Becky Adlington makes stark warning about Team GB’s future medal hopes amid swimming teacher shortage
A national shortage of swimming teachers could harm Team GB’s medal prospects at future Olympic competitions, according to one of Britain’s most successful ever swimmers.
Four-time Olympic medallist Becky Adlington has warned of a ‘crisis’ in the sport after governing body Swim England revealed up to 600,000 children are missing out on lessons due to a shortfall of 8,000 instructors, which risks a ‘lost generation’ of swimmers.
The 32-year-old qualified for the 2008 Beijing Games, where she won two gold medals, at Ponds Forge and now runs swim! Sheffield along with Athens 2004 bronze medal-winner Steve Parry.
She is fronting a campaign by Sporting House aiming to recruit as many as 4,000 new swimming teachers by 2030.
Becky said: “We have just come back off the greatest-ever Olympics, even for Paris (2024) because it’s only three years away I think we will still have a really great team.
"We will see the real impact of Covid come the following Olympics (Los Angeles), it’s that generation that have missed out. That’s where it's really going to hit.”
Having been shut since July, the leisure pool at Ponds Forge will remain closed until January due amid concerns about the state of the flumes, meaning there are currently no swimming facilities available to adults and children in Sheffield city centre.
Manchester-based Becky said: “It’s a very nostalgic place for me, it's still one of the greatest pools in my eyes.
"All my competitions were there, you just couldn’t beat it. It had everything a pool needed.”
The UK had a shortage of swimming teachers pre-Covid but the pandemic exacerbated the issue due to the closure of pools across the country, including Ponds Forge, which subsequently fell into disrepair.
Becky, from Mansfield, added: “Swimming is a life skill, it’s the only sport that is.
"We have to start recognising how important it is. You can’t live your life without seeing water, if you don’t know how to swim that’s an extra danger.
"Once you learn how to swim you have got it in your back pocket. It’s like riding a bike, you never lose it.”
Sporting House is investing millions to address the shortage of swimming teachers and will pay the £1,000 training costs per person.
Applicants do not need any previous experience or qualifications.
To apply visit www.thesportinghouse.co.uk/careers.