Worksop family delighted to get back in the pool as lockdown restrictions are lifted
A family of keen swimmers from Worksop are among more than two million youngsters who have missed out on the chance to go swimming due to the coronavirus pandemic.
New data released by Swim England has revealed a stall in swimming time has resulted in almost a quarter of a million more children being unable to swim the length of a standard swimming pool.
The statistics show that more than five million swimming sessions, the vast majority being swimming lessons, were lost following the closure of public pools for the first time on March 20, 2020.
That has already led to an additional 240,000 missing out on learning how to swim 25m and 50,000 fewer children now being able to perform a safe self-rescue.
So returning to their local swimming pool, Worksop Leisure Cente, could not come soon enough for brothers Ethan and Jonah Gilham.
The Gilham family are all keen swimmers with the boys following in the footsteps of mum and dad Grace and Rich as members of Worksop Dolphins.
Rich said: "Swimming is a life skill because water safety is so important. When you're around water near rivers, lakes or enjoying the sea on holiday, it's really important to be safe around those environments.
"It's a concern that a basic skill learned at a young age has been missing during the pandemic, so I'd encourage people to try to get their kids back into the water now pools have re-opened.”
Mum Grace has also noticed the effects of lockdown on her children’s swimming.
She said: "I think our boys now realise the importance of being able to swim now they're back in the water. Jonah is seven and when the pool was closed for so long it affected his confidence and he was nervous about getting back in. He definitely suffered and I noticed the difference having time off from swimming."
Following the re-opening of indoor pools last month, Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, urged families to recognise swimming as an essential life skill for children.
She said: “Swimming is a fantastic way for children and young people to be active and reap both physical and mental health benefits.
“However, being able to swim and stay safe in the water is also an invaluable life skill."