Survey: Nine million adults in England unable to swim

A survey has found more than nine million adults in England cannot swim. Credit: Ralf Hirschberger / DPA Germany

More than nine million adults in England are unable to swim, according to a survey released by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).

The study found that 20% of men and 22% of women aged over 14 in England cannot swim, with the highest number of non-swimmers aged above 65.

The report, which also suggested that 2.13 million adults want to learn to swim, calls on policy makers to ensure swimming is accessible to all.

Our manifesto calls on political parties to support the ASA in our three aims of ensuring more people have the opportunity to learn to swim, encouraging more people to swim regularly and supporting the development of emerging talent to compete on the world stage.

Edward Lord, chair of the ASA group board

The report also showed that swimming is the most popular participation sport in England, with more than 2.6 million adults doing 30 minutes of swimming at least once a week.

ASA chief executive Adam Paker said many adults suffer later in life after missing out on learning to swim at school.

He said: "There are many reasons why people may not feel confident in the water or are nervous about going to a pool, so we are working closely with community groups and local partners to identify and break down these barriers, and encourage the millions of adults who want to become a better swimmer to do so."