TWO Olympic medallists are campaigning for more swimming teachers in Warrington amid a ‘crisis’ in the sport.

Team GB icons Rebecca Adlington and Steve Parry say hundreds of thousands of children are missing out on lessons due to a shortage of teachers.

There was a shortage of trained swimming teachers pre-Covid, but the pandemic exacerbated the issue due to the closure of pools across the UK.

Schools without their own pool could not provide lessons during the height of the pandemic, with Steve describing the number of children leaving primary school unable to swim as ‘dire’.

The easing of lockdown restrictions led to a surge in demand for lessons that has not been met due to the shortage of qualified teachers, which in turn has created long waiting lists.

To address the shortfall in teachers, Sporting House, the company founded by Steve, is investing almost £3million.

“You have to describe the current situation as a crisis,” Rebecca said.

“There has always been a shortage of swimming teachers, but the problem has escalated because of Covid.

“Swimming, together with water safety, is such an important life-skill, and sadly many, many children still drown each year.

“It genuinely helps save people’s lives, so you have to see it as a life skill rather than just a sport.

Olympian Steve Parry is calling for more swimming teachers in Warrington

Olympian Steve Parry is calling for more swimming teachers in Warrington

“If children cannot access lessons because there are not enough teachers, it is a huge worry.”

Swim England, the national governing body in England, revealed earlier this year that a nationwide shortage of 8,000 swimming teachers could mean as many as 600,000 children are missing out on lessons.

And one million children could leave primary school in the next five years unable to swim the minimum standard under the national curriculum.

Prior to the pandemic, around one in four children could not swim the statutory 25 metres when they left primary school, and it is feared that could rise to three in five children by the 2025-26 academic year.

“It is dire. I fundamentally believe all children should be able to swim,” Steve said.

“So does our education system, given it is a statutory requirement at key stage two, but we are failing to achieve it, drastically.

“We want to be part of the solution by providing more swimming spaces, recruiting more good quality teachers and offering more lessons.”

Sporting House hopes to recruit 100 swimming teachers and 40 gymnastics coaches by the end of the year. Longer term, it wants to add 4,000 by 2030.

The firm will pay the £1,000 training costs for each teacher or coach and stresses that would-be applicants do not need any previous experience or qualifications.

Anyone who is interested in applying for a position, which would be at Swim! at Winwick Quay, can do so via