Leon Taylor: I loved the water as a youngster ... now I can't wait to get Ziggy to lessons

Olympic silver medallist Leon Taylor explains the key reason why he is urging parents and guardians to ensure children return to ‘safe and secure’ swimming lessons as part of the latest #LoveSwimming campaign.

As a youngster, I loved the water – I never wanted to get out.

It’s a trait I see in my little boy, Ziggy, too. He loves splashing about at bath time – especially throwing his boats full of water onto mummy or daddy and getting the whole bathroom soaking wet.

Sadly, that’s been his only experience of enjoying the water so far. He’s coming up to his first birthday next month and the coronavirus pandemic means he’s yet to visit a swimming pool.

Now pools have reopened, I’m really looking forward to finally get the chance to take him to his first lessons.

The main challenges the operators and swim schools have faced because of the pandemic is reduced capacities at pools. So we have been very patient in terms of taking Ziggy to lessons but it’s going to be happening very soon.

You’re never too young to learn to swim but the pandemic has changed people’s perceptions. I understand and appreciate some parents will have concerns but there’s no need to avoid swimming lessons.

I’m keen to get Ziggy to a pool. I know it’s a safe environment to be in because of the measures taken by operators and swim schools but, most importantly, I want him to be safe in and around water.

Yes, there are going to be restrictions around numbers and distancing measures still in place but venues are doing their best and, ultimately, we’re talking about something that’s so important – learning a key life skill.

Sensible thing to do

I was in the water at a very, very early age. My parents took me to a pool for the first time when I was younger than Ziggy is now.

Because I did it, and loved it, it feels the right thing to do with Ziggy too. I can’t wait to get into the water with him at lessons and enjoy that lovely experience.

Learning to swim is not about youngsters becoming the next Adam Peaty or Rebecca Adlington, although if that does happen then that’s fantastic. If Ziggy wants to become a swimmer, I’ll hold my breath and accept the early mornings for mum and dad.

It’s going to be really exciting to see how he takes to it but that’s not why I supported the #LoveSwimming campaign.

My main priority for wanting to get him – and encourage others – to a pool is to ensure he starts to enjoy a lifelong love of the water as soon as possible so he’s confident and safe in the water – and knows how to help others too

I’d urge every parent questioning whether to take their children to swimming lessons in the current climate to think again.

It’s the sensible thing to do.