Britain's Prince William creates a video message backing a drive to help children learn to swim.
Prince William outlines the importance of children being confident in water in his message which follows an ASA report that claims more than half of youngsters aged seven to eleven years cannot swim 25 metres unaided. The Duke, who is patron of the English Schools Swimming Association and represented Scottish Universities at water polo, says in the video:
"Swimming has always been important to me - I was very proud to represent Scottish Universities at water polo and both Catherine and I will never forget the excitement and pride we felt cheering on Team GB in the Aquatics Centre last summer at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As patron of the English Schools Swimming association, I have been fortunate to witness at first hand the transformative effect learning to swim can have on children's lives. But learning to swim is about more than just transforming lives. Swimming is unique - it is the only sport that can save lives - which is why I'm so keen for school swimming to be accessible for all children at all primary schools. Drowning is one of the biggest causes of accidental death of children in England and some of these tragedies could be averted by making sure every child is able to swim. But the results of the largest ever schools swimming census conducted by the Amateur Swimming Association suggest that more than a million school children cannot swim 25 metres, despite swimming's place on the national curriculum. This report is especially important because it outlines some tremendous schemes and initiatives to help schools who may be facing challenges when it comes to teaching swimming. The ASA has a belief - a vision, which I share - that every child has the right to learn to swim. The ability to swim changes lives - it brings huge joy and it can keep us fit and healthy. But above all, it can keep us safe, which is why I'm pleased to lend my support to this campaign."
The ASA's survey, called Learning the Lesson found that half of children aged seven to eleven cannot swim the length of a typical swimming pool (25 metres) unaided, despite swimming being a compulsory element in English schools.