Olympic Medallist Parry Launches Swimming Academies in Glasgow

Olympic Medallist Steve Parry is to open three new swimming academies in Glasgow next month, with the aim of providing high quality lessons to get more children swimming.

Recent research suggests that approximately 40 to 45% of children in Scotland are leave primary school unable to swim, with a particularly high percentage of those who cannot swim living in the more socially deprived areas. (Scottish Swimming, Nov 12)

Parry, who won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, has set up a number of academies already in Scotland and Merseyside to provide an alternative to traditional school and local authority lessons.

Parry said, “With swimming not being a statutory requirement on the curriculum in Scotland, a lot of schools are opting out of taking their kids swimming. There may be for a number of reasons, such as local pool closures; lack of facilities; or prohibitive costs of transport and leisure centre hire but whatever the reason there are too many kids losing out on learning to swim”

Parry’s company Total Swimming Academies currently operates academies from four schools in Scotland, including Abercorn High School in Glasgow. In February, three new sites will open at Ashcraig School, Shawlands Primary and St Brides Primary.

The company’s philosophy is to deliver lessons with a low ratio of children to swimming teachers, with no more than six children per group. This means that children get more attention from the teacher, which helps them to develop their skills quicker.

According to Parry, who also presents a regular show for BBC Radio Five Live, “Swimming is more important than any other sport to learn because; fundamentally it is a life skill. It is something you can do from when you are 2 years old right through till your 80! Learning to swim can open up a whole world of aquatic activities and it is great to be able to swim in the pool on your summer holidays, but most importantly it can save your life”

To find out more about Total Swimming Academies, visit www.totalswimming.co.uk.