Swim England CEO Nickerson Warns That Aquatic Sports Are ‘Fighting For Survival’

Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson says aquatic sports are “fighting for survival” after the Government announced a £300million (400million US dollars) winter package for sports which have lost spectator income because of Covid-19.

The funding, which will largely be composed of loans, will be shared among 11 sports – from national governing bodies through to clubs – that will be most severely impacted over the winter as a result of the ongoing impact of coronavirus restrictions.

Rugby union tops the list with an injection of £135million (180million US dollars) followed by horse racing (£40million) through to greyhound racing which is being offered £1million (1.38million US dollars).

Jane Nickerson

Photo Courtesy: Jane Nickerson Twitter

While Nickerson welcomed the support, she reiterated her call for investment in activities not benefiting from the fund, saying:

“It’s encouraging to see support being provided for those organisations who have lost their major spectator income in order to protect their immediate futures over the winter period.

“Now what I would like to see is any further Government investment focused on sports that have missed out on this package but have also been severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions.

“Our work as a national governing body is vast but with around 80 per cent of our income self-generated, we have seen a huge reduction in our finances due to the pandemic.

“The grassroots of our sport, including the 1,000-plus aquatic clubs across England, also need support having lost the majority of their income – including valuable income from their own events since March.

“There is no doubt that we are fighting for survival, both as an organisation and a sector, and therefore it would have been a lifeline to have been part of the announcement.”

Swim England

Photo Courtesy: Swim England Twitter

Nickerson added:

“While we may not be classed as a major spectator sport, swimming is one of the biggest participation sports with 14 million adults swimming in 2019.

“The physical and mental health benefits of aquatic activity are worth more than £357 million a year to the NHS and social care system alone.

“It’s clear that swimming and aquatic exercise is vitally important to millions and can help people live longer, better and happier lives.

“Increased investment is necessary to ensure this remains the case.

“Without pools, without clubs, without our sport, the nation’s long-term health is at risk, children will not learn a vital life skill and talented athletes in all our aquatic disciplines will not have the opportunity to reach their potential.”


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