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Learn to swim programme launches with big splash

Published on Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE NUMBER of children and young people learning to swim in Leicester City Council-run pools is set to double over the next five years, following a revamp of the council’s teaching programme.

The new-look programme – called ‘Swim Leicester’ – will increase the number of opportunities for those wishing to learn to swim, with more teachers and more time slots on offer at the council’s seven swimming pools.

Beginning at foundation level for babies and toddlers, the programme aims to create confident swimmers by progressing them through the Amateur Swimming Association’s (ASA) Learn to Swim framework. 

Those wishing to learn to swim can join the programme at any time, with classes for adults and children available seven days a week. Lessons start at £4.50 for each 30-minute session.

“It’s really important that every child learns to swim,” said deputy city mayor Cllr Rory Palmer.

“Swimming lessons equip a child with the skills they need to stay safe in water – as well as instilling in them a love for a sport that they’ll be able to enjoy throughout their adult life.

“It’s therefore a cause for concern that national research conducted by the ASA suggests that one in three children leaves primary school unable to swim. That’s clearly something we need to address.”

Better programming at city pools will improve access to lessons for people of all ages – and better advertising will ensure that parents and carers are aware of the increased availability of swimming lessons.

Assistant city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “At present, around 4,000 young people are learning to swim at city council pools each week, but we want to double that number over the next five years.

“We’ve been working closely with the ASA to improve our approach and, as a result, our new Swim Leicester programme will offer more spaces, more teachers and more time slots at our seven pools – giving parents and carers more choice about where and when their child learns to swim.

“The city council is committed to supporting every child in Leicester to learn to swim.”

The new Swim Leicester programme will be launched at Braunstone Leisure Centre on Saturday (28 May) as part of the Big Splash – a day of fun activities for children and families.

As well as swimming taster sessions, a mini gala and a splash disco, there will also be an appearance by GB Olympic swimmer Joe Roebuck and Swim Leicester mascot Snappy the Shark.

Places at the Big Splash must be booked in advance by calling Braunstone Leisure Centre on 0116 229 3229.

Anyone signing up for Swim Leicester lessons on Saturday (28 May) will be given a free family swim pass, entitling two adults and two children – or one adult and three children – to a free swim in one of the council’s seven pools.

Following Saturday’s launch, a week of swimming taster sessions will take place at the city council’s pools, with sessions for complete beginners as well as opportunities for swimmers to try something new.

Rookie lifeguard training, for example, will be on offer at Spence Street and Cossington Street sports centres, with water polo sessions at Braunstone Leisure Centre, diving at Evington Leisure Centre and synchronised swimming at Aylestone Leisure Centre. Swimming sessions for beginners will also take place at Leicester Leys and New Parks leisure centres.

All taster sessions are free of charge, but places must be booked in advance.

For more information about the new Swim Leicester programme, and full details of all the taster sessions taking place between 28 May and 3 June, visit www.leicester.gov.uk/swimming