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How Swim England is getting involved in Pride Month 2024

At the start of Pride Month 2024,  Swim England’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Mike Hawkes, discusses how everyone in aquatics can get involved.

Pride Month runs across the entirety of June and is celebrated every year to recognise the influence of the LGBTQ+ community.

So Mike, what is Pride Month?

Pride Month is celebrated internationally every year in June. Commemorating the Stonewall riots, the month focuses on LGBTQ+ culture and ‘Pride’!

In aquatics we engage with the month to support our LGBTQ+ members and provide additional opportunities to get involved.

Why does it matter to Swim England?

We are committed to enabling access to aquatics for all. We recognise that there are barriers to the LGBTQ+ community participating and Pride Month provides a great opportunity to help address this.

There are a number of LGBTQ+ clubs that operate all year round and this month ensures additional opportunities are created and that those trailblazers are given the credit they deserve.

What are we doing to celebrate?

This year we were very keen to focus on the wider engagement of the LGBTQ+ community. In previous years we have focused more on the ‘visibility’ element, attending London Pride and producing a range of case studies of LGBTQ+ members from across aquatics.

In 2024 we are proud to be supporting Pride Swim in the delivery of more than 20 events across the country between June and September.

These range from indoor family swims to open water opportunities and even the chance to engage at coastal Pride events. For those not able to attend an event, there is also a ‘do your own thing’ option. This will allow members to swim and receive a pack including a swim hat, medal and leaflet from Pride Swims’ charity partner, Switchboard LGBTQIA+ helpline.

To find out more please visit prideswim.org.

When are the swims and how can we get involved?

A full list of the venues and dates can be found via the Pride Swim website. This includes the opportunity to sign up for existing events and register interest in future events.

We have also arranged for a set number of free swims for Swim England members at all of the listed sites (aside from private member clubs). There are also a number of free ‘do your own thing’ packs for Swim England members. These will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.

Please contact [email protected] for further information.

Is there an LGBTQ+ network in aquatics?

Yes! ‘Pride in Water’ are the LGBTQ+ aquatics network and focus on the three key areas of ‘engagement’, ‘support’ and ‘visibility’. With that in mind, Pride month provides a fantastic opportunity to provide opportunities across all of these areas. Keep an eye on our social channels and website for more information throughout the month!

To find out more or to sign up to ‘Pride in Water’ please contact [email protected].

We’re also celebrating inclusion in aquatics with the Inclusion Impact Award at the Swim England National Awards. Nominations are open now so if you know a club, swim school, operator, or Approved Training Centre that’s championing inclusion and diversity, you can nominate them here.

Image: Pride Swims