Olympic medallist Steve Parry opens state-of-the-art children’s swimming centre in Sheffield
Olympic medallist and BBC broadcaster Steve Parry opened a brand new, state-of-the-art, family-friendly swimming centre in Sheffield.
The purpose-built swim site on the Archer Road Retail Park opened in adherence to COVID-19 restrictions.
The new site is described as offering a unique swimming journey for children aged 0 to 11, with experienced teachers, online progress tracking, fun lessons and clean, COVID-safe, modern facilities.
According to the national governing body, Swim England, one in three children leave primary school unable to swim in the UK - a figure which equates to more than 2,000 children in Sheffield alone. That is expected to increase further in light of the pandemic.
Steve Parry, a decorated swimmer who won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and co-founder of Sporting House, a group of Olympian-led brands, including swim!, has dedicated the last 15 years to ensuring children from all backgrounds are given the opportunity to learn to swim.
He said: “Children across the country spent much of last year, and the first part of this year, in lockdown; unable to see their friends and with little opportunity to exercise - so it’s more important than ever for us to work together to change this.
“Swimming is the only sport that can help save a child’s life, and yet even before the pandemic, more than half of kids were reaching secondary school without the skills they needed.
“We know there are heaps of benefits for kids learning to swim, and we are delighted to be able to launch in Sheffield.
“It is my firm belief that our swimming pools and facilities should be at the forefront of the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. Our facilities and programmes are specially designed for youngsters to learn to swim in a supportive environment, and we’re excited to show Sheffield what we have to offer.”
Parry also launched a swim! centre in Warrington in 2017, that has now taught more than 3,000 children to swim, and although the pandemic delayed its opening, its sister site in Oldham also opened last summer.
The brand new Sheffield centre boasts a fixed depth, child-friendly pool, where specially trained swim! teachers will provide fun, innovative lessons created by Parry, alongside some of the most experienced and respected names in baby and child swimming.
Baby classes will focus on parent and baby bonding, whilst group lessons for ages 3-11 will be all about water confidence, safety and fundamental skills.
To ensure the centre operates safely, rigorous health and safety measures have been implemented ahead of the opening, with social distancing and team training being the key focus.
Among other measures, clear signage will be displayed throughout the centre to manage customer flow, there will be a thorough changing-room sanitisation between each lesson, and all staff have now undergone additional bespoke training and completed a Covid-19 Safety Qualification.
swim! Sheffield is offering free intro sessions once the centre opens. Visit www.swim.co.uk/register-interest/sheffield