ASA reveals 1 in 5 adults unable to swim
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ASA reveals 1 in 5 adults unable to swim

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More than one in five adults in England are unable to swim, according to statistics released today (23 March) by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).

The survey, commissioned by the national governing body, reveals that 22 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men aged over 14 are unable to swim.

Despite being the most popular participation sport in England – with more than 2.6 million adults taking part in 30 minutes of moderate intensity swimming at least once a week – swimming has faced setbacks in recent months. The latest Sport England Active People Survey (APS), released in January, showed there had been an 8 per cent drop in swimming participation over the past 12 months.

However, the new ASA statistics suggest there is cause for some optimism. Of the nine million English adults currently unable to swim, approximately 2.13 million adults have a desire to learn, suggesting there is strong potential to boost participation of “the only sport that saves lives” and wider levels of physical activity.

“There are many reasons why people may not feel confident in the water or are nervous about going to a pool, so we are working closely with community groups and local partners to identify and breakdown these barriers and encourage the millions of adults who want to become a better swimmer to do so,” said ASA chief executive Adam Paker.

“The statistics released today show there is a great desire for people who missed out on learning to swim while at school to get in the water and take advantage of all the social and health benefits that swimming provides.”

The statistics have been released as the ASA launches its Manifesto for Aquatics which calls on policymakers to work with the ASA to ensure swimming as a leisure activity and sport remains accessible to all.

Chair of the ASA Group Board Edward Lord, added: “Our Manifesto calls on political parties to support the ASA in our three aims of ensuring more people have the opportunity to learn to swim, encouraging more people to swim regularly, and supporting the development of emerging talent to compete on the world stage.

“We have a great England Talent Programme and Club network, and we are working closely with pool operators and partners to develop local aquatic projects that encourage more people to take to the water.

“But we also need the support of local and national policy makers to help ensure good quality, affordable, aquatic facilities remain available to all. That’s why our Manifesto calls on politicians, officials and industry leaders to work with us to support and grow the only sport that saves lives.”

To read the ASA’s Manifesto for Aquatics, click here.

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More than one in five adults in England are unable to swim, according to statistics released today (23 March) by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).
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