Written evidence submitted by the British
Swimming and the Amateur Swimming Association
British Swimming (BS) and the Amateur Swimming
BS is focused upon the strategic direction
and management of elite athlete performance, Olympic and Paralympic
medal success across all aquatic disciplines. BS success is underpinned
in England by the actions of the ASA. Their remit is to ensure
the widest participation in the sport and that those people with
talent can make a smooth transition into the elite programmes
of BS. The joint vision for BS and the ASA is:
To ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn to swim.
To ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy swimming or water
based activities for health and fun throughout their lifetime.
To ensure everyone achieves their different
personal goals throughout their lifetime.
To ensure we achieve gold medal success
on the world stage.
In essence we are about more people swimming,
more often, having more fun and winning more gold medals.
BS and the ASA welcomes the opportunity
to contribute to this inquiry into securing a legacy from the
London 2012 Olympic Games and this paper builds upon evidence
submitted to the "House of Commons Select Committee Culture,
Media and Sport London 2012: Call for Evidence" (November
2007). Our evidence concluded that London 2012 presents
major opportunitieswhich must not be wastedto provide
the lasting, national swim facility the sport badly needs; to
motivate many more people across England to swim regularly and
thus to encourage active, healthy living; and to win national
prestige, through medal performance.
Whilst the majority of programmes would
have been developed for the future benefit of the sport there
is no doubt that the London 2012 Games has accelerated these programmes
by the provision of additional funding and opportunities. The
Games has enabled the development of personnel to work to international
standard and has provided the opportunity for Great Britain (GB)
to have an increased profile and influence overseas.
Swimming is already Britain's number
one participation sport. We also know that swimming is the activity
most people want to try; that one in five cannot swim; we have
more pool opportunities than ever before, in the public and private
sectors. Though evidence suggests many do not meet customer expectations
today and we know that new and refurbished pools drive participation.
The Games themselves will not drive up
participation but by linking success at the Games to our policies
and programmes, we can together achieve a shift in participation.
Swimming is crucial to the 2012 Gamesit
is the launch of competition, it is the first week, it will be
the hottest ticket in town. It will win vital early medals for
the GB Olympic team. We stand ready to support the 2012 Legacy
effort in every way possible!
1. Whether the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
Games will deliver a lasting legacy of social, physical and economic
We believe that the award of the 2012 Olympic
Games to London gives British sport, as a whole, a "once-in-a-lifetime"
opportunity to make a huge leap forward in performance. However,
we also believe that it provides a catalyst for sport to contribute
towards improving health, fighting obesity, improving the quality
of life and helping combat some of the social ills of crime, drug
abuse and equity.
Initial interest in swimming often comes through
school or because of family involvement and participation is often
sustained throughout life. Unlike many sports the cost of equipment,
a costume, towel and perhaps a pair of goggles, is small and for
this reason alone swimming is well placed to make a significant
impact on the Government's objective of promoting activity for
all, through its "At least Five A Week" recommendation.
Swimming is already the most popular sports activity with 11.9
million people swimming regularly and research has shown that
13% of the population who do not have an active lifestyle consider
swimming would be their choice of recreation.
The challenge is to transfer this interest into
activity but for swimming to make an impact in increasing participation
there needs to be a culture change in the way swimming pools are
operated to meet the diverse needs of both new and existing customers.
However, if a change in culture is to occur,
firstly there is a cost to be met in providing training and ongoing
professional development for the pool operators, swimming teachers,
coaches and pool staff to equip them with the skills needed to
drive the activity and the health agenda. The industry has told
us that we need over the next five years to double our training
provision in this area if we are to deliver the important growth
in participation and achieve the results we all need. This facility
can in due course make a significant contribution to this work
and provide much needed skills development to the economy of the
Secondly there is a need to ensure that the
necessary facilities are available to meet an increase in use
and the needs stemming from the broadening of the range of activities
and importantly that these facilities will be high quality, well
programmed, affordable and accessible to all.
There are significant challenges but the ASA
would seek to build on the learning from the Everyday Swim project
and we are involved with the Government's Free Swimming initiative
and various partners in different parts of the country, to encourage
people to be more active. The intention is to put the customer
at the heart of the decision making process and seek out new markets
whist retaining existing customers and encouraging them to swim
BS and the ASA have policies relating to the
staging of more events of an international nature which will serve
to increase interest in swimming and its disciplines and in the
process get more people swimming. BS and the ASA work closely
with UK Sport in the bringing of major events to this country
and in so doing help in the meeting of many of the Government's
targets in relation to social problems and health and increasing
prestige for this country from the staging of a successful event.
