Skip to main content

Please wait while we create a summary for this..!


Manchester continues to lead the way nationally in how sport, leisure, health, and physical activity can be a powerful agent of change for all people. Among the city’s numerous successes, Manchester boasts a thriving aquatic community, that in spite of global pressures, continues to grow from strength to strength. Since the global pandemic, we have welcomed record numbers to our Swim School and Education Swim programme across our city’s 8 pools, welcomed more young people and people aged over 60 through our free-swimming offer and have major competitions planned for 2023. 

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that is suitable for people of all ages and abilities and is particularly beneficial for children. It helps develop motor skills, improves cardiovascular health, and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, swimming is an essential life skill that can prevent drowning and other water-related accidents.  

With numerous swimming clubs and world-class facilities, Manchester has produced some of the finest swimmers in the world, including 5x world champion James Hickman, Olympic Finalist and European Champion Jess Lloyd and multiple Paralympic gold medalist and world record holder Hannah Russell. But it is important to remember many of them took their first stroke as part of a school swimming programme.

1200 lessons delivered to 11,000 pupils 

Despite ongoing and new challenges, such as the lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis, the return of both our Swim School and Education Swim programmes has been extremely strong. Swim School has reached a record 8,740 members on the Learn to Swim Programme with over 1,200 lessons delivered per week across the 8 pools. 148 primary and special schools are receiving regular education swim lessons supporting almost 11,000 pupils.

to ensure that we reach families most in need at such a difficult time, MCRactive through partnerships with GLL (Better) and Everyone Active offered a 50% discount differentiated pricing model on Swim School for children in receipt of free school meals. Since January, over 260 children have accessed the lessons, 83 of which are new members. This offer will be extended to include the Manchester Aquatics Centre and Abraham Moss Leisure Centre once they reopen.

With the rise of obesity and sedentary lifestyles among young people, swimming is an essential opportunity for children to engage in physical activity and develop healthy habits early on. Therefore our 16 or under free swimming will continue to be offered throughout all holiday periods and weekends. Similarly for 60 or overs, who are often more prone to a range of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and arthritis, swimming can play a major role in helping to reduce the risk of these conditions and improve overall health dramatically. Manchester’s 60 or overs can continue to swim for free during any designated public general swim session. 

800 new club members in last 12 months

Swimming is also a fantastic social activity that can help to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation felt by many older adults. Joining a swimming group can often be hugely impactful for older people, enabling them to meet new people, make friends, and feel part of a community. Therefore, in addition our free swimming offers, we’re delighted that the city now has over 800 club members who have used the centres in the last 12 months. 

The inaugural Para-Swim World Championships coming to Manchester is another exciting development for the city and a positive step towards improving inclusivity in sports and physical activity. This international event will bring together some of the world's best para-swimmers to compete in Manchester's state-of-the-art aquatics centre, home of the British Paralympic Swim Team, showcasing the city's commitment to providing world-class facilities for all swimmers, regardless of their abilities. The event has the potential to inspire a lasting impact on Mancunians of all ages and abilities to take dive into swimming, no matter who they are.  

Increasing the numbers of swimmers in Manchester is vital for promoting a healthier and more active community, reducing the burden on the healthcare system, improving mental wellbeing, and promoting social cohesion 

The increase in swimmers, young and old, is testament to the importance Manchester puts on its swimming programmes, facilities, and instructors. Our city is renowned for, and has always ‘done things differently’, but our collective goal remains the same. To provide accessible and inclusive opportunities for all residents and be ‘World-Class’ in everything we do. As we encourage more people to take up the swimming, and move more, we can expect to see a more active, healthy, and connected community for many years to come. 

Featured Images