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Adlington brings swimming to Coventry

25th May 2012

Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington joined a group of lucky school children this week to launch the British Gas Pools 4 Schools initiative at Barr’s Hill School in Coventry.

Rebecca, who in just two months time hopes to become the first British swimmer ever to defend two Olympic gold medals, joined the children in a special assembly followed by a world class demonstration in the pool.

When I was at school we all had the opportunity to get in the pool and it’s shocking that so many children are now leaving school unable to swim.

The scheme, which is supported by British Gas, Speedo and the ASA, brings an innovative portable pool to the area to teach hundreds of local children to swim for free.

The pool is returning to Coventry for the third time, recognising the cultural barriers to increasing community participation through new opportunities in the pool.

For many children who took the lessons this was their first experience of getting in the pool to learn this vital life saving skill, despite swimming being a statutory National Curriculum subject.

Recent research undertaken by Kellogg’s and the ASA as part of the 2012 School Swimming Census has revealed that one in three children in the UK leave primary school unable to swim, and with drowning being the third most common cause of accidental death in children it is now even more important than ever to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to learn.

Adlington is urging parents to ensure their children learn to swim and said “When I was at school we all had the opportunity to get in the pool and it’s shocking that so many children are now leaving school unable to swim.

"I think that every child should have the opportunity to have swimming lessons which is why I think the British Gas Pools 4 Schools scheme is so fantastic.

"Swimming is such an important life skill and parents should ensure that their children learn at school or through private lessons and I really hope that the Olympics will inspire people into the pool.”

FInd out more about school swimming in our Parents section.Selwyn Calvin, Headteacher at Barr’s Hill School added “Having a swimming pool on our doorstep is a fabulous opportunity for both our students and the community we serve.

"The ability to swim is a life skill which everybody should have and we will be encouraging as many students as possible to take advantage of the lessons.

“The school is used throughout the week by community groups including supplementary schools at weekends who are also keen to take advantage of this facility.

"We are grateful to the support of the Coventry Sports Foundation who have been great in helping to put a swimming programme together for all users with their staff providing instructors and life guards to help us make the most of the facility.”

The 12m x 6m portable pool was built by Total Swimming which is headed up by Olympic bronze medallist Steve Parry.

It will also be available out of school hours so its benefits can spread throughout the whole community, providing a range of activities from swimming lessons to mini-polo and aqua-aerobics delivered by experienced teachers.

More than 3,400 people in the local community used the pool during its previous two visits to the Coventry area.

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