Memorandum submitted by the Chief Executive
of Scottish Swimming
I write to you on behalf of Scottish Swimming,
in respect of your forthcoming Culture, Media and Sport Committee
on 4 December 2001, in relation to the Sport of Swimming.
I have had the opportunity to consult with colleagues
and partners within the sport of swimming within Scotland and
would offer the following written evidence for consideration by
your Committee in relation to swimming in Scotland specifically
and three key areas, which are as follows:
(a) Swimming as an entitlement for children
(b) Access to swimming facilities.
(c) The long-term development of swimming
In order to offer advice to the Committee I
will take each point in turn.
(a) Swimming EntitlementScottish Swimming
through work with the Scottish Executive and a range of MSP's
are currently surveying Scottish schools and education departments
as to the current state of swimming provision for school children.
Swimming in Scotland does not have, as in England,
swimming as part of the national curriculum with a required prescription
for every child to be given the opportunity to be able to perform
a minimum of 25m during their period at school.
Scotland as you may be aware does not have a
national curriculum for education and therefore we are trying
to ensure that through the good offices of the Scottish Executive
and the Scottish Parliament that every child in Scotland through
a range of mediums be given the opportunity to learn to swim before
the age of ten. We are particularly keen to develop this strategy
within SIP areas within Scotland as evidence prevails that children
outwith SIP areas are given an opportunity to learn to swim albeit
maybe not through the school route.
Support from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee
to that of the existing support received from the Scottish Parliament
would be extremely valuable in Scottish Swimming's quest to reach
this extremely valuable objective, which is a key component of
the sport's new Business Plan 2001-06.
(b) Access to facilitiesI am sure
that your members will hear from various parties that access to
facilities for all types of aquatic activity at all ages and abilities
is becoming an increasing problem throughout the United Kingdom
and Scotland is no different in this arena.
Due to various reasons, some of which are related,
ie capital development, revenue funding, refurbishment and indeed
climatic conditions the number of quality swimming facilities
in the United Kingdom as opposed to other countries throughout
the world is limited.
As local government has changed over the last
15-20 years it has become increasingly difficult for all aspects
of the swimming community to access swimming facilities at both
a realistic time, but more importantly at a realistic charge.
In respect of the latter scenario this has had grave effect on
both the provision of youngsters learning to swim, but more importantly
on the development of training and excellence outlets which ultimately
are the shop window for our sport.
Swimming programmes throughout Scotland and indeed
the United Kingdom are currently paying significant sums of money
to owners of aquatic facilities which are disproportionate to
those in other parts of the world, and is a matter that needs
both addressing and re-dressing as soon as possible if we are
to ensure that swimming as a sport remains viable within all environments.
(c) Development of facilitiesThis
issue very much links to point (b) and is extremely important
if the sport of swimming is to progress over the next 20-30 years
in the United Kingdom.
The onset of lottery funding has both enhanced
and enabled a significant development of new stock of swimming
pools some of which are of the 50m variety. However, our number
of 50m pools in relation to those of other countries is very small
and linked to the access problems provides real difficulty for
the sport developing and moving forward.
Scotland has recently launched a report the "Ticking
Time Bomb" which is to specifically address the issue of
refurbishment of the current stock of pools and Sport Scotland
lottery have allocated a sum of £10 million to this project
over the next three years. This is an extremely welcome investment,
for members that have reviewed the "Ticking Time Bomb"
report they will see that this is in fact the tip of the iceberg
from a Scottish swimming pool provision perspective. Scottish
Swimming's vision through its facility strategy is to ensure that
good quality facilities and access are provided in the six key
conurbations of Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Edinburgh
The current provision within Glasgow, Stirling
and Edinburgh is adequate and with the opening of the National
Swimming Academy in Stirling and a potential refurbishment at
the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh will in fact provide
a good stock of facilities for these geographical locations and
There is, however, the need to develop enhanced
facilities of a 50m nature of some form or another in both Dundee
and Aberdeen and ensure that the access to excellent eight lane
25m pool in Inverness continues to be of an appropriate nature
for the requirements of the swimming population.
I trust that the above comments are helpful
to your Committee and wish you well with your deliberations on
4 December 2001.
28 November 2001