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18 Nov 2021
Swimming faces a diversity challenge, according to new report
By Tom Walker
Swimming faces a diversity challenge, according to new report
85 per cent of swimmign teachers are committed to learning more about inclusion
Photo: Shutterstock/Wavebreakmedia
A "significant majority" of the UK's swimming teachers and aquatic professionals feel that swimming excludes some groups and communities.

The finding comes from a study by the Swimming Teachers' Association (STA) and ukactive, which sought to examine inclusion across the swimming teaching workforce.

According to the Inclusion in the swimming industry report, swimming teachers feel that those being excluded include those from low socio-economic backgrounds, some religious groups, ethnically diverse communities and people with disabilities.

Only 51 per cent of the workforce feels that there is diversity in swimming, and only 57.9 per cent said swimming was an inclusive sport.

However, the workforce's attitude towards inclusion is hugely favourable – more than four in five (85 per cent) said they feel positive about inclusion, with the same number being "committed to learning more" and 57 per cent feeling they are fully informed about inclusion.

Just over half (55 per cent) of swimming teachers feel that the STA supports them with inclusion.

In response to the findings, STA chief executive, Dave Candler, said: "STA is deeply committed to promoting diversity, equality and inclusivity in grassroots swimming.

"This study was important for us to understand perceptions, incentives, and motivations within the swimming teaching community – and how as an organisation we can represent and support the industry at this time of increased introspection.

"The findings from this study provide important insight for the industry, in understanding inclusion in grassroots swimming.

"Importantly, the study identifies areas for improvement – the crucial elements for furthering the inclusion agenda."

The report is based on research that began in July 2021 and consisted of two main elements – a survey for aquatics professionals and a subsequent focus group (hosted virtually), which was guided by the preliminary findings of the survey results.

To read the full report, click here.

The read HCM's interview with the CEO of the Black Swimming Association, Danielle Obe, click here.

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