There was a study carried out on the economic
impact of the series of international events held in Manchester
in 2008. This concluded that they were worth £23 million
net to the local economy and that the events supported a total
of 499 full-time equivalent jobs in the Manchester area. Of the
six events, the World Short Course Swimming Championships contributed
£7 million of this, second only to the UEFA Cup Final at
BS together with UK Sport, London Development
agency (LDA) and Visit London is currently conducted a study on
the feasibility of successfully bidding for and hosting the LEN
European Championships in 2014. It is useful to note that the
cost of staging the event is circa £5 million and whilst
having significant commercial value such an event does require
additional public funding of around 50% of budget costs. This
would normally be shared between UK Sport and the local authority.
However, the economic impact of such an event would be in excess
of £15 million. Such an investment also complements some
of the skills and social targets and provides massive media interest
which enhances the whole project. These factors make a compelling
case for this type of event.
2. Ways of maximizing the value of the Olympic
legacy both within the host boroughs, London and across the UK
2.1 Inspiring a new generation
of swimmers across England
Swimming has a comprehensive plan in place for
the teaching of swimming linked to a progressive awards structure.
We have the ambition to transform learning to swim into an industrialised
process ie Islington managed to get 3,500 people in swimming lessons
In England, swimming is part of the national curriculum,
all children need to achieve at least 25 metres before leaving
primary school and have an understanding of water safety. Each
pupil needs to develop a range of skills and not just be limited
to the measure of 25 metres, as general water confidence and skills
will provide benefit to them in the future. A "School Swimming
Improvement" programme exists to support pupils who need
extra swimming lessons to achieve the target.
Free SwimmingThis cross-Government investment
of over £140 million package comprising contributions from
the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department
of Health (DoH), the Department for Children, Schools and Families
(DCSF), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department
for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Aimed at increasing
participation particularly in the over 60s and under 16s, it also
has an aspirational element to encourage all local authorities
to offer free swimming to all by 2012.
Swimming is a key strand of the DoH's "Change
for life Campaign" which has one aim, to change the lives
of families in England by improving their diet, exercise and attitudes
to good health. We have also seen significant investment from
some Primary Care Trust (PCTs) who are looking seriously at sport
and in particular swimming as a vehicle for delivering health
goals. Barking and Dagenham have recently invested over £1
million in swimming as part of a wider project to address health
2.2 Community Use in London
Overall the London Aquatic Centre (LAC) can
play a major role in building a more active and healthier community
in the East end of London. In the build up to the Games it will
be important not to raise expectations we cannot sustain until
the pool opens in legacy mode. We would see some community use,
which will provide the opportunity to test activity but the main
programmes will be provided through the Five Host boroughs programmes
through this period.
Considerable discussion and planning has already
taken place with the venues team at Olympic Park Legacy Company
(OPLC) through the business planning work, it has been centred
upon the need to ensure that the potential of the facility is
fully explored and that it becomes a focus for not only the development
of swimming but also an important focus for the population in
the East of London. It is important that the site does not become
intimidating to local people due to its scale. Having non sport
facilities connected to the site will help to break down these
perceived barriers, for example having community facilities, polyclinic
etc close to the Aquatic centre and having an intergenerational
model that caters for the diversity of the area will help to engage
We have worked with the Five Host boroughs and
the venues team in OPLC to produce a clear plan for Aquatics.
Each Borough in turn is producing its own Aquatics Strategy with
a key person appointed to drive this forward. This will ensure
a massive participation and performance is released bottom up.
2.3 Developing Talent and Excellence across England
We were all delighted to see the swimming team
return with six medals from Beijing which was the best result
for 100 years.
Any Olympic or Paralympic Games will generate the
hottest competition and 140 nations have swimmers, coaches and
facilities already in full combat mode. We predict at this stage
more medals than Beijing for the British team (out of the roughly
100 swim medals available). We are fortunate to have the necessary
investment, organisation and culture, the right coaching structure
and an effective talent identification scheme. We will do our
utmost to prepare our swimmers, divers and water polo teams to
perform "out of their skins" for their country.
