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Open water swimming club pilot launched

1 April 2014

The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), and event organiser Henley Swim, have launched an initiative to create three new open water swimming clubs in the upper Thames area.

Speaking at a launch event in Henley Town Hall on 27 March 2014, Henley Swim co-founder Jeremy Laming explained that currently open water swimming, as a sport, is very much concentrated around events and competition. In addition, many different formats and categories make it confusing. This means that many people engage with the sport at quite a shallow level. ‘Try it and move on”. This makes the sport exclusive and off-putting to many people who might enjoy the recreational and social aspects but don’t want to race.

To make the sport more welcoming and to lower barriers to entry, Laming would like to see the development of open water swimming clubs across the country that cater for people of all abilities and interests.

Speakers from the floor noted that many people taking up open water swimming have not received formal swimming instruction and therefore face a number of obstacles in accessing the sport. Pool-based masters swimming clubs in many cases cater for ex-junior swimmers and often offer more of a training focus than stroke development and improvement. The pilot open water clubs scheme envisaged by Henley Swim and the ASA has defined its objective as follows:

“Build on the popularity of open water swimming, by running a pilot to create three open water swimming clubs in the Upper Thames region.”

The purpose of the pilot clubs would be:

  • Create a model of self managing sustainable clubs that can then be rolled out nationwide.
  • Create new swimming communities and give them access to a safe, welcoming and structured approach to getting involved with swimming
  • Target new demographics and new formats of open water swimming
  • Encourage challenge, camaraderie, health and fitness, and good swimming

The three clubs in the pilot scheme will receive support and guidance from the ASA

To work, the scheme needs volunteers to set up and run these clubs. If you’re interested, contact Jeremy@henleyswim.com

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