Swim England

A nation swimming

'Significant and transformational change' set to happen throughout aquatics sector

The aquatics sector is set to see ‘significant and transformational change’ as organisations ramp up their ambitions to improve diversity and inclusion.

A host of innovative research has already begun throughout the sector as Swim England, the Black Swimming Association and other aquatic organisations hope to gain further insight into the perceptions and barriers faced by those from ethnically diverse communities when it comes to aquatics.

The national governing body are set to shortly announce the launch of the largest-ever survey of its kind in the sector, as it looks to shape its latest strategy with a focus on improving diversity.

Swim England’s survey will be campaign driven, with a focus on engaging with those not currently involved in aquatics to build a greater understanding as to what steps should be taken to make opportunities more appealing and accessible. Key findings will be shared across the sector.

Earlier this year, the Black Swimming Association, who are in strategic dialogue with Swim England, also launched a pioneering piece of research named #OurSwimStory.

The research focuses on identifying and understanding the socio-economic, cultural, behavioral and institutional barriers that Black and Asian communities face when it comes to participating and engaging in the world of swimming and aquatics, and will further provide a platform for upcoming projects due to be released across the sector.

Over recent years, research conducted by Sport England found that 95 per cent of Black adults and 80 per cent of Black children in England do not swim, whilst 93 per cent of Asian adults and 78 per cent of Asian children follow the same pattern.

The aquatics sector is committed to changing these statistics and learning the reasons behind why many do not swim, as it aims to help more people enjoy the water.

Shaping the future of the sector

Richard Hookway, chairperson of the Swim England board, explained how the projects and research being undertaken will shape the future of the sector.

He said: “In the coming months, and as part of a long-term vision for the sector, we will see huge amounts of work being done with the aim of making aquatics more accessible and inclusive.

“As the national governing body, Swim England recognises the need to do more to positively promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

“Together, the sector is producing some great insight and through the work being done by ourselves, our partners and other aquatic organisations, to act on that insight, we will see the start of significant and transformational change.

“We want to build a future where swimming can be enjoyed by all and ensure everyone is able to reap the benefits of being in the water.”

On the upcoming projects planned by the governing body, Kerry Watkiss, Swim England head of insight, added: “We are excited about the work ahead and what it will mean for the sector.

“We will be able to use this new insight to help shape our next 10-year strategy, which will be our most ambitious yet in terms of increasing diversity.

“Alongside that, we will be sharing the findings with other organisations in order to help improve the aquatic experiences for all.”