With summer just around the corner, people all over the world are looking to one of the most loved recreational activities of the season - swimming. But for certain groups in the U.K., their access to the glistening water of swimming pools is more a necessity than a pleasure. Organizations such as English Schools Swimming Association and the British Sub-Aqua Club are struggling recently due to the unusual number of aquatic facilities that have been shut down, making access to them difficult, at best.
In yet another official appearance without wife Kate, this time a garden party at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth, Prince William was made aware of this ongoing crisis in the world of water sports.
Sophie Heptonstall, 38, technical group leader for the British Sub-Aqua Club which has the Duke as its president, highlighted the problem.“Pool time’s at a premium because pools are closing and so actually they don’t want clubs [like us] in the pool at (peak) times, so we’re getting pushed back to really late, which makes it difficult to get younger members in.”
Stewart Nicklin, 34, president of the English Schools Swimming Association which William supports as patron, added (link: ): “He actually was very interested in looking at a large issue both our organisations have – the closure of swimming pools across the country obviously with the large financial crisis a lot of councils find themselves in. So we were discussing a possible way forward to be able to safeguard the facilities.”
After listening to the appeals from the aquatic organizations, Prince William has promised to look at possibilities for reversing this disturbing trend. And the possibility of creating a charity to support the cause is at the top of his list.
The Duke of Cambridge has suggested that something similar to Fields in Trust might be the way to go. Fields of Trust is “an organisation that supports parks and green spaces by protecting them for people to enjoy in perpetuity.”
While no promise was made as to the direction the Duke might take in helping to resolve the crisis, he has made a solemn vow to research the issue and get back to the aquatics leadership very soon with his plan. Ms. Heptonstall said about William: “He said he’d think about something like the Fields in Trust and he’d get back to us.”
"On the lawns of Buckingham Palace, the Queen hosted thousands of guests who were invited to enjoy tea in her garden. The head of state wore sunglasses – for the second time in recent weeks when attending a garden party – and carried an umbrella following forecasts of thunderstorms."
The cost of maintaining and operating swimming pools has risen in recent years and threatens to strangle the life out of one of the most beneficial sports in the world - swimming. If something isn’t done soon, young people (and seniors, alike) will lose the ability to participate in their sport of choice, thus negatively impacting the overall health of the nation.
It’s so nice to see Prince William taking a sincere interest in a cause that means so much to so many people, although an under-publicised sport, it turns out some of the most decorated athletes in history. It would be a shame if the U.K fell behind the rest of the world in this popular but unsung sport.
Only time will tell if the intervention of the Duke of Cambridge will resolve the woes of these dedicated professionals. But they can rest assured that the Duke (who has participated in competitive swimming and scuba diving throughout most of his life) will do everything in his power to help this very worthy cause.