Swim England

A nation swimming

Another challenging year but there are plenty of reasons to look back with pride

As the year draws to a close, Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson wishes members, coaches, teachers and volunteers a Merry Christmas – and reflects on why there was plenty to be proud of in 2021.

It’s been another challenging 12 months – but there are plenty of reasons to look back on the year with a sense of pride.

I’m certainly proud of how our clubs, members, coaches, teachers, swim schools and volunteers have faced head-on the difficulties of the ongoing pandemic.

Following the national lockdown at the beginning of the year which led to the closure of pools, everyone has played their part in the ongoing recovery of our sector. 

It has been wonderful to see people back in the water this year and to see demand for learn to swim sessions so high, especially as these are the club members of the future.

I’m proud that we saw a return to competitions across all disciplines. 

While many events were held virtually, it was great to see two national swimming events and the U15s Water Polo National Age Group Championships take place. 

A lot of work went into ensuring these could go ahead safely and while we were hampered by some restrictions, I’d like to thank everyone for adhering to them and supporting those who were taking part with a smile on their faces.

Positive attitude

It was also an amazing year for our elite athletes with the highlight being the successes in Japan during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We all watched with pride at the achievements of our swimmers, divers and artistic swimmers in Tokyo – even though it meant several early mornings to cheer them on from the sofa.

You know it’s been a good year when not one but two aquatic superstars are up for Sports Personality of the Year and one for the Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Our congratulations go to Tom Daley, Adam Peaty and Ellie Challis – and to everyone who realised their Olympic and Paralympic dreams and made us all proud to be British.

We know challenges remain.

Too many pools up and down the country are still facing an uncertain future and there remains a shortage of swimming teachers.

With the potential for further restrictions, our work as the loud champion of swimming, campaigning for the investment and support we so desperately need, has never been more important than it will be in 2022.

As we end the year, regrettably the spectre of Omicron is raising its head. I hope you and your loved ones all have a safe and enjoyable festive break.

Whatever 2022 brings, I know you will adapt and deal with it with resilience and the positive attitude you have demonstrated throughout this year.

On behalf of myself and everyone at Swim England, thank you again for all you do for our wonderful sports.

Jane Nickerson