Look – Listen – Swim – 2012

Make 2012 the year to REMEMBER

British Swimming History 2012

Look Listen Swim 2012

The 2012 London Olympics will mark 100 years since Frank Sachs published his informative book: The Complete Swimmer. Through this ‘Look, Listen and Swim’ project, I hope to portray just how dramatically things have changed for swimmers during the last century. I feel sure that you’ll find looking through the list of swimming and bathing places recommended 100 years ago by the A.S.A, and reproduced in Frank Sachs book, both fascinating and revealing.

One thing that stands out is the number of open water swimming venues available to swimmers back then. The last hundred years has seen attitudes to swimming outdoors change remarkably. Indoor pools have been built country wide, youthful swimmers contained, and their behavior moderated. Swimming has been transformed from an animated outdoor playful activity, mostly enjoyed by working class boys, into a very competitive sport, confined predominantly to man-made pools. The British seaside holiday, the lido era and two world wars have all played a part in our rich swimming history. But swimming survives as the number one participation sport in the U.K.

More recently, in recognition of the health benefits of exercise, the government proposed to steer the nation away from obesity, and to guide us back into the water as swimmers. Starting with the over 60’s and extending to school children in 2009, the government had hoped that free swimming would become part of the texture and pattern of everyday life for the English by the time of the 2012 London Olympics. Sadly the financial crisis has overshadowed such hopes and free swimming has been consigned to the nation’s ‘wild swimmers’, whether in river, lake or sea.

I appeal to you: please get involved in this ‘Look, Listen and Swim’ project, and help me to celebrate 100 years of swimming! Look back in time to discover where you would have swum if you had lived 100 years ago. Find your nearest historic swimming hole by using the links to the A.S.A list.

Take a look, take photographs or video and send them in to chrisayriss@hotmail.co.uk for inclusion on the page.

Listen! Ask elderly friends, relatives and neighbors what they can remember about the swimming venues they frequented. Please send in copies of old photographs, real life stories, and upload videos so that they can be linked to this page (record them on YouTube and email the location).

If it is safe to do so, get into the water and Swim your way into history!

Make 2012 a year to remember as you LOOK, LISTEN and SWIM

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