Swim England

A nation swimming

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Key swimming statistics and findings

The following is an overview of key swimming statistics in England. For more detailed information about an area, please click on the relevant links.

Swimming participation in England

  • In the last 12 months, 14 million adults (31.3 per cent of the nation) went swimming – 7.8 million women and 6.2 million men.
  • When focusing on those who swim more frequently, 4.7 million adults swim at least twice a month (10.5 per cent of the population).
  • 2.7m women swim at least twice a month (11.7 per cent of the female population).
  • Outdoor swimming continues to grow. 7.5m people swim in open water and in outdoor pools.
  • While 7.5m swim outdoors, 2.1 million prefer to swim in open water (lakes, lochs, rivers and seas), 3.15 million choose to swim in outdoor pools and an additional 2.25 million enjoy swimming both in open water and outdoor pools.

Source: Active Lives, Nov 17-18

  • Almost 27 per cent of children aged seven-16 years old swam in the last week. That’s 1.88 million young people.
  • 138,000 children (almost one in four) cannot swim the statutory 25m when they leave primary school.

Source: Active Lives Children and Young People, 2018

  • 1.18 million children learn to swim on the Swim England Learn to Swim programme

Source: Swim England Swim Census 2018

Benefits of swimming

  • Swimming is one of the most effective ways to burn calories: 30 minutes exercising in the water is worth 45 minutes of the same activity on land.
  • Regular swimming can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression and improve your sleep patterns.
  • Swimming improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, improves lung capacity, increases bone strength and reduces joint pain as it is a low impact sport.
  • Regular swimming can help to reduce long-term health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes by up to 40 per cent.

Source: The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report, June 2017

Swim England has:

  • 188,499 club members (as of December 2018)
  • 1,045 affiliated clubs
  • 40,000 Just Swim members

All statistics correct as of September 2019