May 16, 2018

Young Fife swimmers celebrate with Olympic and Commonwealth athlete Duncan Scott

Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallist Duncan Scott joined children from across Fife today (Wednesday 16 May) to celebrate the success and expansion of Fife Sports and Leisure Trust’s Learn to Swim programme, delivered in partnership with Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water.

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust – the region’s leading provider of sports and leisure services – launched the national framework in 2016 and delivers the Learn to Swim programme in 9 of its swimming pools – it now has over 6,000 participants benefiting from swimming classes.

Katie Pake, age 10, presents Duncan Scott with a birthday card

Gathering at Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre, Glenrothes, the trust invited 100 children from Coaltown Primary School, Rimbleton Primary School and pre-school children already enrolled in the Learn to Swim programme, to take to the water with the Olympic athlete then join him poolside to ask questions about his swimming career.

Following his recent success at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, Duncan was pleased to see so many Fife youngsters having fun in the water and developing their swimming skills. Having recently celebrated his 21st Birthday Duncan was also rewarded with a rendition of Happy Birthday from some of the younger children.

Duncan Commented:

“Swimming is a life skill and you can start swimming before you start school. It’s great to see so many children learning to swim at a really young age and having fun at the same time – which is what it’s all about at this age!”

Hosting the event, Scott Urquhart, operations manager for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, said “The trust has a long legacy of delivering swimming lessons but has strengthened its programme following the launch of the Learn to Swim programme two years ago in partnership with Scottish Swimming.

“The event today is a celebration of the success of the programme, as well as the trust’s own aquatic strategy, which are both designed to support swimmers of all abilities and ages to develop their swimming skills so that they can achieve success – whether that’s being confident in the water and learning a lifelong skill, or, going on to club level.

“Duncan is an inspirational athlete and we are very grateful to him for coming along today and giving the swimmers an unforgettable experience.”

Ritchie Campbell, chair Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, Duncan Scott, Cllr Judy Hamilton cut the Learn to Swim celebration cake

With an estimated 40 per cent of children still unable to swim by the time they leave primary school, there has never been a more crucial time to roll out Scottish Swimming’s National Framework for Swimming in Scotland. The Framework highlights the importance of swimming from an early an age as possible as the first seven years are the most influential in establishing good exercise habits and setting foundations for learning throughout life.

Establishing a good relationship with water at an early age helps encourage lifelong participation. What is more, the new Framework makes learning fun and it encourages children to take the next steps on the swimmer pathway in to club swimming.

The National Learn to Swim Framework is being partnered by Scottish Water to ensure it can be rolled out to 100,000 children learning to swim in leisure trusts across Scotland.

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs for Scottish Water, said:
“We’re incredibly proud to partner the Learn the Swim programme, working closely with Scottish Swimming and Duncan Scott as our ambassador to encourage children and young people into the country’s swimming pools.”

“Learning to swim is such an important safety skill and it’s vital the basics are learned at an early age. Safety both around and in the water is the paramount reason we’re involved in the partnership with Scottish Swimming. Duncan’s achievements at the Commonwealth Games were historic – we hope the same level of success can be achieved in getting 100,000 children following in his wave and learning to swim.”

Ally Whike, Director of Performance commented:

“Learning to Swim is an essential life skill. By getting the fundamentals right at as early an age as possible,  by developing a love for the sport and by progressing through achievable steps on the aquatic pathway, children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds are opened up to a range of opportunities. Swimming is a sport for all and a sport for life. While some children will progress into performance through the aquatic pathway; others will enjoy the fun, fitness and friendship that comes with a high participation sport.”

For more information on our Learn to Swim programme please ask at your local leisure centre reception or visit our Swimming Section

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