Swim England

A nation swimming

Jane Nickerson has ‘engaging’ conversation with Princess Anne during MBE investiture

Humbled Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson has revealed she had an ‘engaging’ conversation about school swimming lessons with Princess Anne during her investiture at Windsor Castle.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal also praised Swim England’s campaign to get pools reopened during the coronavirus pandemic during the ceremony.

She spoke of the importance of ensuring all children leave primary school being able to swim – and hoped the issue of youngsters missing out on lessons could be solved.

Jane was awarded the MBE in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to swimming during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She was accompanied to Windsor Castle by her niece, Lisa, and said it was a ‘wonderful day’.

Jane said: “I was extremely humbled and honoured to receive the MBE for Services to Swimming during Covid-19.

“I was fortunate to have the award presented by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. 

“The conversation was engaging as she was extremely knowledgeable and complimentary about our campaign to get pools reopened. 

“The main part of our conversation was around the importance of learn to swim. 

Award for everyone

“She was concerned that even before the pandemic, not all children learnt to swim despite it being a curriculum subject in England.  

“Her final remarks were that we need to solve it and I talked about the work we are doing with the Department of Education to ensure that the requirements of the curriculum are followed by all schools. 

“I also talked about the role our swim schools and clubs play.”

Jane said she feels like the award is for everyone associated with aquatic activity and all its sports.

“When I read through the citations of the other recipients I immediately had impostor syndrome and wondered what on earth I was doing there,” she said.

“However, my niece put these fears to one side by reminding me how vital swimming is to the nation’s health and wellbeing, how important all our sports are to our members and to the public when they see the medals won on the world stage and, underpinning it all, the essential skill that can save a life.

“She is absolutely right and it just served to emphasise that this award belongs to everyone involved in our great sport and activity. 

“I hope therefore you can share the honour and know that I am purely your representative in receiving this.

“It was a wonderful day, despite the pouring rain and wind which meant I arrived at the door of Windsor Castle with my umbrella inside out, my hat in my hand and looking as if I had just come out of the swimming pool!”