Olympic Gold Medallist Duncan Scott marks Learn to Swim success in Orkney

Young swimmers in Orkney welcome six-time Olympic medallist and Commonwealth champion Duncan Scott as he ‘dives in’ to their swimming lessons.

Duncan will be in the county to mark the success of the Learn to Swim programme in Orkney which sees around 646 children each week take part in regular swimming lessons with The Pickaquoy Centre and Orkney Islands Council.

The swimming superstar will be meeting some of Orkney’s youngest swimmers at Learn to Swim sessions in The Pickaquoy Centre and then will head across to Stromness Swimming Pool to meet some of Orkney’s club swimmers, offering them advice and tips as they take part in one of their regular training sessions.

Duncan represented Great Britain at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last year, and more recently, Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. He made history after winning four medals in Tokyo, more than any other British athlete at a single Olympic Games, and became Team Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games athlete of all time.

An all-rounder in the pool, Scott has swum internationally in 100 and 200 metres freestyle 200 metres butterfly, 200 metres and 400 metres individual medley.

Scottish Swimming’s National Learn to Swim Framework in partnership with Scottish Water, is delivered by Leisure Trusts, Local Authorities and swimming lesson providers throughout Scotland. It aims to raise standards and achieve consistency in swimming lessons across the country.

Learning to swim is an essential life skill that helps children and adults to be more confident, safer and competent in water and can ultimately save lives. As a sport, swimming is unique with lifelong health and social benefits from birth upwards and opportunities in a range of aquatic disciplines and water sports.

For parents, encouraging your child to learn to swim is one of the most important skills you will teach them. If you get children interested in swimming when they’re young there’s a good chance they’ll enjoy the water for the rest of their life and remain fit and healthy.

James Linklater, Managing Director of The Pickaquoy Centre, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Duncan Scott is coming to Orkney, and what a brilliant opportunity for our young swimmers to speak to and swim with such a successful athlete.

“Given his recent success at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and becoming most decorated Scottish competitor across all Commonwealth Games, Duncan is right up there with the best athletes of our time.

“We very much look forward to welcoming him to ‘Picky’ and hope he enjoys his visit.”

Councillor Gwenda Shearer is the Chair of Orkney Islands Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee. She said: “What a treat for these youngsters to meet Duncan – who for our young swimmers, especially those taking part in competitive swimming – will be an absolute inspiration. 

“The Learn to Swim programme has been such a roaring success in Orkney.  Those young swimmers we see taking part in competitions, galas and even inter-county clashes all started out their journey through swimming lessons in our local facilities.

“Orkney has a tremendous tradition of producing fantastic swimmers and I hope that an opportunity to meet their hero will spur the next generation on to even greater things in the pool – all the more important as the clock ticks down to the Island Games coming to Orkney in 2025.”

Duncan Scott commented: “I am very much looking forward to visiting Orkney and seeing children enjoying the learn to swim programmes offered there as part of the Scottish Swimming Scottish Water Learn to Swim Framework, but also joining in a club training session where I hope I can offer some top tips to Orkney’s young swimmers!”

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