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Welcome rise in number of people actively swimming

The number of women, older adults and people with disabilities or long-term health conditions actively swimming has increased, according to new figures.

Statistics released by Sport England as part of its Active Lives Survey show that 4.7 million people said they had gone swimming at least twice in the last 28 days between November 2017 and 2018. That had risen from 4.6 million between November 2016 and 2017.

Swim England has welcomed the rise and hailed world-leading aquatic activity health programmes, major campaigns to grow participation and its learn to swim lessons for all ages as major factors in the increase. The data also suggested the warm summer of 2018 encouraged more people to take part in open water swimming.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “It’s pleasing to see the number of people actively swimming has increased. We work hard to ensure that there are plenty of reasons why swimming is important in people’s lives, whether learning to swim, developing skills and talents across all our aquatic disciplines or helping to enjoy quality time in local pools.

“It’s encouraging to see those suffering with long-term health problems are taking to the water to help manage their conditions. We have spent a significant amount of time bringing together the industry to showcase the power of water as a recuperation technique as demonstrated by our recent #LoveSwimming campaign.

“It highlights the incredible stories of people with, or at risk of, long term-health conditions and the improvements to their quality of life through regular water-based activity.

Getting a nation swimming

“We also knew that the hot summer of 2018 was a great chance for people to engage with swimming in ways they wouldn’t normally, either at their local lido, open water venues or in the sea. More work is being done to encourage people into the water and we will continue to work tirelessly with our strategic partners to help them develop their aquatic provision to be inclusive for local communities as we bid to get a nation swimming.”

The Sport England data showed the number of men and women aged 16 and over who had gone swimming at least twice in the last 28 days had climbed by 138,400 from 4,579,200 in November 16-17 to 4,717,600 in November 17-18.

Swim England research also backs up the fact that more people are taking part in aquatic activity across a number of diverse areas.

Figures from the Swim England tracker – which covers people aged 11 upwards – showed:
  • The number of adults aged 45 and over swimming has increased from 28.5 per cent in 2016 to 30 per cent in 2018;
  • There has been a rise from 10.1 per cent in 2016 to 14 per cent in 2018 of BAME swimmers
  • People taking to the pool with a limiting health condition / disability has grown from 15 per cent two years ago to 24.3 per cent in 2018.

Across all sports, Sport England found a total of 498,100 more people (aged 16+) are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week compared to 12 months ago.

In addition to the increase in people classed as active, the number of inactive adults – those doing fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a week – has reduced by 185,000.

These figures mean that 62.6% of the adult population are now classed as active, with 25.1% now inactive.

Download report.


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Published
12.04.2019