Adam Peaty, Ellie Simmonds and Michael Gunning are among the British swim stars to have launched a new initiative to bring pop-up pools to schools across the UK.

Partnering with Speedo Swim United and Active Black Country, the high-profile athletes aim to get more children into swimming pools, as concerning data shows that an estimated two million youngsters left primary school without knowing how to swim in 2022.

The four-month programme, which began on Wednesday, is set to take place within schools located in the Black Country, as this area is one of the worst affected regions in the UK. 

Speedo Swim United’s research has found that low swimming attainment is worsening as a result of the ongoing energy crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 100 UK pools are predicted either to reduce service or close altogether by the summer of 2023, and Sport England statistics show that almost a third of children (28 per cent) are now leaving school without being able to swim, compared to 25 per cent in 2022.

Speedo Swim United launched a new scheme with some of Britain’s high-profile swimmers on Wednesday, in a bid to solve the UK’s swimming crisis by bringing pop-up pools to schools

Two-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty high-fives a student as they impress him in the water

Two-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty high-fives a student as they impress him in the water

Two-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty high-fives a student as they impress him in the water

Anna Hopkin, Ellie Simmonds, Peaty, Michael Gunning and Matt Richards (left to right) began the four-month programme at Shireland Hall Primary School in Smethwick on Wednesday

Anna Hopkin, Ellie Simmonds, Peaty, Michael Gunning and Matt Richards (left to right) began the four-month programme at Shireland Hall Primary School in Smethwick on Wednesday

Anna Hopkin, Ellie Simmonds, Peaty, Michael Gunning and Matt Richards (left to right) began the four-month programme at Shireland Hall Primary School in Smethwick on Wednesday

Hopkin helps a student to balance on their back with a float as the group learns how to swim

Hopkin helps a student to balance on their back with a float as the group learns how to swim

Hopkin helps a student to balance on their back with a float as the group learns how to swim

Peaty, Simmonds and Gunning, who are also joined by fellow British swimmers Anna Hopkin and Matt Richards, will aim to provide up to a thousand school students with an additional four hours of swimming per week during the four-month programme. 

Qualified lifeguards and swimming teachers have also been tasked with teaching the pupils about self-rescue in water.

The five professional swimmers were seen taking to the pool at Shireland Hall Primary School in Smethwick on Wednesday, encouraging and inspiring young students to learn the invaluable and potentially life-saving skill.

Peaty, widely regarded as the best men’s breaststroke swimmer in history after claiming two individual Olympic gold medals and six world titles, was pictured high-fiving the children as they impressed him with their efforts in the pool.

Speedo Swim United ambassadors Richards (above) and Gunning (below) also took to the pool

Speedo Swim United ambassadors Richards (above) and Gunning (below) also took to the pool

Speedo Swim United ambassadors Richards (above) and Gunning (below) also took to the pool

Peaty (centre) and Richards (right) showed the children how to make a diver's pose in the water

Peaty (centre) and Richards (right) showed the children how to make a diver's pose in the water

Peaty (centre) and Richards (right) showed the children how to make a diver’s pose in the water

The kids were in high spirits after spending the session with some of Britain’s best swimmers

Upon launching the programme, Speedo Swim United chief Kirsty Saddler said: ‘Water is the very essence of the Speedo brand and we believe everyone should have access to swimming. Not only for the joy and opportunity it brings but, more importantly, for the lifesaving skill that it is. 

‘This critical programme will see thousands of children water safe within a matter of months. We hope it will serve as a tried and tested blueprint for the UK Government, providing a cost-effective solution to an issue that poses a risk to life for so many children in the UK.’ 

Meanwhile, Ian Carey, chief executive of Active Black Country, added: ‘Inspiring a love and an ability to swim at an early age is critical in tackling the low levels of swimming attainment in our region, as well as other areas of the UK. 

‘By working with Speedo Swim United and its partners we hope to provide children in our communities the skill-sets they need to develop a positive, life-long affinity with the water .’ 

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