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Body image concerns stopping mothers from teaching children to swim

By Rob Gibson    29 Nov 2017
Former Olympic swimmer Becky Adlington welcomed the move to relax swimwear policies so more parents bring their children swimming / Everyone Active
When we looked into the reasons behind the decline in children being taught to swim, we learnt that body image concerns played a big part in preventing people bringing their children to the pool
– Jacqui Tillman, group swim manager, Everyone Active

Swimwear policies have been relaxed at 96 pools across the UK after a survey showed parents were too concerned about their body image to take their children swimming.

A nationwide survey commissioned by operators Everyone Active showed one in two mothers has been put off taking their child swimming due to fear of being seen in a bathing suit.

To tackle the problem, the operator has rewritten its swimwear policy, allowing swimmers to wear tight-fitting garments such as leggings, short and long-sleeved t-shirts and swim dresses.

“When we looked into the reasons behind the decline in children being taught to swim, we learnt that body image concerns played a big part in preventing people bringing their children to the pool,” said Jacqui Tillman, group swim manager at Everyone Active.

“We want to ensure that anyone who visits can swim wearing clothing they feel comfortable in, providing it complies with the safety guidelines.

“We look forward to seeing the positive impact this has on the number of young children learning to swim.”

The rethink was commended by former Olympic swimmer Becky Adlington, whose programme Becky Adlington’s Swim Stars (BASS) runs at Everyone Active pools with the aim of ensuring every child leaves primary school able to swim at least 25 metres.

“As an athlete and a mother, I’m so passionate about getting more children swimming regularly,” said Adlington.

“Some of my best experiences have been through swimming, whether that was enjoying lessons as a child or competing in the Olympics.

“Thanks to this change, hopefully we’ll see more young people having positive experiences in the pool, learning this essential life skill alongside family and friends.”

Earlier this year, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) announced it was relaxing Regulation 411, meaning swimmers who wish to wear full bodysuits for religious belief or medical conditions can compete at ASA national events – a move welcomed by the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation.

The Becky Adlington Swim Stars programme aims to ensure every child leaving primary school can swim at least 25m / Everyone Active
Becky Adlington  swimwear  Everyone Active  Jacqui Tillman  swimming 
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