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Mayor of London makes a splash at The Harefield Academy

ASA | Swim England

3 min read Partner content

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, attended the official opening of a temporary pool set up on the grounds of The Harefield Academy to provide swimming support to pupils and the local community.

The visit, which took place today, also saw pupils from the school take part in an inspiring swimming session with Olympian and former Commonwealth and European champion Adam Whitehead.

Since the pool opened on 7 January 2016, 514 school pupils and local adults and families have enjoyed using the facility, which offers free swimming lessons on Saturdays and during half term as well as group swimming lessons for adults and children from just £1.

The pool is part of the Make a Splash programme, which is run by Total Swimming and supported by the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association), and encourages children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to get involved and give swimming a go.

Now in its seventh year, the programme is a key part of the Mayor of London’s £25m Sports Legacy Fund which was set up to help encourage more people to get involved in sport in the capital. The programme is also sponsored by Thames Water, who provide water for all of the pools.

Former Commonwealth and European champion Whitehead said: “I was delighted to be involved in the Make a Splash programme. It was fantastic to meet the pupils at The Harefield Academy and checking out their new pool; hopefully it will inspire some swimming stars of the future.”

Lloyd Littlewood, Director of Sport at The Harefield Academy, said: “The Make a Splash project has huge benefits for young people. Not only does it develop self-confidence through learning this important life skill but it also improves the link between the school and the local community.

“Our students and those of the local primary schools and community have thoroughly enjoyed the swimming lessons and have improved hugely. We would love the project to stay longer.”

Commenting on the sessions, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise so I am delighted that the Hillingdon community can use the Make a Splash pool to learn a skill that will last them a lifetime.

"So far, the scheme has helped 37,000 Londoners of all ages learn to swim and I am sure it will continue to make waves as it travels across the capital.”

Jon Glenn, ASA Head of Learn to Swim, added: “Swimming is one of the easiest, safest forms of exercise for children of all abilities, and school swimming is the single most effective way of teaching children how to be safe in and around water. This project - and the wider Make a Splash programme - is invaluable in providing facilities that not only help schools to teach children this life-saving skill but also gives families the opportunity to enjoy this fun activity together."

Read the most recent article written by ASA - Water safety group's call to action to reduce drowning