Swim Lesson Providers Embark on Learn to Swim Recovery

A SWIMMING lesson project for Scottish children is back on track after recording an 87% recovery from the huge disruption caused by the pandemic.

The National Learn to Swim Framework has already helped more than 106,000 young people be more confident swimmers, but the program was halted when the pandemic forced swimming pools to close.

Following the announcement in March that Scottish Water will continue its partnership with Scottish Swimming to support the scheme, new figures have revealed how quickly it is bouncing back.

Latest figures compiled by Scottish Swimming show that more than 70,000 young people across Scotland are currently enrolled in the Learn to Swim programme.

Brian Lironi, Scottish Water’s General Affairs Director, said: “There is still some way to go before we get back to pre-pandemic levels, but we are making better progress than we could have hoped for.

“Our ambition for the Learn to Swim program is to create a lasting legacy for Scotland that will help build a nation of happier, healthier and safer young people who fulfill their potential in and out of the pool.

“While the pandemic has put a damper on the entire program, it’s great to see kids getting back into it in droves.”

Scottish Swimming has conducted research with the 36 organizations that help deliver the Learn to Swim framework, including a majority of local leisure trusts/local authorities and a number of independent aquatic providers.

So far, 27 have returned their most recent turnout figures, with those figures showing that 70,186 young people are currently registered.

Of these 27 Leisure Trusts and other delivery partners, 12 have actually exceeded their pre-pandemic participation levels.

Euan Lowe, Scottish Swimming Chief Executive, said: “It is hugely positive to see so many children returning to swimming lessons.

“It tells us what an engaging and sustainable program we have created in Learn to Swim.

“Leisure trusts have done an impressive job of getting young people back in the water so quickly and the fact that some of them are already ahead of pre-pandemic levels is nothing short of amazing.

“Unfortunately, many swimming teachers have moved during the pandemic, whether to pursue alternative careers or for various other reasons.

“The result is that some lesson providers will be more cautious about the recovery rate, as they may simply not have enough swimming teachers to meet pent-up demand.

“We will be working closely with all trusts over the next few months to focus on the recruitment, training and retention of swim instructors, because what is clear is that the Learn to Swim program is as popular than he ever was. ”

The framework is provided across Scotland by 36 Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers at over 160 pools.

It is aimed at young people from birth and provides teaching of constant quality at least once a week and which progresses in class and in levels over several years.

In the first four years of the partnership, Learn to Swim provided lessons to approximately 106,000 children. It aims to reach another 100,000 children by 2025.

Research on the cognitive benefits for young people who take swimming lessons has shown that they reach a range of developmental milestones earlier than those who don’t, regardless of gender or background.

Children who are swim club members and compete regularly develop life skills – such as goal setting, teamwork, resilience, time management and leadership qualities – which can help them greatly in their future career and life.

Learn to Swim is championed by Scottish swimming superstars, world champions and Olympic and Paralympic medalists Duncan Scott and Toni Shaw as ambassadors.