Open water swimming is set to grow as British Triathlon and the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) have confirmed a new partnership today (Wednesday 9 March) to support the promotion and development of the sport.
The three-year partnership recognises the potential growth of open water swimming and the need to develop the sport’s existing infrastructure to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for new and existing participants.
Participation in open water swimming amongst triathletes is high with approximately 40 per cent of British Triathlon permitted events including an open water swim and 90 per cent of Triathlon England affiliated clubs offering open water swimming training. A number of open water swimming events also permit with British Triathlon and, as demand increases, the need to develop safe swim sites and consistent operating standards are central to delivering a positive open water swimming experience.
The Royal Life Saving Society UK aims to lead in hosting more open water swims for all ages and abilities around the UK as well as work to help secure more safe open water swimming sites to make the activity more accessible to all, including triathletes who want to train or gain more experience of open water swimming.
As participation increases, the partnership also aims to grow the number of qualified open water lifeguards who hold the RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard qualification to compliment the network of over 1,000 triathlon coaches, 500 RLSS UK lifesaving clubs and 65 RLSS UK lifeguard units who are already able to support swimmers and triathletes within an open water environment.
Jack Buckner, Chief Executive of British Triathlon commented on the launch of the partnership: “This is an exciting opportunity for British Triathlon to benefit from the expertise of the RLSS UK in creating safe and fun open water swimming as well as contributing to the reduction of one of the main barriers to triathlon participation.
“We are really looking forward to working closely with the RLSS UK and all the stakeholders involved in the governance of open water swimming to create actionable insight and ensure widespread growth of participation within both triathlon and open water swimming.”
Adrian Lole, Technical Director at the Royal Life Saving Society UK said: “The growth of open water swimming has created an enormous demand for quality assured facilities. The partnership with British Triathlon, supporting the development of safer sites is a huge step forwards supporting safer participation. Triathlon and open water swimming is in a good place for continued growth and we are excited about this new partnership.”