All aquatic disciplines now receive lottery
funding with an investment of approximately £46 million over
a four year period enabling a growth in resources and activity
to ensure the development of the elite programmes.
BS currently operates five elite programmesThese
are swimming, disability swimming, diving, synchronised swimming
and water polo. These are funded through the National Lottery
programme and have a focus on producing success at the Olympic
and Paralympic Games and other major World events. The delivery
of these programmes is primarily through Performance Centres and
we currently have a network of 13 centres across the UK.
London 2012 has also provided us with the opportunity
to review the delivery of our talent programmes for all disciplines
to identify and develop talent and ensure its growth beyond 2012.
The ASA is focused on developing a fully integrated and seamless
pathway for developing athletes, coaches, teachers, volunteers,
sports scientist and support staff, such as the Beacon programme
in 50 metre pools in England which also ensure strong links between
the club programme and the elite programme to ensure enhanced
training opportunities and sport science support are available
locally. Training camps for young athletes now provide a more
holistic programme by the inclusion of coach development clinics
and parent education seminars. These positions bring together
funding and engagement from the governing body, the local authority,
and the area's clubs, making best use of water and coaching resource
for each clubs' more talented swimmers.
It is recognised that the club structure is
vital to the implementation of many of the legacy programmes which
will develop the sport and therefore focus is given to the accredited
club programmes and the development of networks of clubs ensuring
a comprehensive pathway for athletes is being developed throughout
The London 2012 Games bid was a catalyst for
the development of the UK School Games (UKSG) which in turn has
been used by swimming as a basis for reviewing the whole competitive
pathway for young people. This review sits alongside a comprehensive
programme whereby strong links are forged between schools and
local swimming clubs, and the formation of a wider competitive
network that encompasses young people who are not currently taking
part in any form of competitive swimming.
In England the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting
Excellence (AASE) programme is providing a mechanism to ensure
talented athletes are supported, both financially and educationally,
at a key stage in their development prior to obtaining a place
on the UK Sport World Class lottery supported programmes.
Playground to Podium puts in place the talent
pathways for identifying and supporting disabled swimmers. A framework
has been developed to enhance existing player pathways and provide
increased opportunities for sporting prowess to be developed and
2.4 Development of talent and excellence in London
Beacon programmes are being developed at Ealing,
Crystal Palace and one that encompasses the Five Host boroughs.
These will be central to the delivery of:
A multi-disciplinary pathway from Learn
to Swim/Foundation level through to performance level and life
Providing selected athletes with access to
enhanced development opportunities, including athlete support
Helping deliver better swimming teachers
Providing a comprehensive programme to
deliver the UK Coaching Framework and other educational programmes
for a number of sports and community activities.
Acting as a host for the athlete and
coach apprenticeship programme across a number of disciplines.
It is envisaged that the "five borough"
aquatics programmes will operate within their own sub-region for
the development activities up to the lower stage of talent, then
access the LAC as an enhancement of local provision at the appropriate
stage of development. Ultimately, the talented athletes will be
based in the LAC for practically all their training activities.
This will allow economies of scale to be created in provision,
which in turn will create greater capacity and minimise delivery
However, this does not preclude the development
of a vertically managed development programme from learn to swim
through to excel level at the LAC, which allows an individual
from the locality to develop without every accessing another facility.
The London Disability Squad based in Tower Hamlets
is drawing the majority of its athletes from the Five Host boroughs
are an example of the ground swell of work already taking place
and is an area we can build upon.
2.5 Developing Skills
This is critical to moving the sport forward.
The ASA is trying to place this on the agenda of every club, county
and region in England and we want to recruit new, young people
into the sport and make changes that will have a lasting legacy.
The UK Coaching Framework will play a key role in ensuring swimming
teaching and coaching is recognised as a profession and strengthens
the quality of the delivery of swimming teaching and coaching.
The aquatic disciplines have taken the opportunity
afforded by London 2012 to re-examine the career pathway and examination
structure for technical officials and all disciplines now have
a British qualification and agreed delivery model. To encourage
ongoing continuing professional development, all disciplines have
now established, or are working towards establishing a licensing
programme for officials coupled with a fast track programme for
retiring athletes. This has ensured an ongoing legacy of a comprehensive,
standardised qualification and ongoing development programme for
BS and the Home Countries are committed to the
development of current staff as sports administrators and development
staff. The ASA has a volunteering policy that allows staff to
`work `within the sport or other agencies as part of their personal
development. In addition we are keen to develop a programme that
will work with retiring athletes to provide information and opportunities
to be part of the sport either as paid or volunteer staff.
