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Mayor of Trafford ′proud′ to learn to swim

Swim England News

The Mayor of Trafford, Councillor Tom Ross, says he has accomplished a ‘huge personal achievement’ by learning to swim as an adult.

Councillor Ross has been taking one-on-one swimming lessons at Sale Leisure Centre, progressing from being a non-swimmer who was admittedly nervous and apprehensive around water to feeling calm in the pool.

He said: “I am so proud of myself for finally taking steps to become a swimmer.

“During a meeting with Jo Cherrett, the COO of Trafford Leisure, I admitted to her that I couldn’t swim.

“It’s something I’ve always been embarrassed about and tried to hide. I did try swimming lessons growing up as a child in Trafford but I just couldn’t get on with them – I became bored and wasn’t interested.

“As I became older, I would avoid water-based situations. I’d be that person left paddling in the shallow sea water, rather than diving in and enjoying the water with friends and family. I’ve missed out on so much.”

As a result of that conversation, Trafford Leisure invited Councillor Ross to have swimming lessons at the centre in Sale, which follows Swim England’s Learn to Swim programme.

The Mayor began weekly sessions early in the morning when the pool was quieter, so he could have greater privacy.

Jo Cherrett said: “Learning to swim is such an important life skill, which could potentially save your life.

“The good news is that anyone can learn to swim. It’s a fantastic form of low impact exercise, which is suitable for all ages and abilities.

“There is no need to feel ashamed of not being able to swim and I’m so pleased that Councillor Ross, who is in the public eye, has shared his learn to swim story, breaking down the stigma of being a non-swimmer and being a positive role model for our community.”

Following on from the successful sessions, Trafford Leisure offered 10 local people free swimming lessons in a uniquely private space.

Councillor Ross hopes his story helps to encourage others to learn to be safe in and around water, regardless of their age.

“I had written off ever being able to swim and had lasting memories of getting into difficulties on a canoe trip,” he added.

“For me, avoidance became the best tact. This all changed when I trained with Steven Taylor, my Trafford Leisure swimming teacher.

“Steven has taught me to feel safe and to actually enjoy the water. It’s been hard work, but such fun. I want to be able to inspire others to learn to swim.”

The Swim England Adult Swimming Framework understands that adults have very different needs to children when learning to swim and focuses on improving confidence, competence and technique, with no age limit.

You can use the Swim England poolfinder to get started on your swimming journey.