The ASA has today released statistics showing that over nine million adults in England are unable to swim.
The survey, commissioned by the national governing body, reveals that 22 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men aged over 14 are unable to swim.
However, the statistics also show that 2.13 million adults have a desire to learn, reiterating the popularity of swimming and the importance of continuing to work with individuals and local communities to break down barriers and encourage people to learn to swim.
The findings have been released as the ASA launches its Manifesto for Aquatics 2015 which sets out the organisation’s key aims over the next five years and underlines the importance of swimming and aquatics as a way of staying active and healthy.
ASA Chief Executive, Adam Paker, said: “The statistics released today show there is a great desire for people who missed out on learning to swim while at school to get in the water and take advantage of all the social and health benefits that swimming provides.
“ASA adult swimming sessions are held at sites across the country and each year over a thousand adults take part in our swimming programmes which are aimed at helping people to learn, or improve, their swimming no matter what their age or background.
“There are many reasons why people may not feel confident in the water or are nervous about going to a pool, so we are working closely with community groups and local partners to identify and breakdown these barriers and encourage the millions of adults who want to become a better swimmer to do so.”
The statistics have been released as the ASA launches its Manifesto for Aquatics which calls on policy makers to work with the ASA to ensure swimming as a leisure activity and sport remains accessible to all.
Chair of the ASA Group Board, Edward Lord, said: “Our Manifesto calls on political parties to support the ASA in our three aims of ensuring more people have the opportunity to learn to swim, encouraging more people to swim regularly, and supporting the development of emerging talent to compete on the world stage.
“We have a great England Talent Programme and Club network, and we are working closely with pool operators and partners to develop local aquatic projects that encourage more people to take to the water.
“But we also need the support of local and national policy makers to help ensure good quality, affordable, aquatic facilities remain available to all. That’s why our Manifesto calls on politicians, officials and industry leaders to work with us to support and grow the only sport that saves lives.”
Swimming is the most popular participation sport in England with over 2.6 million adults taking part in 30 minutes of moderate intensity swimming at least once a week. Additionally, many more children and adults regularly take part in swimming activities such as mini water polo and aquafit sessions, or swim for relaxation or rehabilitation purposes.