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Swimming faces a diversity challenge, according to new report

December 21, 2021

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New research has found that the majority of the UK’s swimming teachers feel that swimming excludes some groups and communities. The findings were released by the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) and ukactive, showing that only 51% of the current workforce feels that there is diversity in swimming.

Swimming teachers felt that people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, some religious groups, ethnically diverse communities, and people with disabilities were excluded, in particular. The Inclusion in the swimming industry report went on to add that less than 60% (57.9%) felt that swimming was an inclusive sport.

This finding may be a result of instances for professional athletes too. Most notably, Team GB swimmer Alice Dearing was banned from wearing a Soul Cap at the Tokyo Olympics. The cap was rejected on the grounds that it was not naturally shaped, despite it having been designed to make the sport more inclusive for black female athletes.

The research did find that the attitudes amongst the workforce were particularly favourable. 85% of swim coaches felt positive about inclusion and were similarly committed to learning more about it. Just over half (55%) of swimming teachers felt supported with this goal.

In response, STA CEO Dave Candler said:

“STA is deeply committed to promoting diversity, equality, and inclusivity in grassroots swimming. This study was important for us to understand perceptions, incentives, and motivations within the swimming teaching community – and how as an organisation we can represent and support the industry at this time of increased introspection.”

To find out more, see here.

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