Swim England’s warning that 2,000 pools could be lost is a grave concern - The Yorkshire Post says

Learning to swim, like riding a bike, is one of those memories that can stick with a person for the rest of their life.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

Nostalgic though it is, and in addition to the joy that can be experienced from taking part in swimming, this particular skill boasts something more essential – it can be life-saving.

In that sense, Swim England’s warning that 2,000 pools could be lost forever by the end of the decade unless the Government and local authorities act now to replace or refurbish ageing sites is a grave one.

Its A Decade of Decline: The Future of Swimming Pools in England report says that this reduction in facilities – based on pools which were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s and are coming to the end of their lifespan – could threaten the future of aquatic sports in some areas and leave millions shut out of activities they love by 2030.

Consequently it is joining calls for a huge funding boost into public leisure facilities to help refurbish ageing pools and build new ones.

Only last month The Yorkshire Post reported that the region is at risk of becoming a “swimming pool desert”, having just half of the public pool space of the South East.

It is easy to see how primary schools will in future struggle to fulfil the National Curriculum requirement for swimming lessons should facilities continue to dwindle.

But a summer of success in sports should act as a point of persuasion.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Leeds’s Matty Lee took home the gold medal in the synchronised diving alongside partner Tom Daley. Adam Peaty became the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title in the final of the men’s 100 metres breaststroke, then held his Race Clinic for young swimmers in Harrogate a month later.

Their drive and initiative should be heeded by those with the power to keep pools open for all.