Nearly 160 pupils will take to the pool at Harvey Hadden for a Victorian-style swimming celebration.

Instructors will step back into the 1890s and dress in Victorian swimwear to teach local children to swim.

Galas, water safety sessions and fun lessons are all part of celebrations for 125 years of school swimming being part of the National Curriculum.

The pool will be filled with 157 Nottingham pupils as part of the ASA’s (Amateur Swimming Association) “Big School Swim”.

More than 160 primary schools across the country took part in the national event last month. 13 primary schools in Nottingham will be holding their own Big School Swim this week.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills at Nottingham City Council, says: “We are working closely with schools to achieve the best swimming results for every child in the city and creating skills for life, so celebrating this year’s anniversary year is all the more special.

“Our National Curriculum swimming achievements are the highest they’ve ever been, with an 11% rise over three years.

“Not only does swimming bring health and sporting opportunities for children, it is also an essential life skill and we must continue to keep lessons at the forefront of the curriculum.”

Jon Glenn, Head of Learn to Swim at the ASA, said: “Swimming has been taught in schools since 1890 and while the methods may have changed, the message that every child should have the opportunity to learn how to swim and know how to be safe in and around water, remains as strong as ever.

“Swimming is a brilliant activity that once learned, can be enjoyed forever. It is also a great way for children to stay healthy, and opens the door to a vast number of other fun, water-based sports.

“For many children, swimming at school will be their only opportunity to learn this vital skill, which is why it is so great that so many schools have joined us in celebrating the importance of school swimming with the Big School Swim.”

As part of these 125th celebrations, the annual Nottingham schools swimming galas will be held at Harvey Hadden Sports Village. These will be the first competitive schools competitions being held in the new 50m pool at the Bilborough site.

During the gala week, Kelsie Campbell, from Nova Swimming Squad, who has just returned from representing Jamaica in recent championships, will be giving out medals, holding a demonstration and talking to children at the three events.

Seventeen-year-old Kelsie is a NOVA ‘A’ Squad swimmer and currently trains on the county’s elite squad, Nova Centurion, which has allowed her to compete on a national and international stage from the age of nine. She has previously qualified for both Olympic and Commonwealth Games trials.

The swimming galas are as follows:

  • Monday 16 May – Non-Swimmer Primary Gala Harvey Hadden –30am-11.30am
  • Wednesday 18 May – Key Stage 2 Championship Gala Harvey Hadden –30am-11.30am



Fernwood School were the first winners in our schools swimmin gala on Thursday 12 May. They were Key Stage 3 winners. Here’s their team pictured with Kelsie Campbell.

Fernwood gala