Local kids ‘swim’ from school to London Aquatics Centre

10 April 2014

On the 27th March, pupils from Daubeney Primary School in Hackney collectively swam the distance from their school to the London Aquatic Centre four times over.

This impressive feat was completed in celebration of the Mayor of London’s ‘Make a Splash’ programme which, in conjunction with the ASA, British Gas and Total Swimming, brought a 12 x 6 metre temporary teaching pool to the London borough of Hackney earlier this year.

BBC’s ‘The One Show’ followed the children’s journey from their first splash in the temporary pool to completing their ‘one length challenge’ after just eight weeks swimming tuition. A total of 13,500 metres were swum on the day by 540 school pupils, each child completing 25 metres each.

Children of all ages took part, ranging from four to 11 years old. They were accompanied by TeamGB Olympian and former Commonwealth champion, Ross Davenport, who offered support and encouragement as well as getting involved with the swimming sessions.

Since the pool was opened, over 1,000 kids in Hackney have learned to swim.

According to the ASA, Hackney had some of the lowest ‘Learn to Swim’ rates in London amongst children, with just 23% being able to swim the length of a pool by the time they leave primary school. This is less than half the national average, which stands at 51%. 

Since the pool was opened, over 1,000 children from Daubeney Primary School and the wider community have learned to swim.

The temporary teaching pool will remain at the school for another 4 weeks which should allow even more children to learn this life saving skill, growing further the number of children confident and safe in and around water.

The ‘Make a Splash’ initiative is a large part of the Mayor’s 40m Sports Legacy Fund, which was set up after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games in order to get people involved in sport at a recreational and grassroots level.

Swimming is a fantastic way to stay happy and healthy and our Make a Splash campaign is helping tens of thousands of people to take the plunge - Mayor of London

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Swimming is a fantastic way to stay happy and healthy and our Make a Splash campaign is helping tens of thousands of people to take the plunge. I am determined that all Londoners have the best possible access to sporting opportunities and it is wonderful to see these lucky school children making a splash in the swimming pool of champions - the London Aquatics Centre.”

Jon Glenn, Head of Youth and Community at the ASA said, “Swimming is one of the easiest, safest forms of exercise for children of all abilities, and school swimming is the single most effective way of teaching children how to be safe in and around water. We are delighted to be working with Daubeney Primary School to reverse the worrying number of children aged 7-11 years that cannot swim 25 metres. The Make a Splash project is invaluable in helping to target this group, as well as those who sadly reach both secondary school and adulthood without this life-saving skill.”

Matthew Leopold at British Gas said, “At British Gas, we recognise the importance of teaching children to swim at an early age and are delighted to support this brilliant programme.

“We are tremendously proud that ‘Make a Splash’ has already helped more than 23,000 children to learn this vital skill and we hope many more youngsters will benefit from the programme over the coming months in the Hackney area.”

To book lessons at the 'Make a Splash' pool, visit Total Swimming

Janice Thomas, Executive Headteacher of Daubeney Primary School, said: “It’s been huge for Daubeney Primary School to be involved in the Make a Splash programme, it’s given the children an opportunity to swim regularly and to understand what it means to be safe in water.’

“I’m hugely proud of all them, they have grown so much in confidence and the majority of our pupils can now swim, whereas before this programme came to the school most couldn’t. This is a very special moment for Daubeney and I just hope that all our children remember this and can look back when they are older and know that Daubeney did it for them.”

To book swimming lessons at the Make a Splash pool at Daubeney Primary School, visit www.totalswimming.co.uk/make-a-splash

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