Speedo has launched Swim United; a purpose-led programme with the sole mission of tackling the barriers to swimming faced by many families in the UK, whether these be; cultural, financial or systemic.
Swim United is a long-term commitment, developed in partnership with Better and with the support of the Black Swimming Association. Phase one of the programme will engage 40 schools across London to ignite children’s interest in swimming through activity packs and 1,200 intensive two-week swim courses, which will run through the schools and swimming pools operated by Better, helping young swimmers build much needed confidence and skills in and around the water.
Swim United was developed as a response to research from Sport England and the Black Swimming Association which shows that children from marginalised communities and minority groups are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning to swim at primary school.
Only 42% of children going to school in the most deprived areas of the country are able to swim, compared to 86% in the least deprived areas. Additionally, 95% of Black adults and 80% of Black children in England do not swim; and 93% of Asian adults and 78% of Asian children in England also do not swim, while an estimated 532,000 children from ethnically-diverse communities have missed out on swimming lessons due to the pandemic.
To help affect real change, Swim United aims to help break down some of the barriers that families face when it comes to swimming, with an overarching ambition to make swimming more equitable.
Swim United launches with three real stories from families who have overcome their own personal challenges of swimming to find their joy in the water.
The films feature Remi, who is of Caribbean decent and describes herself as a mermaid. Swimming has been a part of her life since childhood, so when she hears the statistics about the number of Black adults and children who don’t swim, this conflicts with her own lived experiences.
Next, Cathy a mother of two, all three of whom were born with dwarfism, focuses her swim story on accessibility and the importance of representation amongst swim teachers, explaining the reasons why she chose an instructor that specialised in swimming with disabled children.
Finally Niran, a father of two whose Keralan ancestry didn’t prioritise swimming, explains how he is passionate about changing the narrative for his daughters and recognises the importance of them learning to swim at a young age.
Global Brand Director at Speedo, Kev McFadyen said: “We are committed to getting more children swimming and helping families enjoy time in the water together. We believe that swimming is for everyone and want to help break down some of the barriers that marginalise communities, making them feel like swimming isn’t for them.
It was important for us to work in partnership with the Black Swimming Association and Better, the UK’s largest provider of swimming lessons, in order to establish the Swim United programme and effect meaningful change. As a collective, we are wholeheartedly committed to swimming for all and Swim United is just the beginning.”
To watch the stories and to read more about the Swim United campaign, you can visit the Speedo website – Discover Swim United at Speedo UK.
To join the conversation, follow @Speedo #SwimUnited on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook.