Let’s face it, swimming does have a reputation for being a sport that for whatever reason seems to attract more white people than people from ethnic minorities. Which is a great shame.
You’ve only got to go to a gala and most of the officials and most of the competitors are white even those galas in mixed urban areas such as North London where I live.
I think it is changing (slowly) but anything that can be done to encourage more people to participate in the sport from different ethnic backgrounds has to be a good thing.
Enter the community swimming group, Swim Dem Crew (pictured above), which has just been recognised at the annual British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) for their outstanding work encouraging adults from all backgrounds to learn how to swim.
Held on Saturday (6 February) at Grosvenor House in London, the evening celebrated the achievements and contribution of people from black and minority ethnic communities in sport.
Nominated by the ASA, Swim Dem Crew was awarded the Sport England Community Project of the Year Award following the success of their social swim sessions and swimming lesson programme.
Accepting the award alongside fellow members, Peigh Asante, Nathaniel Cole and Andy Akinwolere, GLL swimming teacher Harley Hicks, said:
“In a lot of our projects, people seem to have the perception that everyone else can swim apart from themselves, but actually one fifth of adults in the country can’t swim.
“Two of the guys here with me on stage only learned to swim in the last few years; they learned to swim as adults and are now helping to change the perception of swimming. So it’s never too late to learn how to swim.”
Swim Dem Crew was founded in 2013 around a love of swimming. Last year, with the support ofSwimming Trust, they successfully challenged a group of non-swimmers to take part in the Great Manchester Swim.
Now the group holds weekly swimming sessions at different pools in London, providing a social space for people to get together and become more confident in the water.
You can see them in action in the video below filmed for a Google Android advertising campaign which has so far been viewed over 6 million times. Hopefully it should help encourage people of all different backgrounds to get into the water and enjoy the sport!
To find out more about Swim Dem Crew go to www.swimdemcrew.co.uk