NO pools, no problem – Knutsford Vikings swimmers have been hitting the lakes instead!

And head coach Phil James is confident the move that has lifted morale among competing members will benefit them in the long term too, while the club now awaits positive news on the reopening of swimming pools as early as this week.

“We were hoping that an announcement would come allowing the pools to reopen on July 4,” said Phil, whose Vikings swimmers trained at Everybody Leisure before the UK lockdown was forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Unfortunately we were disappointed but we hope for further news later this week.

“Swim England have been applying pressure to the Government to give swimmers the green light and I think an announcement is expected any day.”

He added: “With the lockdown restrictions being eased in June it provided an opportunity for our swimmers to swim (socially distanced) in open water.

“Quite a number of Vikings swimmers have been regulars at Sale Water Park, Boundary Water Park, Manley Mere, Pickmere Lake, Salford Quays, Pennington Flash and even further afield.

“It’s been the first time in open water for some and it has been very pleasing to see how well they have transitioned from the pool.

“Even more pleasing to see is the amount of Viking parents who have also taken to open water swimming, many even keeping pace with their children for a few metres!

“It’s been a real family affair and a big boost for everyone to see each other again in person rather than just via social media or Zoom.

“Swimming up to and beyond 4k three to four times a week will provide a great platform, fitness wise, for when we can eventually return to the pool.”

Phil highlighted further club activity helping to keep their swimmers fit, busy and engaged.

“We have also been keeping our swimmers on their toes by setting them weekly fitness challenges, focusing on continual improvement and raising the bar,” he said.

“Not to be outdone, two of our swim coaches, Phoebe Allanson and Nicola Jones, have also been taking part.

“It’s been fantastic to see all of the amazing efforts and achievements, some of which have been very impressive.

“It’s a great way of keeping everyone active and engaged with a competitive element too.”

He added: “The Vikings have also been taking advantage of a very kind and generous offer from Knutsford personal trainer, Sam Ban Murray.

“Sam invited the Vikings to attend her Zoom PT sessions free of charge during lockdown. The bootcamp sessions have gone down very well, thank you Sam!”

The coaching team continue to meet with the swim squads via Zoom.