City Kids take the plunge with Swimming Champion

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Children from Birmingham school take a dip in Olympic Pool

A GROUP of lucky Birmingham school children, who learned to swim with the British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme, will be swimming with the stars at the British Gas Swimming Championships in the London Aquatics Centre today.

The children from Prince Albert School, Aston, will receive a special master class from six-time Commonwealth swimming medallist Melanie Marshall and former Commonwealth and European Champion Adam Whitehead.

British Gas Pools 4 Schools takes a special teaching pool around the country and provides free swimming lessons for children in areas where there is limited access to a swimming pool.

However, today’s class will take place in the same location where Britain’s best swimmers –  including double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington – are competing this week, in an attempt to qualify for London 2012.

Marshall said:  “I always enjoy working with the British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme and to have a special master class at the selection trials makes it even more exciting for everyone.

“Teaching children to swim is extremely important and I hope this day will inspire all the Birmingham youngsters to keep on swimming.”

The children will be put through their paces in the diving pool and then a selection of swimmers will get to race their star coaches in a grand final in the 50m competition pool.

Many of the Birmingham youngsters learned to swim in a temporary pool which was built by Total Swimming at King Edward VI School in Aston. The pool has been so successful that it’s currently on site for the fourth time in three years and will be there until the end of July 2012.

One in five children in the UK leaves school without being able to swim, and this statistic rises to four in five in some communities with limited access to a pool.

Olympic bronze medallist and Total Swimming director Steve Parry created the British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme.

He said: “I’ve competed in many selection trials and am really excited that Total Swimming and British Gas are enabling children from the British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme to experience the great atmosphere at this fantastic event.

“A fun pool session at this amazing venue, to build confidence and skills in the water, should make for an unforgettable day.”

British Gas brand director, Andrew Hogan added: “Through the British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme 22,000 children have learned to swim. Today is about providing another opportunity for some of these children to get back in the pool.”

For further information about British Gas Pools 4 Schools, go to www.totalswimming.co.uk

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