Double Olympian Melanie Marshall Launches Make a Splash in Camden

Double Olympian Melanie Marshall gave an extra special swimming lesson to school children at the launch of Make a Splash at Maria Fidelis Convent School FCJ, in Camden yesterday.

Marshall, a World, European and Commonwealth swimming medallist - took pupils through an hour long coaching session to help build their confidence in the water. Melanie also shared her experience of professional swimming at a special school assembly, where the Mayor of Camden Councillor Abdul Quadir, and Quentin Sandifer, Camden’s joint director of public health, also spoke to school pupils.

The temporary pool has been installed by Total Swimming in a marquee at Maria Fidelis Convent School, North Gower Street, offering swimming lessons for all ages to both schools and the local community. School lessons are free, while lessons for the community are £2.

Olympic Legacy

The pool has been provided by Make A Splash, part of the Mayor of London’s Olympic Legacy Programme, which is designed to ensure a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Funding for the pool was provided by Pro-active Camden (the borough partnership for sport and physical activity). Total Swimming, which manages the pool and delivers the programme, will be taking the Make a Splash mobile pool to five more locations across London by spring 2013. 

School Swimming Lessons

The programme at Maria Fidelis Convent School will deliver hundreds of lessons over the three month period. It is hoped that this will help local children achieve the National Curriculum target of learning to swim 25m unaided by the time they leave primary school. 

Yesterday's Make a Splash launch was especially timely as the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) today launched new research, in conjunction with Kellogg's, which suggests that 1 in 3 children (200,000) will leave primary school this summer unable to swim. Since April 2011, Total Swimming through Make a Splash has delivered school swimming lessons in six London boroughs to nearly 6,000 children across seven projects.

Marshall, who is also England's most decorated female athlete at a single Commonwealth Games , said: “Swimming is an important life skill that all children should learn while having lots of fun in the process. The Make a Splash programme is making this possible for the youngsters here in Camden.

“The children are having a great time learning to swim in this pool, and I want to encourage the local community to make the most of this brilliant facility while it’s here at Maria Fidelis Convent School.”

Benny, a year 9 student at Maria Fidelis Convent School who attended the lesson, said: “I couldn’t swim before, but now I have had two lessons in the pool, and now I feel a lot more confident.”

Team Effort

The Mayor of Camden, Councillor Abdul Quadir, said: “We are really pleased that the pool has come to Camden. It has been a great team effort between NHS North Central London, Maria Fidelis Convent School, Total Swimming, and Camden’s sports and physical activity team to make this happen. It gives children and the wider community another chance to try out this fun and healthy activity.”

Councillor Tulip Siddiq, cabinet member for sport and culture, said: ““Swimming offers plenty of health benefits, and is suitable for all ages, so we want to offer as many opportunities as possible for our local residents to take to the water. With the pool here until July we can offer another place to swim in the borough in addition to our local GLL leisure centres.”

For more information about Make a Splash click here, including how you can get a pool in your community in London, click here.

For details of sessions available for the local community at Maria Fidelis School, including timetables, please click here.

The Make a Splash pool will remain on site until 6th July.