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28 Mar 2007

Alun Pugh - Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport comments:

"The Welsh Assembly Government’s Free Swimming initiative means that it’s never been easier for children, young people and older people across Wales to enjoy swimming. There are no boundaries in swimming; anyone can take part, whatever their age or physical ability."

Wales based GP Sally Venn adds:

"I welcome the promotion of free swimming for people aged 60 and over. The health benefits of exercise are well known and any initiative, which encourages an increase in activity levels, should be applauded. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for older people as it can be enjoyed by many, even those whose ability to engage in weight bearing exercise may be limited, and has the added benefit of encouraging social interaction."

For further details on your Free Swimming sessions, contact your local leisure centre. Alternatively, visit


  • Since the launch of the 60+ Free Swimming Scheme in 2004 over a million free swims have been provided in local authority swimming pools across Wales
  • Swimming is one of the most popular activities amongst the 55+ age group with more women on average going swimming than men
  • Swimming participation is highest in Gwynedd, Cardiff, Ceredigion and the Vale of Glamorgan
  • There are approximately 140 local authority public swimming pools in Wales
  • Swimming is a low impact sport and one of the best for not putting stress on the joints or connective tissues - this is due to buoyancy and the fact that we weigh 1/10th less in water
  • Studies have shown that a workout routine that includes swimming can help reduce and possibly prevent high blood pressure, which lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke - it is important however that if you have had heart trouble, high blood pressure, a bone or joint problem, or have any worries about becoming more active, you talk to your family doctor beforehand
  • Swimming improves cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, posture and flexibility
  • Swimming is relaxing because it allows more oxygen to flow to your muscles and forces you to regulate your breathing
  • When you swim breast-stroke or backstroke, you're burning about the same number of calories as a fast walk or a slow jog
  • Becoming a regular swimmer at a local centre increases the likelihood of striking up friendships with other fellow swimmers

For further press information or interviews please contact Melissa Adams at Geronimo Communications on 0 or email