Memorandum submitted by Amateur Swimming
Association Midland District
Requirement for competition pools has changed
over the years due to metrication, the need for modern services,
equipment and facilities. Because of this many competition pools
have been relegated to training facilities and local inter-club
friendly galas. These older facilities tend to have high operating
costs due to the low levels of energy efficiency and high maintenance
costs and are subject to frequent breakdowns with their ageing
Whilst listed buildings have their historic
beauty their suitability for function and purpose decays over
time. This is unfortunate but sadly the case. A typical example
is Coventry pool, which has the only ten metre diving platform
in the Midland's area and this is now neither suitable nor available
for training or competitions.
Swimming must be one of the most essential activities
required by our Children. Many are taught to swim to the level
defined by the national curriculum, sadly these are the swimmers
who tend to get into difficulty. It is essential we have the facilities
in place to extend our swimmers skills and endurance capability.
To this end swimmers need to swim more often under supervision
in a quality controlled environment. This can be achieved in a
Swim 21 accredited swimming club or local authority teaching the
ASA's National teaching Plan to level ten.
There are now almost 1,400 public swimming and
leisure pools in England. In addition there are approximately
1,600 indoor heated school pools. This provides a reasonable level
of swimming provision across the country. But the demand for swimming
is expressed in a range of facility requirements which cannot
always be satisfied in a single pool.
In terms of development many clubs struggle
to obtain adequate access to pools for training and competition
which frustrates the progress of promising club swimmers towards
regional and national standards throughout the range of swimming
sports (Synchronised swimming, Water Polo, Sprint & Distance
Swimming and Diving). Whilst there is a reasonable spread of 25
metre pools or their equivalent many do not have the necessary
equipment in place to allow the staging of competitions.
The financial pressures on providers, particularly
in relation to revenue costs, are such that there is often an
emphasis towards providing those swimming activities which generate
the most income usually at the expense of diving, synchronised
swimming, water polo and the development of swimming excellence,
which are a relatively low priority for the provider. Club development
is often stifled because of the needs of accommodating all sections
of the community in one pool. This often results in clubs being
given the "8-10pm" slot which is not acceptable for
young children, especially on school nights.
When you look at Lottery funding support for
new sporting facilities swimming tends to be bottom of the pile.
This is a concern as we are losing pools or their facilities faster
than they are being replaced. Often due to:
Pool closures due to high operating
Swimming Pools removing diving facilities
or banning diving.
Swimming Pools decaying beyond economic
High costs are excluding the less
affluent element of our society.
Deep pools being filled in to two
metres to reduce operating costs.
Diving has been very much neglected in recent
years with many of the pools with diving facilities under threat.
The teaching of basic diving skills requires a raised pool end
and for further progression the provision of one and three metre
springboards is required. Few existing pools have springboards
and many new pools are being built "deck level" which
limits the opportunities for the teaching of diving. In addition,
many providers are reducing and or removing diving activities
from their programmes. Often this is done for financial or health
and safety reasons. To enable more flexible programming in dedicated
diving facilities moveable floors are being installed to provide
for shallow water teaching and other purposes resulting in the
loss of some or all of the use of diving boards. Provision of
trampolines and dryboards to allow clubs to provide proper coaching
is often lacking.
Water polo and synchronized swimming both suffer
from the lack of a reasonable network of deep-water pools. They
also, due to high cost and demand find it difficult to obtain
sufficient time within pools to train and stage competitions.
Swimming is an activity which can greatly contribute
to the quality of life and this is especially so for those disabled
users in the community. The majority of pools are less than adequate
in meeting their needs and refurbished pools, because of the basic
design often leave something to be desired.
Policies need prioritising at National Government
level to provide a Competitive Swimming Infrastructure to drive
swimmer and swimming development throughout the Midlands region
which urgently needs:
A modern 50 metre regional competition
pool in Birmingham or Coventry.
A regional synchronised swimming
facility in Leicester.
A regional 10 metre high performance
diving facility in Norwich or Ipswich.
Diving dry board and trampolines
for high performance diving in Luton.
In addition to this ten of our countries and
metropolitan boroughs require:
Eight lane 25 metre competition facilities
for county and regional championships.
Synchronised diving is now an established discipline
within diving at world level on both springboard and platform.
At present no pool has been built to provide for synchronised
diving training as part of a diving programme.
There are insufficient 50 metre training pools
for developing excellence into our "International Performance"
All these facilities need to be built to the
standards defined by the Amateur Swimming Association to ensure
their suitability for purpose.
Reduction in pool charges for ASA Swim 21 Accredited
Swimming Clubs is a necessity.
ASA M&D region has 325 affiliated swimming
clubs with approximately 61,000 members across 24 County and Unitary
authorities. In 1995 we had in excess of 73,000 members.
We are involved in the development of youngsters
throughout the whole range of swimming activities Learn-to-swim,
swimming skills development (ie. survival, aquafit, water polo,
synchronised swimming, diving etc) for able and disabled swimmers
by volunteers through our affiliated swimming clubs. These affiliated
clubs provide seriously needed individual development opportunities
for our youngsters as well as providing each and every swimmer
with the opportunity to develop as sportsmen and sportswomen in
their chosen swimming activity to the extent of their individual
ability. This is recognised through competitions and galas to
provide for skills at local, County, District, National, International
and Olympic standards.
How often do we read in the local and national
medias that today's children are unfit, overweight and lack discipline.
Over recent years the ASA M&D has made significant
improvements in Swimming by:
Introducing improved Teacher and
The National Teaching Plan for swimming.
A nationally recognised Swim 21 standard
for all levels of Swimming Club.
Implementing the Competitive Development
Enabling the Active Sport regional
"Player Pathways" for our young swimmers.
The highly recommended child protection
These requirements for swimming pool facilities
in the Midlands region along with the current ASA M&D swimming
development activities will enable the thousands of swimming club
volunteers within the Midlands region to "Kick Start"
swimming as a sport and provide a means by which we can develop
our young citizens with a quality of life via our quality swimming
Should your committee require further information
or additional support data please contact us direct.
28 November 2001