Trafford Leisure offers free adult swimming lessons after Mayor of Trafford learns to swim at Sale Leisure Centre

The Mayor of Trafford, Councillor Tom Ross has learnt to swim at Sale Leisure Centre, where he has been taking adult one to one swimming lessons.


With the help of Trafford Leisure’s swimming teacher Steven Taylor, Councillor Ross has gone from being a non-swimmer, nervous and apprehensive around water, to a competent swimmer feeling confident and calm.


The Mayor of Trafford, Councillor Tom Ross says: “It’s been a huge personal achievement for me, and I am so proud of myself for finally taking steps to become a swimmer.


“During a meeting with Jo Cherrett, COO of Trafford Leisure, I admitted to her that I couldn’t swim. It’s something I’ve always been embarrassed about and tried to hide. I did try swimming lessons growing up as a child in Trafford, but I just couldn’t get on with them; I became bored and wasn’t interested.  As I became older I would avoid water based situations, I’d be that person left paddling in the shallow sea water rather than diving in and enjoying the water with friends and family. I’ve missed out on so much.”


As a result, Jo Cherrett offered Councillor Ross the opportunity to have swimming lessons at Sale Leisure Centre, following the centre’s Swim England Learn to Swim Programme. Councillor Ross has been coming for weekly sessions early in the morning, when the pool is quieter so he could have more privacy.


Jo Cherrett says: “Learning to swim is such an important life skill, which could potentially save your life. The good news is that anyone can learn to swim; it’s a fantastic form of low impact exercise that is suitable for all ages and abilities.  There is no need to feel ashamed of not being able to swim and I’m so pleased that Councillor Tom Ross has shared his learn to swim story, breaking down the stigma of being a non-swimmer and being a positive role model for our community.”


Inspired by the Mayor’s learn to swim journey, Trafford Leisure is offering 10 local people the chance to meet with one of their swimming experts and to be supported free of charge to learn to swim. These lessons can be run early in the morning, behind closed doors, which provides a unique private space, free from stigma or embarrassment for adults to learn to swim, just as the Mayor of Trafford did.  Councillor Tom Ross says: “If I can do it, then so can you!”


According to Swim England 1 in 5 people in the UK cannot swim, with children of non-swimming parents less likely to be able to swim. Figures show that only 23% of children leaving primary school are able to swim 25 metres.  Although Trafford’s overall swimming attainment is improving each year and is above the National Average; Trafford Leisure is passionate about improving these results, and expanding its opportunities for aquatic education.


The Mayor of Trafford, Councillor Tom Ross continues: “I had written off ever being able to swim and had lasting memories of getting into difficulties on a canoe trip. For me avoidance became the best tact. This all changed when I trained with Steven Taylor, my Trafford Leisure swimming teacher. Steven has taught me to feel safe and to actually enjoy the water. It’s been hard work but such fun. I want to be able to inspire and encourage others to learn to swim.”


Steven Taylor, Swim Well Manager at Sale Leisure Centre says: “It’s been fantastic working with Councillor Ross; he’s such a good example for our community.  Swimming has so many health benefits, and you are never too old to learn to swim.”


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