ADAM Peaty has voiced his delight at the Government's recent announcement that swimming pools in England can start re-opening.
A petition signed by more than 55,000 people, calling for pools reopen, was forwarded the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden.
Mr Dowden responded by announcing that outdoor pools could re-open from 11 July and indoor pools from July 25.
Peaty, who was brought up in Uttoxeter and learnt to swim at the town's baths, supported Swim England’s #OpenOurPools campaign and used his platform to urge the Government to announce the reopening dates.
He said he was ‘baffled’ when pools were not included in the easing of lockdown restrictions on July 4 and voiced his frustration and disappointment at the decision.
Prior to the announcement, the Olympic 50m breaststroke gold medallist said: “I also think the Government has massively underestimated the importance of people’s physical and mental health – swimming is huge in our country with many people depending on it and needing it now more than ever.”
Peaty, a former student at Painsley Cathloic College, in Cheadle, described the re-opening news as ‘fantastic’.
The 25-year-old said: “Whilst everyone’s health and safety must of course remain a priority, I believe enabling people to once again swim and exercise indoors will make a huge difference to both physical and mental health.
“I urge everyone to follow the measures and guidelines that will be in place so we can all enjoy our return to these facilities safely.”
Swim England Chief Executive, Jane Nickerson said: “It’s been wonderful to see the excitement across the aquatics community following the announcement from the Government.
“We are grateful to Adam, who used his profile and position to help push for the reopening of pools, which will benefit swimmers of all ages and abilities up and down the country.
“We can’t wait to see everyone back in the water.
“We know it is not job done, though, as many pools are facing an uncertain future and we will continue to campaign for the support they need.
“We will all need to remain patient because the majority of the facilities that plan to reopen will need time to prepare.”
A delighted Adam Peaty. Photo: Swim England.