David Walliams has heroically brought swimming back into the headlines, with help from the BBC promoting the Big Splash, by swimming the length of the River Thames. The government has also invested almost £250million into schemes to encourage adults and children to use their local swimming pools in the hope to reduce UK obesity levels and the strain on the NHS. Swimming has never been so fashionable which is why the UK swimming industry is estimated to be worth £1.5 billion (ref 1).
However, 20% of adults in the UK are unable to swim and 60% just do not participate. Having said this, swimming has the highest level of latent demand of any sport (ref 1) with 13% saying they would like to start. So how can swimming equipment manufacturers tap into this potential niche of around 24 million people and encourage non-swimming adults, like me, to take the plunge into the pool?
There seems to a huge gap waiting to be filled for adults swimming aids. Non-swimmers need a piece of kit that gives us that extra bit of buoyancy in the water but also leave our arms and legs free (maybe a floatsuit for adults?). We would then be able to improve our leg and arm co-ordination and venture into deep water with confidence.
The Swimming Manufacturing Industries currently gear their swimming learning aids towards children and their swimming equipment towards confident adult swimmers. From a non-swimmers point of view these include: goggles that can hurt and leak; swimming hats that pull at your hair and leave a rather attractive red mark on your forehead; nose plugs; resistant devices for those looking to increase their fitness ; and aerodynamic swimsuits for swimmers to swim faster.
Image from Americandigest
The problem with the current adult floating aids is that they don’t allow me to practice using my legs and arms at the same time, so my confidence in the water builds very slowly. I can currently buy a small rectangular float which I have to use my hands to hold onto or a long tube that is placed underneath my stomach that tends to slip around.
If I had a piece of kit that solved these problems, you never know, I may one day be swimming the Thames, just like David.