Swim Star Helps to Put Shetland’s Kids Strokes Ahead
Triple Olympian swim star Hannah Miley made a splash last November as she gave a masterclass to celebrate Shetland’s role as the UK’s most northerly provider of swimming lessons for youngsters.
Hannah, 29, joined 50 pupils from Sound Primary School and Anderson High School at Lerwick’s Clickimin Leisure Complex to mark Shetland Recreational Trust’s progress in delivering Scottish Swimming’s Learn to Swim Framework in partnership with Scottish Water.
The youngsters from primary 1 to secondary 2 took inspiration from and selfies with the swimming hero before getting the chance to pick her brains about top techniques, tips and tricks in a question and answer session.
Almost 900 youngsters from across the Shetland Islands benefit from the Learn to Swim framework, which is delivered in partnership by Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water.
Hannah said: “Being the special guest of the day at Clickimin Pool was a real honour. It was such a joy seeing the local children have fun in the water as they learn this key life skill.
“I learned to swim in my local club in Inverurie, which I got to know thanks to the council lessons that I took part in. So it just goes to show that there really is so much value in having a well-developed and well-taught grassroots programme in place, such as this.”
Hannah has competed on the International swimming scene since 2005, becoming 400m IM Commonwealth Champion in 2010 and 2014 and represented Great Britain at three consecutive Olympic Games.
Along with Hannah and the local school children, representatives from Shetland Recreational Trust, Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water came along to celebrate on the day.
James Johnston, General Manager of Shetland Recreational Trust, said: “It’s so important for everyone on the islands to know that their children are safe and competent in and around the water – as we’re surrounded by it here.
“Having Hannah Miley join our community for the day and meet everyone was very exciting and really motivated the youngsters from Sound and Anderson schools.”
With an estimated 40% of children still unable to swim by the time they leave primary school, there has never been a more crucial time to roll out Scottish Swimming’s National Framework for Swimming in Scotland.
Forbes Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Swimming, said: “We’re aiming to roll our Learn to Swim programme out to 100,000 across Scotland, so that our young people develop confidence, skills and a real love of swimming.
“Thanks to local authorities like Shetland Recreational Trust, we’re well on our way to making that happen.”
The Learn to Swim Framework is provided across eight pools on the Shetland Islands (see list of pool locations at end).
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “This is an excellent scheme for us to be involved with in so many ways and we’re proud to support it.
“Shetland’s dedication to making sure that its young people learn to swim is just great. It’s important that the programme is available to all children, even if they live in the most northerly communities in the UK.
“It’s so pleasing to see that, even when pools aren’t always within easy reach, geography is no barrier to learning to swim and Shetland Recreational Trust go above and beyond to ensure children can do just that and enjoy a quality experience.”
The Learn to Swim Framework helps to create quality Learn to Swim environments for children from birth upwards where they can become competent, confident and safe swimmers with opportunities to progress through the aquatic pathway and to swim for fun.
There are already more than 53,000 kids – including 5,600 pre-school children – who are on the programme and the target is to reach 100,000 children across Scotland by 2020.
The pools providing the Learn to Swim Framework are:
- Clickimin Leisure Complex (Lerwick)
- Unst Leisure Centre (Unst)
- Yell Leisure Centre (Yell)
- Whalsay Leisure Centre (Whalsay)
- North Mainland Leisure Centre (Brae)
- West Mainland Leisure Centre (Aith)
- Scalloway Pool (Scalloway)
- South Mainland Pool (Sandwick)