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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Jeremy Armstrong

Two British Olympians back swimming lessons to be put on national curriculum

Two sporting legends say all children should be able to swim 25m by the time they leave primary school.

Ellie Simmonds and Adam Peaty are backing calls for proper funding for swimming lessons on the national curriculum.

They want the sport included as part of Ofsted inspections as campaigners warn one in four children cannot swim by the time they leave primary school.

And this figure could rise to 60 per cent by 2025, they add.

The champion athletes are supporting the Swim United initiative, back by Speedo.

Ellie and Adam both called for better funding for public pools in yesterday’s Mirror.

Adam Peaty and Ellie Simmonds and Michael Gunning competitive Jamaican Swimmer, at Smethwick Swimming Centre, Birmingham (PA)

Ellie, 27, said: “I was lucky enough to start swimming at the age of five, and I’m passionate about ensuring that young people are able to develop their skills.

“Swimming is not only enjoyable and rewarding, but a life-saving skill too.”

Breastroke star Adam, 27, added: “Swimming is a fundamental life skill and to hear that one in four children leave primary school without being able to swim is a truly shocking statistic.

“It highlights the urgency needed to tackle this rapidly-growing issue which needs long-term, systemic change.

“If kids aren’t being given the access to swimming lessons at school then they could potentially be left behind.

“This isn’t just about sport or meeting curriculum requirements, it’s about physical and mental health and saving lives.”

The pair are joined on their quest to make the sport accessible to all by ex-pro swimmer turned TV pundit Michael Gunning.

He said he did not have a
“swimming hero” growing up as a mixed-race boy.

Michael, 28, added: “The majority of children who can’t swim are from ethnic minority communities and this really needs to change.”

The trio are also calling for urgent support for swimming pool operators to remain open amid rising energy costs.


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