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SWIMMING IS TOP

| 12 May 2007

SWIMMING TOPS SPORTS IN GOVERNMENT SURVEY

Less than a year before the FINA World Swimming Championships are held in
Manchester and swimming has been revealed as the nation's most popular
participation sport in a Department for Culture Media and Sport survey.

Swimming Top News

The "Taking Part" survey, commissioned by DCMS alongside Sport England,
English Heritage, Arts Council England and Museum, Libraries and Archives
Council, is the first comprehensive study of how people spend their leisure
time and swimming topped the list of sports enjoyed by the public.

Commenting on the report, Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) Chief Executive
David Sparkes said: "This report clearly identifies the nation's passion for
sport and the continued interest in swimming as the number one participation
sport.

"Perhaps more importantly it reaffirms once again that swimming has the
greatest potential to impact on increasing participation in sport and
activity. This has been demonstrated through schemes such as the ASA's
Everyday Swim programme, in conjunction with Sport England, and the
Kellogg's Swim Active initiative.

"Clearly further investment into swimming, in the provision of facilities,
coaches and opportunities, will greatly help towards getting our nation
fitter and tackling the ever increasing problem of obesity."

The Taking Part survey revealed 94% of adults in England engaged in at least
one form of sporting or cultural opportunity during the past 12months with
69% participating in active sport.

People in the South East are more likely to participate in sport and
swimming beat visiting a gym, jogging and playing football as the most
popular sport.

The purpose of the report is to help shape future Government policy to
improve the nation's engagement across sport, cultural and leisure sectors.

Commenting on the findings, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Tessa Jowell said: "This comprehensive survey shows the vital role culture
and sport play in the life of our country.  It tells us how people are
getting involved - be it playing sport, visiting our national museums or
stately homes, playing a musical instrument or tracing their family history.

"It allows us to focus our efforts on where we need to do more so that
everyone is able to enjoy inspiring activities.

"And the news that adults encouraged to play sport during childhood are much
more likely to stay active in later life is proof positive of why our drive
to promote sport among young people is so important.  This is the lasting
legacy for future generations of our commitment to school sport."

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