A RETURN to the pool could soon be on the horizon for Carnegie Swimming Club as they target diving back in the water next month.

Members of the club, who were able to resume some training between September last year and the start of the current lockdown as COVID-19 restrictions eased slightly, could have the chance to swim again from April 26.

As part of the Scottish Government's route map outlined last month by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, indoor swimming pools are set to re-open on that date, when the country is set to return to a 'tier level' system of restrictions.

The news that swimmers are set to return to the pool has been welcomed by Carnegie, who we reported last week had been "hit hard" financially because of the pandemic, with key fundraising galas having had to be cancelled last year.

They have, however, been boosted by charitable grants from the National Lottery Community Fund and Persimmon Charitable Foundation over the last six months, and are on the lookout for sponsorship from any businesses looking to support a successful club that is one of Scotland's oldest, having been founded in 1877.

Club president Ed O'Brien said that they were "excited to be preparing work towards getting our members back to the pool", commenting: "We owe huge thanks to all at Fife Sport and Leisure Trust as they did a commendable job following the last lockdown, providing us with pool time to support our return to the pool whilst the training pool is out of action.

"We are looking forward to the completion of the works (at Carnegie Leisure Centre, where the club train) to get our squads back into the training pool. As a club, we are very excited to get back to what we love and to see everyone in person.

"Further to our Zoom land training exercises (led by head coach, Susan Taylor), in preparation for a return to the pool, we are hopeful we can provide some outdoor training as the warmer, dryer weather arrives and to raise our young people's fitness profiles. We also hope to organise a session run by Fife Multi Sports which will focus on team-building and resilience through sporting activities and games for all our members.

"We also completely restructured the club to help get us through the past year, through which we have had great support from our coaches. They have been so supportive in all the decisions and in helping to keep our swimmers engaged whilst out of the pool.

"We are so grateful and owe them a huge amount of thanks."

Ed continued: "As part of the restructure, our new Minnows squad (formerly our lessons) also returned to the pool in October and this has been a successful addition to the club.

"The aim of this squad is to allow smoother transition for those that have possibly been in the learn to swim programme to club level.

"During our time in the pool from September 2020 onwards, we managed to participate in the East District Virtual Gathering and the Tighinn Comhla (Come Together) 'virtual' competitions.

"It gave our members a chance to practise their racing skills and secure some updated race times. It is likely that Scottish Swimming, and the (Scottish Amateur Swimming Association) East District will continue with this format until we can get back our usual competitive galas, which we cannot wait for.

"We have been lucky to have received a charitable grant from both the National Lottery Community Fund and Persimmon Charitable Foundation over the past six months which will help us in our intentions to continue to stay afloat during 2021/2022, and we thank them hugely for providing this support to us and the local community."

The club have limited spaces, and are operating a waiting list, for their Minnows squad and for more information, email carnegiemembership@gmail.com.

For information on how to help with sponsorship, email presidentcarnegie@gmail.com.