New 10-year strategic vision Access Aquatics unveiled by Swim England

Swim England has unveiled its strategic vision for the next decade as it aims to champion a healthy and successful nation through swimming.

Access Aquatics sets out the national governing body’s key priorities to remove the barriers to participation and ensure its sports and activities are ‘accessible, inclusive and safe for everyone’


It recognises the ‘chronic challenges’ facing the sector which is threatening one of the ‘nation’s greatest assets’ and how it plans to work with partners to tackle inequalities and ensure Access to Aquatics for all.

The strategy focuses Swim England’s work up until 2033 under three areas – capability, people and water.



Capability’s guiding objectives aims to see a rise in the number of children leaving primary school able to swim and a reduction in the current inequalities in attainment levels, increase the total of Water Wellbeing accredited sites, grow the number of Swim England members and guarantee there is a network of financially-robust clubs with the structure and partnerships in place to support their long-term future.

In addition, capability also focuses on a talent system for all sports which promotes medal success and proactively engages and encourages participants with high potential from diverse backgrounds – and ensure that Swim England’s senior national teams become increasingly representative of the community.




The People focus will aim to understand the barriers which prevent diverse communities from taking part in aquatic activity, increase the proportion of under-represented groups in both participation and the workforce as well as ensuring high standards of safeguarding and welfare are embedded across all Swim England’s affiliated or associated organisations.




Water’s target is to collaborate with partners to campaign and advocate for the provision of enough safe and sustainable facilities and access to open water to support all aquatic activities.


Jane Nickerson, Swim England CEO, has hailed the importance of the national governing body’s new 10-year strategy, Access Aquatics:

"To be successful in any aspect of life requires a number of important characteristics.

"Commitment, aspiration, perseverance, passion, desire, determination, patience and a willingness to listen and learn in a bid to improve are just a few of the key traits which are shown by triumphant individuals and teams at all levels of sport.

"I believe all of these attributes are firmly embedded in our new 10-year strategic vision, Access Aquatics. It shows a commitment to bring positive change to one of the nation’s most popular – and important – recreational activities.

"The ability to swim is a life skill no-one should be without and which opens up the door to so many possibilities – whether that’s as a recreational swimmer wanting to use the pool for their physical or mental health or youngsters aspiring to be an Olympic champion.

"Everyone at Swim England is passionate about championing a healthy and successful nation through aquatic activity.

"We will persevere in our mission to tackle the inequalities to participation and remove the barriers which prevent too many people and communities from taking part in our wonderful sports.

Key Priority Areas

"This includes a desire to increase the number of participants from under-represented communities in our senior national teams across swimming, diving, artistic swimming and water polo.

"We are determined to ensure that everyone has great, positive experiences – and in the past, we recognise this hasn’t always been the case.

"However, we are taking action to improve by listening to our clubs, members, coaches, teachers, administrators, volunteers and parents to ensure there is a positive and welcoming culture at all levels.

"Our aspirations are clear for all to see though our three key priority areas – Capability, People and Water.

"Existing clubs, members, counties, regions, stakeholders and partners will help to bring Access Aquatics to life.

"We are delighted to unveil our new strategy which we believe will help tackle the many different challenges facing our sports over the next 10 years. A key element will be removing the barriers to participation as we aim to make aquatic activity even more safe, inclusive and accessible. We’re at the beginning of our journey but our goal is to drive meaningful change and ensure everyone has access to one of the nation’s greatest assets."

Swim England's Approach

The three strategic priorities will be underpinned by four immediate areas of action which will lay the foundations for the successful delivery of Access Aquatics.

This includes implementing Swim England’s safeguarding, welfare and culture plan, Heart of Aquatics, developing new partnerships to make its sports and activities more inclusive, upgrading its digital presence and ensuring best practices are followed in it governance systems and processes.



We will make choices that enable us to focus on delivering impact. We will challenge ourselves to ensure all our activity is taking us towards delivering Access Aquatics.


Advocacy and Influencing


We can have a powerful voice but we recognise our voice is much stronger when we work in alignment with our partners. We will use our position to co-ordinate and magnify the voice of the sector, promoting aquatics and lobbying for change at both the national and local level.


A Learning Organisation


We will take a ‘test and learn’ approach to our work, gathering robust data to help define the problems we are addressing, measure our progress and empower our partners.


Focus and Alignment


We will make choices that enable us to focus on delivering impact. We will challenge ourselves to ensure all our activity is taking us towards delivering Access Aquatics.


Jane Nickerson added: "Although we will need to remain patient as it will take time to achieve all of our goals, we have the desire to deliver for everyone involved in aquatics – from the recreational swimmer who relies on the pool for their mental and physical wellbeing, to our clubs and members who are devoted to our sports as well as the elite athletes bidding for Olympic glory.

"We know, though, that actions speak louder than words.

"That’s why we have identified four key areas that can make a huge impact and immediate actions which will lay the foundations to realise this vision and underpin the successful delivery of the overall strategy.

"By focusing our efforts, and working collaboratively with our partners and stakeholders, we can open up Access to Aquatics for all."

Quotes from some Swim England partners

Local Government Association


“Local Government is the largest investor in public leisure facilities up and down the country because councils recognise the important role they play in our communities, helping people to be healthier, happier and socially connected. We share the ambitions in Swim England’s Access Aquatics strategy for a network of sustainable facilities that meet the needs of everyone in our communities and we look forward to working with Swim England on this issue.”

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson


Muslim Sports Foundation


“It’s great to see that Swim England’s new strategy, Access Aquatics, has making swimming more accessible and inclusive at its very heart. At Muslim Sports Foundation, we share the ambition for everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of the water. We look forward to continuing to work with Swim England to remove barriers towards participation for communities we represent to ensure that everyone can access aquatics.”

Sahiba Majeed


Everyone Active


“Everyone Active want everyone to be able to enjoy the water. Over 175,000 people learn to swim each week at our pools and we’re committed to working with Swim England on tackling the existing inequalities so that every child has the opportunity to learn this valuable life skill.”

J Tillman


Download Swim England's strategy

Print Print
Acrobat PDF
RSS RSS Headlines

12:43:00 19.05.2023
comments powered by Disqus