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11 Aug 2006

Welsh Olympic hopeful David Davies today applauded the Welsh Assembly Government’s Free Swim initiative – and is hoping that it will encourage youngsters across Wales to follow in his wake.

Thanks to the Assembly, children and young people can now swim for free during the school holidays.

The 1,500m freestyler is currently sharpening his skills, before he heads to the Athens Olympics. At just 19-years-old, he is already the third fastest swimmer in the world. He says:

"This initiative is a great way to keep youngsters occupied during the summer holidays. Swimming is one of the best ways of keeping fit and it’s also good fun.

"When I started swimming, I never even dreamt of going to the Olympics. So who knows? We may see many more swimmers from Wales competing on the international stage."

Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Alun Pugh said:

"One of the aims of the Assembly's Free Swimming initiative is to get children into the habit of taking regular exercise as early as possible because it will have huge benefits for their future health and well-being. As well as helping youngsters keep fit and healthy, we might also discover a few more stars like David!"

The Sports Council for Wales Chief Executive Dr Huw Jones said:

"This is a positive step towards building a fitter and healthier nation and I hope that young people right across the country will be making the most of the Free Swimming initiative this summer.

"Summer’s an ideal time to kick-start a new health campaign."

The Welsh Assembly Government has recently launched Health Challenge Wales - a new national focus to secure greater ownership, commitment and action for better health, as part of a co-ordinated and sustained effort to improve levels of health in Wales.