Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Amateur Swimming Association
1. Much was made of the need for a strategic
approach in evidence. The Committee would appreciate sight of
the ASA's national strategy for the development of the sport as
agreed with Sport England.
2. Is the current structure of the ASA
capable of supporting a nationwide swimming strategy?
3. Sport England state in their memorandum
that there is "limited need for additional swimming pools
in England, based on participation levels" does the ASA agree
with this? What is the ASA doing to raise participation levels,
and to publicise the benefits of swimming as a sport and as healthy
exercise? Is it the case as discussed by Duncan Goodhew, that
there is a chicken and egg situation, that greater participation
would follow an improvement of the current facilities?
4. The DCMS state in their memorandum
that "it is for local authorities to ensure that spatial
development plans and local sports development policies reflect
the importance of swimming and set aside sufficient investment
to improve or, if necessary, to replace existing facilities".
Do the ASA think that local authorities will be able to cope with
the estimated £10 billion bill necessary to update England's
facilities, without dedicated central government funding or more
5. How successfully does the Learn to
Swim programme function outside swimming clubs?
6. How does the ASA mediate between local
clubs who have to fight over water space at one pool?
Many thanks for all the hard work which you
and your colleagues put into the organisation and the help which
you provided to me and my colleagues at our first attendance at
a Select Committee meeting.
The ASA welcomed the opportunity to meet with
the Select Committee, we were impressed by the interest and support
which the Committee members showed in the sport of swimming and
we hope our comments were helpful.
To assist the Committee I enclose the following
1. A copy of the British Swimming and ASA
Business Plans [not printed] which you will see are four
year rolling business plans, reviewed annually and re-cast annually
where you will see that there is a strategic approach to our work
with appropriate objectives and performance indicators. I will
send under separate cover a draft copy of our facility strategy
which is currently being printed by Sport England.
2. The ASA structure is capable of delivering
the current business plan. However our ability to deliver a strong
swimming strategy would be enhanced with more development officers
on the ground. We currently employ nine Regional Development Officersone
for each government region. This compares with 75 development
officers in rugby and around 50 in tennis. Given the size of swimming
and its popularity we would wish to have development officers
in every county in the country working through a network of professional
We have established that with 35 development
officers and around 60 professional coaches we really could make
a significant difference.
3. We believe that there is still a case
to provide additional swimming pools in England. Experience has
shown that when a new facility is provided that the customers
utilising the facility has exceeded expectations. We would share
the concerns which others expressed at the Select Committee meeting
on the accuracy of the facility plan model currently used by Sport
England to predict demand. We would provide as an example the
new pool in Manchester for the Commonwealth Games where attendance
in the first year has been 750,000 whilst six miles away an established
50 metre pool at Stockport continues to have an attendance of
500,000, clearly demonstrating that there is patent demand for
swimming within the community which has articulated by a number
of witnesses to the Select Committee.
The ASA recognises its role in raising participation
levels and we are beginning to work on a new projectSwimFitin
conjunction with the ISRM to encourage fitness swimming for the
adult population. Our equity programme is also targeted at encouraging
those socially excluded and not traditional swimmers into swimming.
As a sport we are also working through local authorities to develop
swimming strategies which market swimming to the community as
4. The ASA continues to believe that local
authorities and local education authorities need to develop strategic
plans for sport within which there is a strategic swimming plan.
We believe that by adopting this approach facility requirements
for the future will be identified. The ASA's view is that to bring
English swimming facilities up-to-date will require an investment
of £2 billion. Broadly we believe that this investment can
be delivered by local authorities. There is however a role for
facilities particularly to service schools in order to deliver
schools swimming, where clusters of schools exist such facilities
could also compliment community provision. There is an increasing
opportunity also for universities to make provision and again
compliment the community provision.
A further point which we would make is that
there is a desperate need for a strategic approach within London
where the very nature of local government is holding back the
provision of sports facilities and in particular 50 metre pools
and community swimming pools.
5. The Learn to Swim programme is essentially
driven through the schools swimming programme however, as the
Ofsted Report has already remarked, whilst that is delivering
some good opportunities it does not serve those in the community
who can be described as socially excluded. This is an issue which
we are working on with the DfES. In addition many local authorities
are delivering a learn to swim programme for their communities,
and many follow our National Plan for Teaching Swimming, a copy
of which will be sent to you under separate cover. To ensure that
the quality of teaching is appropriate, the ASA trains 12,000
swimming teachers every year.
6. The ASA has adopted a club development
programme entitled Swim 21 which is essentially a planning process
which helps local clubs to identify their role within the swimming
community. This process encourages clubs to engage in working
together in partnership and has been widely accepted within the
sport and helps clubs to work with local authorities, schools
and pool operators in maintaining their activities and largely
overcomes the problems we experienced previously of local turf
wars over pool time. I will send details of the Swim 21 programme
under separate cover.
6 December 2001