Ruta Meilutyte and Ben Proud, two of the biggest names in Plymouth sports, have joined forces with three national team divers and the city to ensure that each child in the community learns to swim.
Meilutyte, the Olympic and World Champion, feels that it is a skill that all children should learn both for safety and for fun, “As Plymouth is next to the sea, being able to swim is really important, not only is it a great life skill it’s also brilliant fun,” Meilutyte told the Plymouth Herald.
“I learnt to swim when I was seven and have enjoyed swimming ever since. I’d really encourage anyone who isn’t confident to give swimming another try.”
In the Plymouth school system there is an intensive swim program for children seven to 11, but up to 40% of children do not end up learning how to swim. Because of that fact the Plymouth city counsel has developed a program called ‘Second Chance to Swim’.
Councillor Sue McDonald, cabinet member for Children, Young People and Public Health said: “I’m delighted that, as Britain’s Ocean City, we can now make sure every child has another chance to learn to swim in Plymouth,” McDonald to the Plymouth
Herald.“Learning to swim is an essential life skill and is important for both safety and health reasons.”
“We are surrounded by water so the ability to swim out of danger can be a life saver.”
Commonwealth Games champion Ben Proud expressed his love for the sport and his desire to see others develop the same passion, “I spent most of childhood swimming and it was such fun. Swimming is great and anyone can learn to do it, if you just it try.”
Tonia Couch, Sara Borrow and Rhea Gayle are the three divers who have also given their support to the program.