Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Young Glasgow Swimmers Celebrate with Olympic and Commonwealth Athlete

Glasgow Sport was among the first leisure trusts to adopt the Framework, which has been rolled out across all 12 swimming pools in the city, meaning more than 6,000 children are benefiting from swimming lessons.

Olympic, World, Commonwealth, and European medallist Duncan Scott joined children from across Glasgow today (Wednesday 21 February) to celebrate the success and expansion of Glasgow Sport’s Learn to Swim programme, delivered in partnership with Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water.

Glasgow Sport was among the first leisure trusts to adopt the Framework, which has been rolled out across all 12 swimming pools in the city, meaning more than 6,000 children are benefitting from swimming lessons.

Gathering in Tollcross International Swimming Pool – the site of Duncan’s silver medal win in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – around 50 children currently enrolled in the Learn to Swim programme had the opportunity to meet the Olympic athlete, and ask him some burning questions of their own.

Duncan, taking time out from his final training preparations ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, joined in a swimming lesson with the children and was heartened to see how well the pupils took to the water.

He said: “Tollcross is a very special place for a swimmer and has been the venue for some memorable races for me. It’s great to see so many youngsters here on what is the start of their swimming journey. The National Learn to Swim programme is progressive so who knows, in a few years’ time, some of these children could be back here racing for medals at local, national or even international events.”

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Since adopting the Learn to Swim Framework in 2016, Glasgow Sport has almost doubled the number of children taking part in swimming lessons across the city. Swimming is such a vital life skill that can be overlooked or taken for granted, and we’re so happy to play our part in making sure thousands of children in Glasgow learn the importance of swimming from a young age.

“Our Learn to Swim programme ensures more than 60 people are employed to deliver lessons in our 12 pools across the city; from the teachers themselves, to the co-ordinators who make it all happen.

“It’s also quite special to think we are inspiring the next generation – and one of the children here today could go on to mirror Duncan’s success and bring more medal glory to Scotland.”

With an estimated 40% of children still unable to swim by the time they leave primary school, there has never been a more crucial time to roll out Scottish Swimming’s National Framework for Swimming in Scotland. The Framework highlights the importance of swimming from as early an age as possible as the first seven years are the most influential in establishing good exercise habits and setting foundations for learning throughout life. 

Establishing a good relationship with water at an early age helps encourage lifelong participation. What is more, the new Framework makes learning fun and it encourages children to take the next steps on the swimmer pathway in to club swimming.

The National Learn to Swim Framework is being partnered by Scottish Water to ensure it can be rolled out to 100,000 children learning to swim in Leisure Trusts across Scotland.

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “This is a brilliant scheme for us to be involved with in so many ways and we’re delighted it is off to such an excellent start.

“We are thrilled that Glasgow now has 6,000 children across the city learning key, life-saving skills that will help them to be safer in the water, whether at their local swimming pool, at the beach on holiday or just if they are out and about around Scotland’s miles of coastline, rivers and lochs.

“We are also delighted that Duncan has taken time away from his training schedule to share his story and remind us that his medal success in the pool first started when he learned to swim.”

Forbes Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Swimming, said: “We passionately believe in the importance of children learning to swim, and it is fantastic to see over 6,000 young people doing just that as part of the Glasgow Sport swimming programme.

“I would like to thank everyone at Glasgow Sport for their commitment not only to the Learn to Swim programme, but to all aspects of swimming in the city – including the City of Glasgow Swim Team and the range of local, district, national and international events they host.

“I would also like to thank Scottish Water for their support which is allowing Scottish Swimming to work with partners across Scotland to roll out the National Framework which will ultimately reach over 100,000 young people.”