Olympic Legend Duncan Goodhew and GB Junior Stars Launch Pools 4 Schools in AshingtonWednesday 18 April 2012 at 17:52
Olympic champion Duncan Goodhew and Great Britain junior swimmers Jess Thielmann and Phoebe Lenderyou joined Ashington school children yesterday to mark the return of the British Gas Pools 4 schools initiative at Ashington High School Sports College.
Total Swimming's unique approach to school swimming brings an innovative portable pool to the area to teach more than 1,000 children from xx amount of schools (please confirm) to swim for free. This will be the third time the pool has visited the site where more than 1,300 children have previously been taught to swim. The Pools 4 Schools project brings swimming right to the heart of areas that really need it such as in Ashington where limited capacity has caused children to miss out on learning this vital life saving skill.
One in five children in the UK leave primary school unable to swim and this figure rises to four out of five in some communities with limited pool access. With drowning being the third most common cause of accidental death in children in the UK it is crucial that the number of children leaving school unable to swim is tackled. It is hoped that the temporary pool at Ashington High School will help to combat this and ensure children achieve the National Curriculum target of learning to swim 25m unaided by the time they leave primary school.
Duncan, who struck Olympic gold in the 100 metres Breast Stroke in Moscow in 1980 said: “It is scary to think of the number of children in the UK that leave primary school unable to swim. The British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme ensures children have the opportunity to learn a vital life skill, improve their fitness and have fun in the water. Nationally more than 30,000 (please confirm) children have been taught to swim through the programme so far, I’m really pleased to be supporting such a revolutionary scheme.”
Jess added: “As a swimmer I can’t imagine not having learnt to swim when I was younger. I think that every child should have the opportunity to have swimming lessons which is why I think the Pools 4 Schools scheme is so fantastic. I’m really looking forward to getting in the pool with the children today, making a splash and having some fun!”
The 12m x 6 metre portable and temporary pool being used in Ashington is built by Total Swimming which is headed up by Olympic bronze medallist; Steve Parry. The pool provides a range of activities from swimming lessons to mini-polo and aqua-aerobics delivered by experienced teachers.
Liz Armstrong, PESS (P.E. and School Sport) Network Manager at Ashington High School who has helped to organise the pool coming to Ashington said: “The arrival of the pool at Ashington High School has created a real buzz around the school. The students were very interested to see it being built and are now swimming, playing water polo and learning personal survival skills during PE lessons, at lunchtimes and after school. Many of our students are not strong swimmers and this will give them a very worthwhile opportunity to develop their aquatic skills. We are especially excited that the pool has come back during an Olympic Year and will support all the sporting activities we will be doing around London 2012 later in the year.”
The Pools 4 Schools programme is delivered by Total Swimming and sponsored by British Gas and Speedo, with further financial support from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). The project at Ashington was also kindly supported by Northumbrian Water, which provided the water for the pool free of charge.
The pool will remain in Ashington until June 2012.
For more photos of this fantastic event, check out the gallery section of Total Swimming's Facebook page.
- Online Enquiry Form