The London 2012 bid also highlighted the need
to identify suitable personnel for international exposure and
a nucleus of appropriately qualified members have been given the
opportunity to attend events overseas as event organisers, technical
officials and announcers. This has resulted in LEN and FINA requesting
the presence of some of these members at additional events, particularly
in the field of announcing and event organisation.
Swimming is taking every opportunity afforded
by London 2012 to enhance the delivery and presentation of events
building on the legacy from the Commonwealth Games and World Championships
in Manchester. Those involved in the delivery and presentation
of events have been given the opportunity to visit quality international
events to identify and implement best practice back in the UK.
BS continues to invest in event delivery to enhance the experience
for both the participant and the spectator.
We plan to recruit from East London an events
team which will be trained to meet the challenges of the 21st
Century in the event world providing employment and skills which
in turn would assist people to find work.
Swimming has taken advantage of several programmes
set up by UK Sport focusing on the development of personnel and
international exposure. Swimming has representatives on the following
UK Sport International Leadership Programme;
Women and Leadership Programme;
Elite Coach Programme; and
In addition, the Chief Executive is a
mentor on the UK Sport International Leadership Programme.
Furthermore the International Representative
Programme has enabled Britain to take advantage of all opportunities
to exert influence on the European and World swimming political
agenda with Britain continuing to have representatives on key
committees and decision making fora in LEN and FINA.
Volunteering is a key element of the London
2012 Games and swimming is undertaking a number of initiatives
designed to encourage the recruitment and retention of volunteers.
In addition, work is ongoing to ensure volunteers are trained
and have access to resources to assist them in their role. Fora
have been created to ensure appropriate volunteers are able to
shape and implement initiatives.
The 2012 Paralympic Games has provided an enhanced
opportunity for the development and training of classification
teams for disability swimming which will provide an ongoing legacy
for the sport.
2.6 Developing skills in London
The ASA has long held an aim of developing a
National Swimming Academy possibly based upon around a 50m pool
and an academic Institution and linked into the Institute of Swimming.
The LAC would provide an ideal base for the water based training
activities with office accommodation, training rooms etc. based
in the under croft of the stadium.
The ASA presently has some 12,000 candidates embarking
on its qualifications as well as over 7,000 attending CPD events
each year but the setting up of an academy would be to provide
a more comprehensive coach education and training programme in
swimming and associated health issues as well as covering aspects
of facility management and linking into the Advanced Apprenticeship
in Sporting Excellence scheme, Apprenticeships for Swimming teachers
and coaches and Swimming development alongside the wider emerging
National Skills Academy.
The development of the Academy is seen as a
major step in the development of swimming and meeting its long
term aims but of equal importance is the role it can play in the
development of the LAC as part of the everyday life in the East
End of London.
2.7 Facility Development
The ASA'S National Facilities Strategy highlighted
the lack of 50 metre pools in London, which compares badly with
other European Capitals. As a minimum, there is a need for one
50 metre pool in each quadrant in the area bounded by the M25.
The LAC will complement the existing 50 metre pools in London
at Crystal Palace and Hillingdon. Also, it will increase the stock
of 50 metre pools in England, which still compares unfavourably
with other leading swimming nations.
Facilities are being built and refurbished throughout
the country. Examples of new 50 metre pools which are under construction
or detailed planning/consideration due to the Games include: Corby,
Hillingdon, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Luton, Guildford
Temporary pools used during Olympic Games could
be sold to partners to further enhance the stock of facilities
throughout the country bringing tangible benefits to the nation
of staging the Olympics.
The ASA is working closely with Sport England
(SE) to ensure that facilities and their programming are strategically
planned using the Facility Improvement service and the Local Aquatic
Strategy toolkit developed by the ASA.
3. The use and management of the Olympic
Park and venues after 2012
Whilst the main LAC is being designed and built
primarily to meet the requirements for the Olympic and Paralympic
Games, in legacy mode it will provide a premier swimming centre
in the nation's capital city. The centre will be much more than
a competition and training venue with focus on the following areas:
A facility for the local community to
enjoy recreational swimming and aqua fitness activities.
