Department of Health and Social Care
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News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 24 July 2009

Are your kids bored of breaststroke? Fed-up of front crawl? Think they can do better than backstroke and butterfly?

Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham is calling on kids up and down the country to help Swim4Life create a brand new swimming stroke.

The national competition to kick off Swim4Life, part of Change4Life, asks youngsters to send their ideas, including a description of how they came up with their new stroke, a picture that inspired it and a suggested name.

The competition is all about getting kids moving in the water where their bodies have to work harder than on dry land - be it the dolphin, the penguin or the wriggly worm stroke.

Secretary of State, Andy Burnham said:

“Taking the kids swimming is a great way of making sure they’re moving around and having fun.

“We know that a huge number of people have taken the opportunity to swim for free since we introduced our free swimming scheme in April.

“I hope this Swim4Life competition will see even more families take the plunge and head to their local pool to think up an inventive new stroke.”

The swimming stroke competition marks the start of Swim4Life, a new part of Change4Life. Over the next few weeks selected local papers will carry a free Swim4Life poster crammed full of fun facts and swimming games, and parents will be able to download free swimming tips and advice for families on getting more active through swimming from

Swimming is a great way to the get the 60 active minutes kids need everyday. It’s also a great way for families to be active together over the summer months.

The Swim4Life competition will be judged by a panel of experts including coaching expert Ian Armiger. The winner will be announced by Andy Burnham in September, when he completes The Great North Swim 2009 in Lake Windermere.

Swimming expert Ian Armiger said:

“Asking children to invent a new stroke is a great idea, one that’ll get them more active in the water and using their imaginations.

“Swimming is a brilliant way for people of all ages to get moving, and thinking of a new stroke should be a perfect excuse to get to the pool this summer.”

The inventor of the winning stroke will win a trip to Alton Towers Water Park for a family of four (two adults and two children) including travel, overnight accommodation, entrance to the park and spending money.


Notes to Editors

For media enquiries only please contact the Department of Health newsdesk on 020 7210 5221It’s important kids are safe in the water and so an adult swimmer should always supervise kids trying out new things in the pool Entries must be submitted including stroke name, 100 words or less of the description of the stroke, a drawing or photograph of your inspiration, name, age and contact details to: Swim4Life Competition, P.O. Box 2656, London, W1A 3RR or to no later than 17th August 2009To find out where kids aged 16 years and under and adults aged over 60 can swim for free, visit The Great North Swim is a one mile open water swim in England’s largest Lake, Windermere. Following its launch in September 2008 the event has already become world renowned, having been voted 5th in the Top 100 Open Water Swims in the World (posted on, 2009). The Swim will take place on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September 2009, attracting over 5,000 swimmers. For more information visit http://www.greatswim.orgChange4Life is a groundbreaking campaign bringing government, community groups, health workers, teachers, and businesses together. Our shared goal is to help everyone eat well, move more and live longer. For more information visit The Free Swimming statistics can be viewed on the DCMS website here: Terms and conditions for the Swim4Life stroke competition can be seen at


Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221

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