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The Newham Recorder reports:

Swim England and nine partners are bidding to reconnect families by swapping screens for swimming in the Love Swimming initiative.

In the digital age, children are spending a great deal of time on their screens and, at a time when we are never more connected to the world via the internet, families have revealed they have never felt more disconnected within the family unit.

With the release of an impactful film featuring a real family, the Roberts, and illustrating ‘Because their console doesn’t work underwater’, Swim England and nine partners from the swimming sector are driving home the message that real-world connection has significant advantages over digital immersion, with the pool providing a complete escape from the digital world – one of the few places where families cannot take a console compared to other family activities.

The swimming industry is encouraging people across the country to get off their screens and back into family fun by putting aside technology once a week and instead visiting their local pool to enjoy spending time together, being active and reconnecting in the real world.

In a 2017 OnePoll survey, almost nine in 10 people agreed gadgets get in the way of spending quality family time together, with families only spending 36 minutes together on an average weekday.

Seven out of 10 parents even recognised there are times when they could be spending time with their children, but are busy playing on their phone or tablet instead.

Ofcom’s 2017 Annual Report announced the internet has overtaken television as the top media pastime for British children, who are now spending 15 hours a week online, while the Children’s Commissioner is encouraging parents to give children time to switch off and get moving.

Love Swimming is aimed at the one-third of people for whom, according to Ofcom, there is ’general acceptance’ of families sitting in the same room but all on different screens and gadgets to watch a TV show, catch up on social media or play a game.

Reading this its hard to imagine that Britain was once a nation of hardy swimmers. Discover the history of swimming and British culture at: Hung Out to Dry…

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The Liverpool Echo reports: A plan to create a stunning outdoor city swimming pool could still go ahead – despite Liverpool missing out on the Commonwealth Games .

But the public facility may not be built in the city centre docks as was previously suggested.

As part of the city’s ambitious bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, plans were put forward to create a huge 5,000-seat swimming arena in one of the docks near the Albert Dock.

The idea was that the pool and surrounding deck would float in the dock while stands and a roof would be built above it.

Spectators would have stunning views over Mann Island and the Pier Head.

If the games bid had been successful, the venue would have hosted the swimming events – before the stands would be removed and the pool would open to the public as a city centre “lido.”

But speaking at today’s council cabinet meeting, Mayor Joe Anderson said the failed games bid does not mean that the pool plan will not go ahead.

“We have talked in the office about the lido and whether we still have that out there in the Docks or whether we have it at the Garden Festival site – we will look at doing something.”

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The Medical Express reports: Keeping young children away from perceived risky activities such as wild outdoor swimming is damaging, according to education expert Dr Sandra Leaton Gray (UCL Institute of Education).

Writing in her book ‘Invisibly Blighted: the digital erosion of childhood’ Leaton Gray says, “Heavily supervised young children of today may simply be more likely to drown as youths because they don’t go swimming very often and their water safety awareness is low, compared to that of children who swim frequently under less supervision.”

She will present her paper, ‘How risky is it to be a child?’ at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference this week.

Austerity measures and budget cuts will see regular swimmers gradually excluded from Leicester City’s swimming pools.

Aylestone Swimming Baths 1949

Ayleston Swimming Baths

Andrew Beddow; head of Sports Services at Leicester City Council, has implemented a raft of measures that will have a lasting impact on the sport in Leicester.

Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts in a consultation process but in essence the future course for city swimmers has already been plotted.

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Leicester Bede House Bathing Station

From today the general public are excluded from Aylestone swimming baths between 4 and 6 pm; essentially to save money on lifeguards. This has until now been a popular time for swimming at the pool, but from today family’s will only be able to swim between 6 – 7 pm. If this fails to attract sufficient numbers then even this brief concession could be axed in the future. The 4 – 6 pm slot will be devoted to the learn to swim program said Mr Beddow (in a forty minute discussion), so that the Council can make more money from the pool, but as swimming lessons are currently under subscribed, the claim that excluding the general public will enrich the Council doesn’t hold water. A failure to ensure that all swimmers paid their dues (many family’s took a free swim whilst one of their children had lessons) has meant that on paper at least, the pool did not appear as popular as it in fact was.

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Pool to Close – Exciting Changes?

Several other pools in the city will be affected, with New Parks swimming pool being most likely the next victim of the cuts. As the lions share of new funding is being spent on gym equipment, the public may well be excluded from this pool altogether with school swimming lessons, Council run swimming lessons after school and swimming club sessions (with lifeguard cover provided available at an additional fee) early in the new year.

