Luton swim classes join project to investigate chlorine impact on Covid

Study comes after parents worry about Covid risk

By Lynn Hughes
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:56 pm

A swim school owner who runs classes at Keech Hospice and Lady Zia Wernher pools, has been working with experts to discover the effect chlorine in swimming pools has on Covid.

Tamsin Brewis, who runs Water Babies, has helped with research at Imperial College London (ICL) which shows that the SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, is susceptible to deactivation by chlorine in swimming pool water.

The study came about after Tamsin and her network of teachers noticed parents were still unsure about the safety of swimming in the current Covid environment. She was concerned that parents were assuming swimming to be an unsafe activity.

Staff from the Water Babies group

Along with Professor Wendy Barclay and the team at ICL’s Department of Infectious Disease, Water Babies wanted to prove that swimming pools were safe environments.

“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 bare 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.”

Tamsin’s swim school has certainly been an agent for change in the last few months. The team’s efforts over a fortnight in October saw Tamsin’s Water Babies Bucks and Beds region raise over £24,000 for the baby loss prevention charity, Tommy’s. Water Babies nationally has managed to raise £4,760,000 pounds for Tommy’s over the last decade and a half.