving World Cup in Tokyo, has been rescheduled for May 1-6. The tournament, which was scheduled to occur from April 18 to 23, had been canceled by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, due to questions about Covid-19’s welfare.

It was rescheduled after “a very constructive negotiation process” with the Japanese Swimming Federation, Olympic organisers, the administration, and the International Olympic Committee, according to FINA.

The marathon swimming Olympic qualification, which was initially planned for 1-4 May in Fukuoka, will now be held in Portugal from 19-20 June, although a decision about when the artistic swimming qualifiers will be held has yet to be taken article by BBC

According to First Post’s article: A 13-member Indian team, including Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj, will leave for Tashkent on 9 April 2021, to compete at the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championship, a Tokyo Olympic qualifying event.

Starting from April 12 in the Uzbekistan capital, it is a International Swimming Federation (FINA ) accredited Olympic qualifier.

Apart from Olympic B qualifiers Nataraj and Prakash, hoping to make the A qualification for the Tokyo Games, the team comprises other seniors like Maana Patel, Shivani Kataria, and a few TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) development group swimmers.

The team is accompanied by seasoned coaches Nihar Ameen, Pradeep Kumar, and Asian Games medallist swimmer turned coach Sandeep Sejwal, a media release said.

In winning his second gold medal at the Uzbekistan Open Championship in Tashkent, Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj set a new national record in the 50m backstroke. Srihari’s third national record in two days came after the Bengaluru swimmer rewrote the national records in the 100m backstroke twice.

As of May 22, 2021 the government of Karnataka has prohibited in the opening of swimming pools as total lockdown has been imposed in the state. The covid – 19 crisis, has cause the level of anxiety to increase. Young swimmers are trying to keep with the fitness level, and hoping to be able to reach their goal in become successful swimmers. The proposal to conduct ‘mass testing’ of players and officials on the sidelines of competitions, according to medical analysts, is unlikely at this time. For the near future, sports may be held in vacant arenas, with an emphasis on enhancing the spectator experience. The future of swimming has definitely change, risking ending of an athletic career but the solution lies on formulating guideline for a victorious resumption of swimming in India. 


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