Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew MBE has put his weight behind the School Swimming Charter in an effort to increase the number of primary school children able to swim and be safe in and around water.
Swimming is so important because not only does it build confidence and change lives, it can also help to prevent drowning, – Duncan Goodhew
In a new film made for the ASA – watch it at the top of this page – he explains what swimming means to him and why it is so important that children learn to swim at an early age.
Goodhew said: “Swimming is so important because not only does it build confidence and change lives, it can also help to prevent drowning.
“We are a nation of swimmers with over 12 million people swimming regularly. People love swimming because it’s a great way to stay healthy and it’s also great fun, especially for children. But it all starts with that first swimming lesson.
“Swimming is about a journey and an experience for a child that can help to open doors to a host of other experiences and sports. Learning to swim can draw children out of themselves and give them a real challenge.
“The first time in a pool can be scary but by winning over their fear, by listening and learning, and by developing their own skill, they can achieve it. And some of the lucky ones may even go on to win a gold medal.”
The ASA’s 2014 School Swimming Census found that 45 per cent of seven to 11-year olds are unable to swim 25 metres unaided and 6.6 per cent of primary schools are not teaching swimming in Key Stage 2.
In response the ASA is asking all primary schools in England to sign up to the School Swimming Charter and receive support and resources to help increase their school swimming provision.