Many people from a South Asian background continue to feel apprehensive about swimming.

Research reveals that more than 3 in 5 (63%) South Asians feel it’s intimidating to learn to swim as an adult, a significant increase on the national average who share this view (51%).

The new statistics, which come from Swim England, also reveal that adults from South Asian communities are more likely to think that swimming lessons are only for beginners, swim teachers prefer teaching children to adults and that swimming lessons ‘aren’t’ for people like me’.

These misconceptions include an expectation that beginner adults have to wear armbands in the pool (61%), lesson attendees must wear a swim hat (60%) and regular swimsuit (49%) and that adult lessons are only available late in the evening (54%).

The lack of privacy was revealed as an overwhelming barrier to swimming lessons by respondents, with 75% believing that the pool isn’t a private space and they didn’t want to be watched through the windows, significantly greater than the national average of 56%.

However, nearly 7 in 10 (67%) of respondents from the South Asian community felt encouraged to improve their swimming ability and 1.7 million from ethnically diverse communities who have not been swimming in the last 12 months, want to do so in the next year.

In response, Swim England and 10 leading operators has launched their latest #LoveSwimming campaign to dispel the myths and stigma around learning to, or improving your swimming ability, as an adult.

Jamal Hussan, a swimmer who had his first ever lesson aged 45, said: “I first brought my daughter to start her lessons and she actually inspired me to get into the water. At first, I was really scared because it was something I’d never done before at all.

“When you think about the barriers to why people might avoid lessons, if I’m honest I think body shape, age, all play a role. But that shouldn’t be getting in the way for anyone to start lessons.

“I was always worried that if I was taking my daughter, then I wouldn’t be able to go in the water with her and I’d miss out on that time with her.

“Thanks to lessons, I do feel more confident on a daily basis now. That hour that I get in the water, it gives you a real therapy and I would urge anyone to just go for it!”

Katie Towner , Swim England’s Head of Learn to Swim, added: “This is a hugely important campaign for us as we commit to welcoming as many people as possible into pools across the nation.

“No one should feel as though it’s too late for them to learn to swim, or that there are any barriers to them having their first lesson at any age or ability level.

“Our new research reveals a number of misconceptions about swimming lessons that we want to dispel once and for all – whether it concerns what you should wear in the water, lesson privacy, or who swimming is for.

“We all know that swimming is an essential life skill – but for so many across the nation it is the gateway to creating amazing memories with your family, becoming healthier and happier, and achieving full confidence in the water.

“Knowing that so many want to swim but lack the confidence or knowledge to get started, we are delighted to be launching our latest wave of Love Swimming to break down barriers and inspire more adults into the water.”

To sign up to lessons at your local pool you can visit