It’s perhaps not that much of a surprise, given the lack of profile for the sport at present. But according to the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), one in five adults are unable to swim at all. This follows news last year that around 45 per cent of children leave Primary School unable to swim a length.
According to the ASA, nine million men and women aged over 14 in England have never learned to swim, with the highest number of non-swimmers aged over 65.
Edward Lord, chair of the ASA group board, said: “We need the support of local and national policy makers to help ensure good quality, affordable, aquatic facilities remain available to all.
“We are working closely with pool operators and partners to develop local aquatic projects that encourage more people to take to the water.”
Mr Lord added that more Britons would learn to swim if there was greater encouragement and support for the development of emerging talent to compete on the world stage (I reckon most people in Britain would be unable to name a current British swimmer.)
ASA’s findings come after it was revealed that almost half a million women in England have given up swimming in the past decade amid fears about how they look in the pool.
Figures show that three times as many women as men stopped swimming between 2005 and 2014, with 455,300 no longer taking a dip for half an hour every week or more.
However, swimming remains the most popular participation sport in England, with more than 2.6 million adults swimming 30 minutes at least once a week.