Panathlon is supporting Speedo’s Swim United campaign to ensure all children who leave primary school by 2025 are able to swim. 

The campaign, launched in partnership with Swim England, The Black swimming Association, Active Black Country and Speedo athletes Adam Peaty, Ellie Simmonds and Michael Gunning aims to highlight the growing issue of more children missing out on swimming lessons at school, either due to closure of facilities, cost or barriers preventing them from accessing lessons. 

Swim England research shows that one in four youngsters currently leave primary school unable to swim 25m or self-rescue – despite swimming and water safety being part of the National Curriculum. 

It is feared that figure could rise to as high as six in 10 by 2025 unless there is urgent intervention from the Government. 

Speedo Swim United is now urging the public to sign a petition calling on the Government to provide ring-fenced funding to schools to ensure they provide swimming lessons. 

Speedo are making great strides in supporting participation in swimming. They support Panathlon’s swimming programmes that reached over 2,000 children with disabilities and special needs in the 2021/22 academic year. 

Through our swimming programme, children who are so often denied opportunities elsewhere due to their disabilities or special needs are given a platform to build skills and confidence in the water, whilst having fun and representing their school. 

Speedo athletes Adam Peaty and Ellie Simmonds and Jamaican swimmer Michael Gunning launch the Speedo Swim United campaign.

Every school who signs up for a Panathlon gala or joins our Virtual Swimming programme is encouraged to sign the Speedo Swim United petition. 

Panathlon Chief Operating Officer, Tony Waymouth, said: “We wholeheartedly support the Speedo Swim United campaign as our programmes are also designed to give as many children as possible the opportunity to swim and strengthen swimming’s place on the school curriculum and calendars.” 

Samuel Guest, CR & Charity Partner at Pentland Brands (parent company of Speedo), said: “The statistics around children not being able to swim by the time they get to secondary school are shocking. That’s why our organisation felt it had to take action to ensure future generations are not denied the chance of learning this important life skill.” 

Statistics show children unable to swim are most likely to come from marginalised sections of society, including those with disabilities and special needs. The Speedo Swim United campaign aims to continue breaking down the barriers that prevent children from those groups learning to swim. 

The petition, which can be signed at, has three key asks of the Government: 

  • Ring-fence funding provided to schools for swimming lessons and include this as part of Ofsted inspections to ensure all children leave primary school able to swim. 
  • Provide urgent support for swimming pool operators to remain open amid rising energy costs and to enable them to increase pool time for swimming lessons and train new teachers. 
  • Invest in community engagement to reach community groups who may face cultural and systemic barriers to swimming. 

To show your support for Swim United and sign the petition, please click here