Swim England and Disney team up to introduce family fun swim sessions

Swim England News

Swim England and Disney have joined forces to help improve the swimming skills of youngsters as new research reveals parents are concerned about their child’s water confidence.

With research from Sport England  showing that enjoyment is a key factor in keeping youngsters active, Swim England and Disney are launching a year-long programme of Disney-inspired Family Fun Swim Sessions, to ensure swimming is a fun and safe activity for all ages.

Available at more than 250 pools nationwide, the sessions feature essential swimming skills and are inspired by some of Disney’s most-loved characters from Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4 (Jun-Sep 2019), Disney’s Mickey and Friends (Oct 2019-Jan 2020) and Disney’s Frozen 2 (Feb-Jun 2020).

Despite 95% of parents believing that swimming is a key life skill for children, more than half (59%) worry that their child aged 12 or under is not confident in the water.

Only a fifth (21%) of children in this age group know how far they should be able to swim unaided by the time they leave primary school at the age of 11-12.

Current standards, set as part of the national curriculum for swimming, state that a child of this age should be able to swim 25 metres unaided, using a variety of strokes, and have a good knowledge of water safety.

But when surveyed, one in four parents (26%) underestimated the expected distance, with 13% thinking swimming 10 metres or less unaided would see their child on target.

Mike Thompson, Swim England Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, said: “Children have vivid imaginations, so storytelling can be a fun and powerful way to encourage them to be physically active.

“We’re thrilled to be introducing so many characters and stories that families know and love from Disney and Disney-Pixar films into special family swim sessions to encourage families to head to their local pool.

“Our vision is a nation swimming and with Disney on board, we’re confident more families will want to take the plunge and have fun adventures inspired by favourite characters.”

Toy Story

According to the latest Sport England figures, one in four (approximately 330,000+) children across England are unable to swim 25m unaided by the time they leave primary school.

According to data from Swim England, more than a quarter (26%) of parents in England take their children to the pool once every six months or less, with 10% going less than once a year or never.

Reasons cited for putting off a swimming trip with the children included:

  • a lack of confidence amongst 10% of parents when it comes to helping improve their child’s swimming skills in the pool
  • the children harbouring a fear of the water (5%) or wanting more entertainment at the pool (8%)

Marianthi O’Dwyer, Vice President, Healthy Living UK at The Walt Disney Company, said: “Confidence in any activity generally increases with practice, and children tend to engage more readily in activities they find fun.

“The new family swim sessions feature pool adventures inspired by Disney characters and stories that children know and love, tapping into their active imaginations to help naturally develop essential swimming skills.

“Teaming up with Swim England forms part of Disney’s wider ambition to support families to lead healthier lifestyles.”

Swim England has trained almost 500 activators across the country to use the power of Disney storytelling to support kids’ progress in the pool.

Available to book now, parents can visit the Swim England website, to find their nearest pool offering the new Disney-inspired swim sessions.

The 45 minute sessions are fun for the whole family, designed for 3-11 year olds and led by trained activators.

The cost of a Disney-inspired swim session will be consistent with existing swimming sessions at each participating pool.

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