West Oxfordshire residents lap others in the country, coming top 10 in list of regular swimmers

Rob Wood, GLL Partnership Manager, left, and Cllr Richard Langridge, with swimmers Sharon Brewer, 30, left, and Alastair Blaine, 34

Rob Wood, GLL Partnership Manager, left, and Cllr Richard Langridge, with swimmers Sharon Brewer, 30, left, and Alastair Blaine, 34

First published in News

WEST Oxfordshire residents are some of the keenest swimmers in the country, with nearly 10 per cent saying they swim once a week.

Out of 221 local authorities, West Oxfordshire came eighth in the list compiled by Diabetes UK using figures from Sport England, showing where people swim most regularly. It also beat all other districts in Oxfordshire.

In the survey, 9.7 per cent of adults in West Oxfordshire said they swim once a week.

There are five public swimming pools in the district. Carterton Leisure Centre, Chipping Norton Leisure Centre, Windrush Leisure Centre and Woodstock Open Air Pool are all managed by charitable group GLL on behalf of West Oxfordshire District Council., whilst there is also the Chipping Norton Lido.

One regular swimmer is Alastair Blaine, who has recently taken the sport back up after a two-year absence.

Mr Blaine, 34, used to swim regularly but had to stop when he underwent intensive job training.

The Witney resident said: “I enjoy swimming and I’m really enjoying having it back in my life. It’s a great place to stop and think and take stock, as well as doing me quite a lot of good in the health department.”

Robert Wood, partnership manager for GLL, said: “It is fantastic that so many local people have recognised the benefits that swimming offers.”

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Cabinet member for leisure Richard Langridge said: “I am delighted.

“The council is committed to helping people stay active and GLL run an extensive programme for all ages and abilities.”

Mr Wood added: “There are plenty of opportunities to swim across the district. We run a wide range of water-based activities.

In 2013 the four pools were used over 350,000 times.

The data was published by Diabetes UK, which is trying to promote the health benefits of swimming.

Jill Steaton, South East regional manager for the charity, said: “Swimming is a great way to keep physically active, which is really important for preventing type two diabetes, or helping to manage diabetes if you already have it.

“Clearly the people of West Oxfordshire are already taking this message to heart and it is great to see so many swim already.”

Diabetes UK wants swimmers to sign up to its Swim 22 challenge, where participants swim 22 miles (the distance across the English Channel) at their local pool.

  • The challenge takes place between February 22 and May 22. You can sign up at diabetes.org.uk

NUMBERS IN OXFORDSHIRE

  • South Oxfordshire: has 7.71 per cent of adults saying they swim once a week or more
  • Cherwell: has 6.33 per cent
  • Oxford: has 6.24 per cent
  • Vale of White Horse: has 8.03 per cent

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