Olympic star Duncan inspires youngsters to return to pools

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Thousands of young swimmers are celebrating the return of swimming lessons in pools across Scotland – with help from Olympic hero Duncan Scott.

Following his return from Tokyo, where he was Britain’s most decorated Olympian in a single games, Duncan joined a group of youngsters at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, as part of his commitment to continue to inspire the next generation of Scottish swimmers.

It was Duncan’s first role back as the Learn to Swim ambassador after his success for Team GB at Tokyo 2020, where he won one Gold and three Silver medals in the pool.

The Learn to Swim framework – a partnership between Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water – is delivered by Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers across the country which aims to enable children of all ages to become safe and confident swimmers.

Edinburgh Leisure is one of 28 Leisure Trusts beginning the full resumption of the Learn to Swim programme, meaning that thousands of kids will be back in pools following the disruptions caused by the pandemic restrictions.

Angela McCowan, Aquatics Development Manager at Edinburgh Leisure said: ‘It’s a pleasure to welcome the children back to continue their swim journey across our range of pools across the city and help them to become more confident and safer in water.

“Our team, as well as the children, were really excited to hear Duncan’s stories about his Olympic journey and to see his sought-after medals.”

Duncan has been an ambassador for the Learn to Swim framework for four years and has played a vital role in continuing the task to inspire, develop and motivate the next generation of swimmers.

“I’m really proud to be the Learn to Swim ambassador. Learning to swim is a life skill and it’s so important for all children to learn to help them be safe and confident in water. I’ve always enjoyed swimming and while not everyone will have ambitions to be an Olympic athlete, it’s an essential skill to have and fun to learn too.”

Euan Lowe, Scottish Swimming chief executive officer, said: “Duncan is a great role model for youngsters across the country, even more so after his astounding history-making performance in Tokyo.

“We know his appearance will stay in the memory of these children forever, and it would be amazing if in a few year’s time one or some of them go on to be inspired to become performance swimmers and represent Team GB in a future Olympic games.”

The Learn to Swim partnership was extended for a fourth year in 2020 to further boost the confidence of children around water, after helping to create a 100,000-strong new generation of safe swimmers.

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Learn to Swim programme restart. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to do it than welcoming back our multi Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medal winner and the resumption of his Learn to Swim Ambassador duties.

“It maybe someone from the programme goes on to emulate Duncan in the future, but more importantly, we hope Duncan continues to inspire children to learn to swim. And through that they understand that this is a vital life skill that one day could ultimately save their life.”

Duncan – a double relay Silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics – initially entered his name into the record books in Tokyo as he, alongside Tom Dean, became the first British pair to win gold and silver in the same swimming event since 1908.

His Silver in that 200m freestyle was quickly followed by Gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay. He made it three in the pool with silver in the 200m individual medley before winning his record-breaking fourth, a silver, in the 4x100m medley relay.

The Learn to Swim Framework is aimed at youngsters from birth upwards and provides consistently high-quality teaching which progresses through a series of lessons and levels over a number of years.

More information on the Learn to Swim Framework can be found on the dedicated website: www.learntoswim.scot