Learning to swim is an important life skill for children
Olympic champion Duncan Scott says “it’s crucial that children learn to swim”, echoing a survey of Scottish adults at a difficult time for the leisure sector, with facilities closed to an uncertain future.
The poll of 1008 adults by JL Partners, part of the British Polling Council, found that 93% of respondents agreed that all children should learn to swim and 90% agreed that learning to swim is an important part of every child’s upbringing.
Scott – who became the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Tokyo Olympics – said:
“I learned to swim in my local community pool and have been fortunate enough to achieve sporting success, but as Scottish Water and Scottish Swimming Learning to Swim Ambassador, the most important thing is to get all children in Scotland learning to swim from a safe point of view. “
“As an island nation with thousands of lakes and miles of coastline, it is vital that children learn to swim so they remain safer, more confident and more competent in and around the water.”
According to the organization’s November 2022 report, 95% of Community Leisure Scotlands member leisure trusts Risk Swimming 63% of members engaged in discussions and planning around the impact of closures. While this is true for all facilities, swimming pools are among those with the highest running costs.
This followed the government’s decision last month not to designate swimming pools and leisure centers as “energy-intensive industries”, meaning they have been excluded from additional financial support due to an energy cost crisis.
The survey released by Scottish Swimming added:
“90% of the Scottish public agree closing swimming pools is bad for communities. In fact, the general public agreed that swimming pools have a positive role to play in society in a number of areas.
“88% of Scots agree swimming pools are important to communities.
“Swimming pools and recreation centers are often the heart of communities that bring families, clubs and individuals together for fitness, fun and friendship. They are often a daily dose of health and fitness for more than 21,000 club members in Scotland and a lifeline for many who depend on them for social interactions.
“86% of Scots agree swimming pools are important for health.
“Swimming reaches all ages and abilities from birth. Water’s unique weight-bearing properties make it accessible to those with injuries or conditions such as dementia, diabetes and depression, those recovering from trauma, or simply as a positive recipe for improved mental and physical health. Swimming saves the NHS around £357million a year.
“In terms of sporting success 84% of the Scottish public agree that swimming pools are important to Scotland’s success in swimming.
“Swimming pools are where native heroes and champions are born. Swimming and diving are both water sports where there is a full path in Scotland, from grassroots to performing on the international stage.”
Euan Lowe, CEO of Scottish Swimming commented:
“It’s fantastic to see the amount of public support swimming pools and children are getting to learn to swim. As the governing body for watersports in Scotland, we have long known the safety, community and health benefits of swimming and watersports, and we also understand the importance of keeping swimming pools open for precisely these reasons.”
“The energy crisis is having a devastating impact on the leisure sector and pools in particular with rising energy costs and urgent financial relief is needed to ensure pools keep their doors open.”
Brian LironiDirector of Corporate Affairs at Scottish Water said:
“Learning to swim is a crucial life skill for children and adults across Scotland and swimming pools clearly play a vital role in continuing lessons that develop and equip young people across the country to be safer, more confident and more competent swimmers – creating Scotland’s ‘Generation Swim’ arises”.
Scottish Swimming joins Home Nations across the UK and Community Leisure Scotland #SaveOurPools Campaign highlighting the positive value of swimming pools and the need for financial relief for the sector during the immediate energy crisis.