‘It’s a life skill’: Swimming champs fight to save public pools

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Triple Olympic champion Adam, 27, five times Paralympics champion Ellie, 27, and Michael, 28, are shocked that one child in four leaves primary school unable to swim. And last week, it emerged more than 60 UK public pools have shut down in the last three years.

Research has also shown ethnic minority youngsters are less likely to be water competent.

The stars’ call for ring-fenced pool cash is backed by Swim England, equipment firm Speedo and the Black Swimming Association. Last night, more than 47,000 people signed a petition, launched by Speedo’s Swim United campaigning arm, urging ministers to act.

Adam said “Swimming is a fundamental life skill. If kids aren’t being given access to lessons, they could potentially be left behind.”

Ellie said: “Swimming is not only enjoyable and rewarding, but a genuinely life-saving skill.”

Kent-born Michael added: “The majority of children who can’t swim are from ethnic minority communities. This really needs to change.”

The Government said it invested £100million in the National Leisure Centre Recovery Fund, which “secured the survival and reopening of more than 1,100 pools”.

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