It’s official, Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland has become the top area for swimming participation, with adults aged 16+ enjoying the many benefits the sport provides along the way.
The Active People Survey, which measures adult participation in sport and physical activity, has illustrated the dramatic rise of Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport from rank 32nd out of 49 County Sport Partnerships in the first Active People Survey (2005/06) to number 1 in the recent results. This statistic relates to adults aged 16+ who swim once a week. It has risen from 7.8% to 9.5% over the five year period. (See below for a graph illustrating this).
Andy Reed, Chairman of Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport, said, “We are really pleased with this result and as sports people it’s always our ultimate aim to achieve the number one spot. Being the top ranked area for participation in swimming clearly demonstrates the excellent partnership between the Amateur Swimming Association, Local Authorities and pool operators.
“This is yet more evidence of the progress towards the goal of making Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland the most sporting and physically active place in England.”
Roger Glithero, Director East Midland ASA, added, “This has been a massive team effort and we have been supported by both Sport England and British Gas in understanding challenges around marketing and communicating to both the industry and people. However, we still have a long way to go in changing the culture and customer experience in swimming but with the support of the pool operators, who are all now fully engaged, we will continue to grow the market and achieve our goals.”
The increased popularity of swimming may be down to many factors including recent successes of Team GB, but the people of Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland have risen to their own challenges.
At Swimathon events earlier in the year 370 people swam a total distance of 1054km which is 42,180 lengths of a 25m pool! At a recent celebration event in April, the county’s oldest swimmers were recognised and were presented with awards from members of the British Swimming squad. Pat Ward, 97 and John Walford, 91 are testament to the benefits of swimming and lifelong participation in sport and physical activity.