‘We are English, and swimming is what we do’ - Swim England on its recent rebrand
The Amateur Swimming Association has changed its name. PoliticsHome spoke to newly appointed CEO Jane Nickerson about the reasons for the change, and what happens next.
Last week the Amateur Swimming Association announced it had rebranded to Swim England. The organisation has been around nearly 150 years and has identified and encouraged some of the finest swimmers in the country, including Olympic medal winners Tom Daley and Adam Peaty.
Newly appointed CEO Jane Nickerson said although the organisation is proud of its heritage, the new name is better suited.
“The name conveys the message of what we want to portray, what we do and who we are.
...We are English and swimming is what we do.”
She said an advantage of the new name is it gives clarity to what Swim England does.
Ms Nickerson said when Amateur Swimming Association had been abbreviated, it was sometimes confused with other organisations.
Moreover, the CEO recognised that the word amateur had proved problematic. “It has caused some concern… it obviously refers to the fact that our athletes are unpaid but our volunteers don’t give an amateur service, they give a very professional service.”
The change to Swim England coincided with the launch of the organisation’s new four-year strategy, Towards a Nation Swimming.
Although the strategy focuses on getting the nation swimming and creating new partnerships, it has also stayed true to its core of nurturing the next generation of talent, “the next Tom Daleys”. It will continue to support its 200,000 members, and inspire young people to try swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming, supporting athletes to reach their potential through well-defined talent pathways.
Swim England are also committed to continuing to support the thousands of young people who are learning how to swim and the 11 million adults who swim monthly.
They are intending to focus on providing strong leadership, which Swim England believes will improve everyone’s swimming experience.
Ms Nickerson told PoliticsHome: “We want to create more partnerships and work at a much more strategic level, bringing people together to make sure that the opportunities to swim regularly are constantly there.”
Swim England is working in partnership with organisations like Public Health England, the NHS and charities which look after various health and mental health conditions. They are then working with them to create programmes and opportunities for people in order to get them swimming.
“As a National Governing Body our role is to provide the best possible support to our partners, our clubs and everyone who swims. This means sharing our insight so that we can have great facilities, creating new partnerships with Housing Associations and charities to support people to swim, and ensuring our athletes are supported to reach their potential.
“It’s new partnerships that will help people who are lonely and isolated, this will help people to be proactive about their health and wellbeing and it’s creating the opportunity for people to come along in a social setting, and either learn to swim or just swim and have some relaxation time.”
One example of this is Swim England working with local authorities on the Dementia Friendly Swimming Project. This aims to create a safe and friendly swimming environment for those suffering with the disease and as a result improving their quality of life.
Ms Nickerson, who was a national swimmer herself and only took the helm officially last week, said it was all “very exciting”.
“I’m just really excited about taking over at this time. We’ve got a new strategy, a new way of working, a new brand, and we’ve got a great team of staff and volunteers all focused on the direction we are travelling in. It’s the perfect time to really make a difference.”