BLDSA announces cancellation of all its 2020 events

The British Long Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA) has decided to cancel all of its events for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The BLDSA was founded in 1956 by volunteers and operates as a membership organisation. It puts on a series of long distance swimming events, mostly under traditional rules, including the gruelling Champion of Champions and the iconic lengths of Windermere and Loch Lomond. This is the first year since the BLDSA was created that it will not hold any events.

In a statement to members, the committee said:

“Due to the current and constantly changing situation with Coronavirus/Covid-19, we have made the extremely difficult decision to cancel all of this year’s events. This decision has not been easy and we have taken many different things into consideration. We are being told that social distancing is the key to beating this, so people trying to maintain this by training alone in open water would be putting themselves at an even greater risk. We have taken into account our volunteers at all levels, Swim Secretaries, Safety Crews, those towing boats to events, on the day helpers, First Aiders, kayakers to name a few. We know with our volunteers they will go out of their way to try to ensure the events could take place even by putting themselves at risk but the lack of accommodation, places to eat and travel restrictions were other factors.”

Swimmers who have paid for their 2020 membership and entered events have been offered the option to roll over their membership and entries to 2021. Refunds are available for those who don’t wish to take this option.

Michelle Hardy, the BLDSA’s publicity officer, “we are looking forward to 2021 when we hope to be running back up to full speed and looking forward to everyone joining us in our events.”

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.