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New figures show more people returned to the pool in the last 12 months

More people returned to the pool in the last 12 months, according to new figures published by Sport England.

The latest statistics in the Active Lives adult survey shows almost 4.2 million people took part in swimming activities at least twice a month between November 2022 and November 2023.

That is a rise of more than 400,000 on the figure of 3,795,600 from the previous 12 months.

It means the number of adults who are swimming twice a month has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Andy Salmon, Swim England chief executive, welcomed the statistics.

He said: “It’s great to see more people are returning to the pool and enjoying the huge physical and mental health benefits being active in the water can bring.

“Pool operators have endured a tough time in the last few years with first the Covid pandemic forcing facilities to shut and then the cost of living and energy crisis threatening further closures.

Continue to fight for pools and other blue spaces

“So, it’s really pleasing to see this increase, although we know more work needs to be done to ensure there are the facilities we need long-term to build on this positive rise in numbers.

“We’ll continue to fight for future funding so there are the pools and other blue spaces available in the future for people to take part in swimming and aquatic activity.”

The Sport England report also shows 42.8 per cent of people aged over 75 are physically active overall, compared to only 33.4 per cent between November 2015 and November 2016.

Andy added: “We know how swimming and aquatic activity can help save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds a year and we have been advocating for some time how it can help manage long-term health conditions.

“Pools have such an important role to play as, due to the unique properties of the water, they can be used by people of all ages and all physical abilities.

“We continue to work closely with the medical sector and local authorities to ensure aquatic activity is promoted as a key way for everyone to exercise and help improve the health and wellbeing of everyone.”