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National Swimming Pool Day is celebrated on July 11th every year. It’s a day to celebrate the joys of swimming, swimming pools and the vital life skills that they allow us to learn.

What is National Swimming Pool Day?

National Swimming Pool Day originates back in 3000 B.C., in the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro (now in Pakistan), where a remarkable 40 by 23-foot pool lined with bricks and sealed with a tar-like substance was discovered. It seems our love for taking a dip goes way, way back.

The Romans also built pools – for military exercises, nautical games, and athletic training. Fish ponds as we have come to know them also originate from the Romans, when Roman emperors had private pools filled with fish, which they aptly named “piscina” the Latin word meaning “fish pond”. Gaius Maecenas, a wealthy Roman lord and patron of the arts, is credited with constructing the first heated swimming pool around 100 B.C.

From there, swimming pools gained popularity in Britain. By 1837, the earliest indoor pools with diving boards emerged, which is where aquatic acrobatics started to take off. With continued river related deaths occurring, various swimming pools were built, including The Maidstone Swimming Club, established in 1844 in Maidstone, Kent, which stands proudly as one of Britain’s oldest surviving swimming clubs. Its noble mission was to teach people to swim and prevent drowning incidents.


Swimming Pool Facilities under pressure

Whilst it is fun to remember where we have come from in the humble swimming pool’s history, it is what is currently happening in our day and age that is threatening the swimming pool’s fantastic vision;

The rising energy crisis in the United Kingdom has over the years had a significant impact on the country’s infrastructure, and the leisure industry has not been immune to this effect. One of the leisure industries most impacted by the energy crisis is the swimming pool industry, with many swimming pool facilities struggling to stay open due to increased energy costs.

Leading organisations from the physical activity sector and local government have come together asking the government for more support for grassroots sport and physical activity.

It is feared that without specific support for these services in the Energy Bills Discount Scheme, it could cause many swimming pool facilities to close across the UK.

This could then have a wider negative physical, mental and emotional impact on millions of people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.


Swimming is a vital life skill

It is well documented that swimming is one of the most important exercises for overall physical health and mental well being, but most importantly it is a vital life skill, one that every child should learn and have access to learn. Just this week there was another unfortunate drowning of a child in an English swimming pool. 1 of 5 childhood deaths is still caused by drowning, a very sad and completely preventable statistic.

The Chief Medical Officer in the UK says children should do around 60 minutes of exercise a day. Swimming makes up a vital component of this requirement, especially seeing as schools are required to provide swimming lessons in either Key Stage 1 of Key Stage 2 as part of the National Curriculum.

The aim is that all children should be able to swim 25m confidently by the time they leave primary school.

But with more and more swimming pools closing, it’s becoming harder to access swimming lessons to learn this vital life skill.

In the summer of 2022 the BBC found that between 2019 and 2022, one in six local authorities had seen at least one pool close, on either a permanent or temporary basis.

Swim England estimates that around 1 in 4 children currently leave primary school unable to swim 25m. That number is expected to rise to as many as 6 in 10 by 2025.


But there is hope!

It is not all doom and gloom though. There are many entities that are fighting to make swimming accessible to our children. If you are a Lambeth local, here’s a great deal for you: all Lambeth children under 11 years of age can swim for free during general swim sessions at Active Lambeth leisure centres. And if you are not, do check out your local council to see what they are offering in ways of swimming.

We at Cindy’s really do care about our community and providing opportunities to all those whom we share our community with, and are really excited about doing our bit to make swimming more accessible to our communities.

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