Swim England

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Royal visit to Guinea Gap Leisure Centre

Swim England News

Wallasey Swimming Club members took part in a special swimming session today in front of HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

The swimming lesson was part of a wider celebration of aquatics that included snorkelling, scuba diving and water polo.

The Duke is patron of Swim England, BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) and ESSA (English Schools Swimming Association) and visited Guinea Gap leisure centre to meet members from all three organisations.

Sue Williams, Head coach of Wallasey Swimming Club, said: “It was an amazing experience for all our young swimmers, coaches and the parents. Alan [Club Chairman] and I were lucky enough to be introduced to The Duke and we chatted about the history of the Club and how we are moving forward.”

Five young people from the swimming club took part in a swimming skills session run by coaches Matthew Best and Peter Brooks.

After the event, seven-year-old Lucy said: “I thought it was really good because it was really fun and I actually got to meet a royal person!”

The Duke also watched young swimmers taking part in a snorkelling session, which is a great way of learning new skills and encourages swimmers to try other sports such as diving.

Eight-year-old Beatrice said: “It was really good because we got to meet Prince William and talk to him. He asked me how long I had been part of the club and what I enjoyed about snorkelling and swimming.”

Jon Glenn, Director of Learn to Swim and Workforce at Swim England, was pleased all three organisations were able to show some of the different ways people can enjoy the water.

He said: “It has been a fabulous day which we were pleased to be able to share with Wallasey Swimming Club and our partners BSAC and ESSA.

“The Duke became our Patron in January and it was a great opportunity to show him our Swim England Learn to Swim Programme and how we all work closely to encourage and inspire people to swim and enjoy the water.”

The training pool was taken up by a water polo match played by members of Bolton School, many of whom also train with City of Manchester Water Polo Club.

John Stiven, General Secretary of ESSA, said: “The Duke has been our Patron for 11 years. He played water polo in ESSA competitions when he was at Eton and today was a great opportunity for him to see our Bolton School team play.”

Talking about the day, Mary Tetley, Chief Executive of BSAC, commented: “It has been a great pleasure to welcome The Duke of Cambridge to our Merseyside branch. We are really privileged to have The Duke as our President and as a keen scuba diver himself, he is the perfect person to help us champion the sport both in the UK and abroad.”

The visit to Guinea Gap Leisure Centre was part of a wider visit to Merseyside by The Duke. He started the day at Aintree University Hospital and then travelled to Mersey Care NHS Foundations Trust’s Life Rooms in Walton.