Results Summary of Everyday Swim
The final report of Everyday Swim referred to the change in participation rates between Sport England’s first and second Active People surveys.
The success of the eight pilot Everyday Swim projects was supported by an overall increase of 10,901 new adult swimmers in the Everyday Swim authorities, counter to the national trend.
However, with some projects targeting increased participation in under 16s – not included in the Active People surveys – the report noted these results were not reflective of the success or failure of Everyday Swim projects.
The report also noted the potential for other factors to impact participation rates (e.g. pool closures and openings, other sports, development work and local management actions) as well as an inability to accurately monitor throughput data collection at some facilities.
Evidence from Everyday Swim supported previous research findings that structured swimming lessons and activities were more beneficial for encouraging new swimmers than open sessions.
The report highlighted the most relevant structured session as teaching non-swimmers to swim, or rebuilding the water confidence of those people who have not been swimming for a number of years.
Other key features included:
- Designing customer-focused lessons to consider the needs and aspirations of the target group.
- Not offering a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
- Offering a combination of beginner and improver lessons.
- Strong signposting to appropriate exit routes and pathways for people to follow to encourage new swimmers to become regular participants.
- Marketing outside the pool area to attract non-swimmers.
With swimming participation rates static for the last 25 years, a culture change was called for in the way pool operators work.
Everyday Swim investigated a number of methods to challenge existing culture at pools and the report highlighted a number of the best practice areas.
- Performance management tools – such as the National Benchmarking Service – help meet swimmer expectations through regular consultation with customers and non-customers.
- Sharing ideas, expertise and resources will help drive overall strategic development throughout an area.
- The development of a proactive workforce can help attract new markets and broaden the base of swimming participation.
- Auditing the swimming programme can identify where strategic chances can be made such as exploiting unused pool time and increasing supply by ‘unlocking’ local private or school pools.
The second Active People survey revealed that 13% of the adult population in England (5.4 million adults) would like to start swimming or swim more often.
The report suggested separate marketing tactics used to reach these markets:
- Simple techniques such as loyalty discounts or other incentives for more frequent participation may attract existing swimmers.
- More intensive technique such as open days, subsidised swimming lessons, swim buddies or outreach work are most effective for attracting new swimmers.
The essence of effective creative marketing is to understand who your customers are, what they want, and how best to communicate with them – marketing on its own will not bring about a sustainable increase in swimming participation.
In addition to creating interest, awareness, desire and action, the product of 'aquatic activities' must be strong so that those who experience it become regular customers.
To view the results of various marketing and promotion case studies from the eight Everyday Swim projects, click here to go to our library.