May 7, 2014 (ISN) – USA Swimming along with nine industry partners are launching a summer-long campaign called SwimToday, across the United States which is aimed at increasing the numbers of youngsters taking up the sport by highlighting its “fun” side.
The campaign is being described as “light-hearted” and proclaims swimming as the “funnest sport there is” and is being led by four-time Olympic gold medallist Dara Torres.
It comes off the back of research carried out by Sports Marketing Surveys which suggests 80 per cent of parents in the US overlook swimming when choosing organised sports activities for their children after they learn to swim.
The 2014 State of the Competitive & Fitness Swimming Industry Report claims parents whose children had never tried swimming perceived it to be less fun than other sports, although it does claim parents of swimmers rated the sport at the top in terms of fun, teamwork, confidence-building and health and fitness once they gave it a try.
Torres, who was part of the US women’s 4×100 metres freestyle team that won Olympic gold at Los Angeles 1984, Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000 as well taking gold in the 4x100m medley event in Sydney, is one of those parents whose child is taking part in swimming and is keen to stress how fun and beneficial it can be for youngsters.
“I started swimming as a kid and it gave me skills I’ve used throughout my life,” said the 47-year-old.
“Now I have an eight-year-old daughter who is on a swim team and loves it.
“I see her benefitting from the same things I did, and I want other moms to know how much fun it can be and what a lifelong gift it is for our kids.”
Former Olympic champion Dara Torres is backing the SwimToday campaign launched in the United States ©Getty Images
As part of the campaign, a new website www.swimtoday.org has been launched which will provide parents with online resources and information and with help in locating local swim clubs and pools.
To support the initiative Minneapolis advertising agency Colle+McVoy has created a campaign aimed at highlighting the “fun” aspects of swimming and the benefits of the sport.
A national and online advertisement has been launched and can be viewed here.
Along with national governing body USA Swimming other industry partners involved in the SwimToday campaign include Arena North America, Speedo USA, TYR Sport, Playcore, Team Unify, US Masters Swimming, Swimming World magazine, the National Swimming Pool Foundation and the American Swimming Coaches Association.
“The sport of swimming is about family,” said USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wieglus.
“This is a great representation of what family means to organisations when our own unique organisational missions come together and align with the shared goal of getting more people into the sport.
“We hope to see this effort continue for decades to come.”