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Olympian learned to swim because his 'dad couldn't'

Former six times world champion swimmer Mark Foster has told Daybreak he learnt to swim because his father was "petrified of water".

He said: "It was safety reasons, first and foremost. My father at the age of 11 got thrown in the lake and was petrified of water, [he] still can't swim."

He added: "I think if you are a family, sitting round a poolside, constantly looking over your shoulder, how do you relax when you know your child can't swim and how does your child enjoy itself?"

Parents 'have a role to play' to encourage kids to swim

Jon Glenn from the Amateur Swimming Association said "parents have a role to play as well" as the schools, when encouraging children to learn to swim.

He said: "If families do not swim, it is unlikely that you will take your families swimming as well because you feel uncomfortable, nervous in and around the water, so starting at an early age is really important.

"Once they've learnt those basic skills once you get to school and you have those lessons you can really pick up the strokes a lot quicker."

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ASA: Every child 'should have the right to swim'

David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the Amateur Swimming Association has said every child should have the right to swim. He said:

Every child should have the right and opportunity to learn to swim to help achieve a fitter, healthier and perhaps above all a safer generation of young people.

I am delighted that His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge supports this vision and has provided support to our campaign.

Half of children aged 7 to 11 cannot swim 25 metres

The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) has joined forces with the Duke of Cambridge to make swimming more accessible for children at primary schools. A report from the Association found:

  • Half of children aged between 7 and 11 cannot swim the length of a typical swimming pool (25 metres) unaided, despite swimming being a compulsory element of the national curriculum
  • This means 1.1 million children are unable to be safe in and around water

Source: The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA)

Prince William backs national swimming campaign

Prince William has recorded a video message outlining importance of teaching children to swim.

It follows a report by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) which shows more than half of children aged 7-11 years cannot swim 25 metres unaided.

"Swimming has always been important to me," the Duke of Cambridge said. "Swimming is unique, it is the only sport that can save lives, which is why I'm so keen for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools."

He added: "The ability to swim changes lives, it brings huge joy and it can keep us fit and healthy. But above all, it can keep us safe, which is why I'm pleased to lend my support to this campaign."

Armstrong withdraws from swimming event

US Masters Swimming Executive Director Rob Butcher confirmed that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has pulled out three events he was scheduled to appear in this weekend.

Butcher told the Associated Press that the change of heart was likely caused by objections raised by FINA, the international governing body for swimming.

He doesn't want to cause any more harm to any more organisations. His interest was around fitness and training. In light of FINA and the other political stuff, he will not be swimming.

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Swimming body slams Armstrong competition bid

FINA, the international governing body for swimming, has written to the US Masters Swimming to advise them to reject Lance Armstrong's entry to take part in a competition scheduled this weekend.

The disgraced cyclist was planning to use the small low-profile event in Austin, Texas, to make a return to competitive sport.

Read: Lance Armstrong set to return to sport as a swimmer

The competition falls under the jurisdiction of the US Masters Swimming. In a statement, the governing body said:

FINA wrote a letter to the US Masters Swimming (with copy to US Aquatic Sports and USA Swimming) requesting not to accept the entry of Mr. Lance Armstrong in the [...] competition.

Armstrong to race against middle-aged swimmers

Lance Armstrong's return to competitive sport this weekend will be against veteran swimmers, a Texas newspaper reported.

Most competitors in the US Masters Swimming event entered by Armstrong will be older than the 41-year-old cyclist, the Austin American-Statesman said.

Lance Armstrong is banned for life from competing in most high profile sport Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Armstrong is banned for life from all competitions that adhere to world anti-doping codes, but is allowed to take part in the low-profile Austin swimming event.

US Masters Swimming executive director Rob Butcher said nobody had raised formal objections to Armstrong competing.

Butcher added: "The purpose of our organisation is to encourage adults to swim."

Lance Armstrong set for return to sport as a swimmer

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year Credit: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

Lance Armstrong is planning to make a return to competitive sport as a swimmer this weekend.

The disgraced American cyclist is entered for the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships, which takes place at the University of Texas.

Armstrong is set to compete in freestyle races over 500 yards, 1,000 yards and 1,650 yards at the event in his home city of Austin.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year for being part of a doping scandal.

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