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Dramatic drop in number of people swimming

245,000 fewer people took part in swimming last year. Credit: PA

Despite being the country's most popular sport, swimming in England has seen a huge fall in participation numbers over the last year with 245,000 fewer people taking part.

Funding body Sport England says it is 'disappointed and concerned' at swimming's eight per cent drop which has significantly affected overall participation numbers in sport.

There's also been a drop off in participation across all sports. In the year ending October 2014, 125,100 fewer people did some kind of sport once a week for 30 minutes - bringing the overall number down from 15.7million to 15.6million.

Sports minister Helen Grant, said: "I am very concerned by the overall dip in participation over the last 12 months. Sports governing bodies have long argued that they can bring new people to their sport and funding should go via them but some are simply not delivering and it's not good enough."

Swimming remains the country's most popular sport with over 2.6million people taking part weekly despite the drop, which is certain to lead to a funding cut.