Although these developments are described as “exciting changes to our membership” (see above), what will be the effect on swimmers? Members could well be excluded from the pool!

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Leicester Leys Leisure Centre

Swimmers are being encouraged to swim at Braunstone pool (which is very busy already) or at Leicester Leys Leisure Center (fun pool) which is very popular and turns swimmers away at certain times because the pool is full. Until now the fun pool has not been classified as a swimming pool, but from today, those purchasing a swim pass will find that the fun pool has been reinvented as a swimming pool in an effort to soften the blow that the City swimming restrictions will inflict on the sport.

Those learning to swim at City pools prior to September 1, 2017 have been encouraged to use any of the City’s pools for free as often as they desired in an effort to boost their swimming proficiency. From today even such students will be excluded from Ayelstone pool, just as soon as their lesson is over, with other pools seeing restrictions in the New Year.  They can of course go home and come back later, or travel across the city to another pool for a swim after their lesson, but realistically I can’t see that happening.

On one hand the Council are working to retain all the swimming pools in the city, but on the other, by excluding swimmers from the pools they save, Leicester City Council are steering away from sport for all, and are refocusing on sport for profit.

The aim when building these swimming pools was to provide a public amenity, but it seems that such notions are becoming ancient history. Even so, all the blame cannot be left at the Councils door; our changing culture has transformed the way we use swimming pools. At one time children would take themselves swimming, and indeed the free swims at New Parks Pool see children queuing to get in. Children have always made up the greater part of the swimming public, but ever since the Mores Murders shocked the nation, children have had their freedom to roam gradually curtailed. The Council recognise the need  to get more children swimming if they are going to keep their pools open, yet preventing new swimmers from swimming at convenient times and locations will prove counterproductive. Under the new  arrangements those who swim for exercise and pleasure will find themselves gradually squeezed out of the program and ultimately; hung out to dry.

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NO SWIMMING LEICESTER

Will early closing times and swimming restrictions force swimmers back to the river (as has happened in Kettering) from which they were plucked back in the 1970’s? Or will Leicester become a city where you can neither swim outdoors or in? Many may scoff at that question thinking that it could never happen, yet Leicester once stood head and shoulders above other city’s as its swimming champions won gold medals at the Olympic games. Times change, and our river swimming venues are all lost to history. If history repeats itself we could well see swimmers very much restricted over the next few months, even indoors.

Discover the 2,000 year history of swimming in Leicester.

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Thousands Swim at Rutland Water August Bank Holiday 2017

 

 

 

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The Times reports: Children should be encouraged to enjoy “wild” swimming in rivers, lakes and reservoirs to learn about risk, according to an education expert.

Sandra Leaton Gray, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Education, University College London, said young people were being deterred from dipping into waters that were safe by unnecessary “no swimming” signs.

She said the growing aversion to risk was not always backed by accident statistics: “We are banning swimming in more and more places, and by doing so, making it more dangerous for the very young people we are trying to protect.

“Swimming has become an approved activity run by local authorities in special places, which are almost always heavily chlorinated swimming pools, with strict session times.”

There were 17 deaths by drowning of young people aged 10 to 19 in outside waters — including lakes, ponds and rivers — in England in 2015.

Leaton Gray, a keen wild swimmer herself, said supervised swimming in rivers and lakes would help reduce the risk and the numbers of lives lost.

She said: “Young people gather in all sorts of dodgy spots that wild swimmers would never venture into and then start taking serious risks without being properly aware of the consequences.”

Leaton Gray, who is giving a presentation on children and risk at the British Educational Research Association Conference in Brighton this week, said attitudes to swimming reflected a trend of children being given less freedom to roam and take risks than in previous generations.

The Health and Safety Executive has also said that “no children will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool”. It says outdoor play may have some hazards but teaches children how to deal with risk.

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Rutland Water Bathing Beach was full to overflowing yesterday, as bank holiday crowds flocked to enjoy the summer sunshine. Cars queued  on the main road for up to thirty minutes just to enter the park! Toilet and cafe facilities were stretched beyond capacity yet the holiday atmosphere made for a relaxed and very enjoyable day.

Most remarkable is the harmonious mix of nationality’s enjoying the beach. People from around the world  came together to share the joy of outdoor swimming and sandcastle making in an atmosphere of bank holiday companionship.

Is it time Rutland Water opened a second beach? It’s certainly time for more beaches across the country. When it comes to outdoor swimming beaches the message is clear: Build It and they will come!

 

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Chris