Dry leisure areas complimentary to the
National Swimming Academy linked to the
Institute of Swimming and the University of East London providing
a comprehensive aquatic workforce development programme.
Working with the host Boroughs of Newham, Greenwich,
Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and with the Mayor's
office we aim to change forever the way swimming is delivered
in this area. The Boroughs will actively collaborate on the development
of Talent, Disability, Workforce and Health as well as developing
their own distinct Aquatics Strategy.
It was always intended that the LAC was to provide
a facility which could showcase British and English swimming and
allow the staging of International aquatic events without having
to hire an indoor arena. As was the case for the World Short Course
Swimming Championships in 2008 or temporarily re-configure a pool
as was the case for the Manchester Commonwealth Games where seating
was built over the diving pool and the leisure water area. A purpose
built swimming venue is something which has been lacking in Britain
and has prevented British swimmers having home support. The excellent
results in both the World Short Course Championships and the Commonwealth
Games have illustrated what a difference home support can make.
We are in the process of preparing our quadrennial
plan for the period 2013-17 which will take in the next Olympic
and Paralympic cycles and establish the future direction for the
years ahead. This will be finalised prior to London 2012 and will
take into account the opportunities arising from the new LAC and
its proposed business plan. A major consideration in this review
will be the fact that currently there are no British High Performance
Centres within the Greater London conurbation due to lack of facilities
and therefore the provision of World Class facilities in London
provides an excellent strategic opportunity for a number of our
sports. It is seen as essential going forward that we utilise
the potential within this large population area.
The current funding arrangement with UK Sport
is through to 31 March 2013. At this stage it is not clear the
timeline for the establishment for future funding beyond this
period. The potential usages therefore subject to the identification
of suitable resources and agreement on competitive financial arrangements
in relation to facility usage.
Of particular interest would be the creation
of a High Performance Centre for Diving and synchronised swimming
which could be truly world class. The combination of the facilities
for diving in relation to both pool and dry land could potentially
provide a training facility second to none. Swimming, disability
swimming and synchronised swimming all have contractual arrangements
in place for High Performance Centres. However, these will be
reviewed in the context of performance outcomes and the opportunities
arising at the London Aquatic Centre. An essential ingredient
for any High Performance Centre is a one stop shop approach to
the needs of athletes. Particularly important would be access
to higher education provision.
It is now a matter of some urgency that we establish
the management team for the facility and work with them on turning
this plan into a reality.
4. Progress towards meeting targets to increase
grass roots participation in sport
It should be recognised that increasing participation
is a long term strategy, as stated above swimming is already the
highest participation sport and that 13% of people who do no activity
would wish to do.
The ASA has undertaken considerable research into
the barriers to participation and have worked with Sport England
on the Everyday Swim project which has provided excellent learning
and ideas. We are now focused on putting the customer at the heart
of the process, creating programmes that meet their requirements
and ensuring staff are trained to meet customer expectations.
Their experience begins at the point they enter the facility and
we need to improve the quality of pools through refurbishment
and new build as evidence tells us that this will drive participation.
We work closely with Sport England and the Government
Departments through Free Swimming and our Whole Sport Plan to
increase participation. Early results of Active people and our
own research suggests a significant increase in throughput to
pools but the significant challenge is now to convert the more
casual users into regular users.
Our belief is our strategy will achieve this
over period to 2013 however important now to build on Free Swimming
with similar initiatives that are taken through to March 2013
ie National Learn to Swim campaign or a National Swimming campaign
linked to "Change 4 Life".
5. The aim of leaving a lasting legacy that
improves cultural life
Public investment in sport and culture go hand
in hand and can be complementary. Many major events that British
Swimming have staged, such as the World Swimming Championships
in Manchester have been linked to cultural events which not only
allows overseas visitors to experience British culture at its
best but to support programmes which improves the cultural life
Similarly to our work in Everyday Swim and now Free
Swimming to find new markets we have extended our reach into cultural
groups in the community and have encouraged them to participate
in swimming as well as and enhance their own group activity ie
gospel singers in London.
6. How success in delivering lasting legacy
can be measured?
By measuring more people, doing more sport more
often. However we do need a Standard measurement of what we mean
by activity as this is currently different and across health and
By having a certainty for investment into sport.