Swimming participation England 2016-2019

Roughly 4.69 million people in England went swimming at least twice in the last 28 days. The survey was conducted online and gathered data from 177,876 respondents till May 2019. Swimming is the most popular sport among 5 to 10 year olds in England by far. In a different annual governmental survey, it was found that half of children in said age group had been participating in either swimming, diving or lifesaving activities. The second most popular type of sport was football, which becomes more popular overall as children get older.

Water sport increase

Water sports in the United Kingdom (UK) show a variety of activities that people take part in. In 2018, approximately 17 million people took part in outdoor water sport activity. There has been an increase in outdoor swimming overall. Boating activity has also increased in the past ten years to 7.3 percent of people in the UK in 2018.

Recreational boating

Recreational boating represents a big part of the outdoor recreation and water sports market in the UK. Approximately 700 thousand households own 1.2 million boats, of which the most popular type is the canoe/kayak, followed by small sailing boats. Half of boating activity takes place during summer time and 43 percent people do not always use a lifejacket.

Number of people participating in swimming in England from 2016 to 2019

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Release date

September 2019


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

November 2016 to May 2019

Number of respondents

177,876 respondents

Age group

16 years and older

Special properties

base varies

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

At least twice in the last 28 days. Any intensity, any duration.

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Statistics on "Sport in England: Public Funding and Participation in the UK "

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