A mum who runs a business teaching babies to swim in Buckingham has taken part in a trailblazing research project at a top London university, to show swimming pools can be safe in a post-pandemic world.
Tamsin Brewis runs the baby swim school Water Babies Bucks and Beds, which holds classes for babies and toddlers at the Buckingham Best Western Hotel.
But after classes got back up and running post lockdown, Tamsin and her team of teachers found parents remained nervous of the health implications of getting back in the pool, fearing that the water could help spread the Covid-19 virus.
Previously, very little empirical research had been done into the effect of chlorine in swimming pools on Covid-19.
So Tamsin, along with other representatives from the national Water Babies network, approached the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London (ICL).
Their goal was to make it widely known how safe swimming is, due to the effect chlorine has on the Covid-19 virus.
The study, published in October, confirmed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, is deactivated by chlorine in swimming pool water.
Once exposed to chlorine for just 30 seconds, the virus is at least 1,000 times less infectious.
Swimming pool owners can control chlorine levels to minimise the risk of infection – a message Tamsin is now passionate about communicating to schools and leisure centres around the country.
Tamsin, who has run Water Babies Bucks and Beds for 17 years, said: “I’m passionate about this because I know of the incredible benefits swimming gives people, including young children.
"Swimming is good for the mind - it improves mood and cognitive function. It’s obviously good for the body - for children it develops spatial skills and muscles.
"Swimming is such a positive outlet.
"That’s why I couldn’t bear for people to miss out and why we all felt we needed to do something.
“As swimming teachers, we knew the effects chlorine would have on a virus like Covid, but we understand it’s not something people would immediately recognise, especially as Covid can live for a relatively long time in unchlorinated water.
"We came to realise that an assumption made by many people is that the virus will also be easily transferred in pool water.
"We’re so happy to have disproved this and now we’re desperate to share these findings with everyone.”