Swimfit targets Big Splash swimmers with free scheme

By Greg Cox & Maria HampsonBig Splash
Swimfit has over 50,000 subscribers so far

Swimming for 30 minutes a week can drastically cut the risk of illness, while research has proven it can also improve your mood and reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

Despite this, over one in five adults in the UK cannot swim and many more are still unaware of the various benefits and initiatives that are available to enjoy.

One scheme aimed at encouraging people to get in the pool is Swimfit, a free, online club that provides its 50,000 current subscribers with gym-style workouts in the water, each catered to individual swimming goals.

Swimfit has also made the transition from online to the poolside, with weekly classes available at a number of the 850 nationwide swimming pools that have signed up to the Big Splash Campaign, each sharing the common aim of getting more people back in the pool.

The poolside scheme was launched at Hillingdon Sports & Leisure Complex, London, in July 2010.

Hillingdon's aquatic manager Neil Cutting is a huge supporter of the programme: "Swimfit is a motivational experience. There are different workouts for each member depending on their specific targets, whether they want to lose weight, tone up or just work on the their technique."

Ricky James, 20, has been the Swimfit instructor at Hillingdon from the start of the scheme: "Swimfit's a great way to take your gym sessions to the pool and members get hands on instruction tailor made for them.

"The groups are quite diverse and we have had many success stories.

"One lady lost over three stone in just 3 months and one gentlemen could barely swim a length on his first session and is now signing up for Iron Man competitions!

"It's also great for people rehabing from injury or illness."

One person who has reaped the benefits of swimming is 11-year, multiple sclerosis sufferer Paul Genning.

The 58-year-old has been swimming at Hillingdon for almost two years.

Paul explained: "My doctor basically told me 'if you don't use it you'll lose it', so now I come here five times a week to use the pool.

"It's great for your mind and body and I really enjoy the social aspect too."

Swimfit classes in the pool are being rolled out nationwide over the next year with a Swimfit phone app planned for January.

Online members can also save money by using the new Big Splash Reward card, which will launch on 1 October 2011 and offer members two free swims for every 10 sessions.

Individual pools also have their own money saving schemes for budding swimmers.

Many centres offer family membership deals, student discounts and 2-4-1 swimming tickets, which you can find on the Splashpath websiteexternal-link.

For more information on how to sign up to Swimfit onlineexternal-link and to find Big Splash pools in your areaexternal-link that may have Swimfit sessions, please visit the British Swimming websiteexternal-link.