Sport England Tackle Swimming Decline

Sport England and the ASA are investing in schemes like Learn2swim in a bid to increase swimming participation at grass roots level.


Sport England has also announced a one-year investment in the ASA’s plans to tackle the decline in the number of people swimming regularly seen since 2006. £3.5 million of investment will help the ASA to:

• Increase and improve the opportunities for disabled people to go swimming

• Develop more swimming clubs for young people, including better after-school provision through new satellite clubs

• Create new local aquatic networks that bring together clubs and pools within a community to meet the needs of swimmers and maximise pool usage

• Drive insight-led programmes to promote swimming to potential and existing customers

• Influence key partners such as pool operators to help them to increase regular and sustained participation

Sport England has ring-fenced a further £10.5 million to support grassroots swimming in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

This money could be invested through the ASA – providing the organisation succeeds in the first year of funding. Sport England’s Director of Sport, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “This investment will support the nation’s swimmers over the next four years to ensure we deliver a lasting legacy for swimming. “Despite a disappointing performance in recent years, swimming remains the country’s most popular sport among disabled and non-disabled people of all ages. We have challenged the ASA to demonstrate that it can effectively support the sport at the grassroots level through better market insight and stronger partnerships with leisure operators.” Since 2008 participation in swimming once a week has gone down – from 3.244 million to 2.933 million, says Sport England.



The ASA has carried out a survey to determine whether the Olympics have had any effect on the number of people taking up swimming. The results are good.

• 93.8per cent reported an increase in new members at their swimming club during July, August and September compared to the same period in 2011.

• 87.3per cent felt the Olympic and Paralympic Games had a positive effect on their club.

Taking a direct comparison from 2011 to 2012:
• There was an increase of 29per cent in the number of adults learning to swim in July, August and September 2012 compared to July, August and September 2011.

• There was an increase of 14 per cent in the number of children learning to swim in July, August and September 2012 compared
to July, August and September 2011.

Additionally, as part of the ASA’s ambition to get more children in the pool as a legacy of the Games, they implemented The British Swimming Heroes Tour, which took members of the swimming, diving, synchro, water polo and disability swimming squads (Team GB and ParalympicsGB) on a five-date tour to inspire children up and down the country. Over 5,000 people were reached via the Tour, which kicked off in London before making its way to Liverpool, Glasgow, Swansea and finally Coventry.

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