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."
More top news
Scientists believe 400,000 cases of womb cancer have been avoided over the last 50 years by women taking the contraceptive pill.
Tony Blair could be made to stand trial for war crimes over the invasion of Iraq, Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The number of fines handed out to hauliers found carrying illegal immigrants into the UK has more than tripled in the last three years.