Swimming is the nation’s favourite sport
The latest Sport England Active People Survey figures show that over 2.5 million adults continue to enjoy swimming each week.
The statistics also show that over the last six months there has been a five per cent growth in open water swimming, and over 250,000 adults have improved their swimming ability through teaching and coaching.
In addition, since April more than 25,000 people aged 45 and over, and over 17,800 people from black, asian and minority ethnic communities have started swimming more regularly. Swimming Clubs and competitions have also seen an increase.
ASA Chief Executive, Adam Paker, said: “We are encouraged by the latest Active People results which confirm swimming remains the most popular participation sport in the country.
“Swimming already has a significant impact on the health of the nation, creating a fitter society through low-impact activity, and helping to combat mental health issues. We are committed to getting even more people active and swimming regularly, which is why we have started implementing our new participation strategy.
“Central to this strategy is celebrating the fact that swimming is a unique sport; it doesn’t matter what your age or ability, anyone can take part. This year alone over two million children have learned to swim and we know that over four million adults want to start swimming on a regular basis.
“Over the next five years we will continue to work closely with our industry partners to ensure swimming pools are of the highest quality and that people have access to swimming experiences that genuinely meet their needs.”
The strategy aims to improve swimming from its foundations. To do this, there will be a focus on three key elements: making swimming more visible so that people think of swimming as something they should do and want to do; working with leisure centres to ensure they provide a good experience from the minute a person arrives to the minute they leave; and making sure that as soon as someone gets in the water they have the experience that meets their personal needs.
Swimming offers significant benefits to many of the health challenges facing the nation, including mental health and the need for low-impact physical activity.
Over the next two years the ASA will build on existing projects such as the Dementia Friendly Swimming Project, to support and encourage people living with health challenges to stay active.
There will also be a focus on developing new programmes to encourage more people to get involved with swimming, such as distance and timed challenges, new aquacise classes and more mass participation events, including the ASA Open Water Festival.