The UK’s most popular sport…Swimming

make-a-splash_51e4002e3654e_w587 FT v2Figures from Sport England earlier in the year (June, 2013) have revealed that the sport British people participate the most in is swimming.

Football may have a much larger following with the general public and from media corporations but more people have undertaken swimming from April 2012-13 than any other sport with 2.89 million doing it at least once a week, followed by athletics with 1.96m and then football (1.94m).

One of the main reasons listed for this is the poor weather in the UK during this period, which may well be a valid point. Out of the top ten most popular sports, the only ones to see an increase in numbers were swimming, tennis and boxing, all of which are indoors – tennis can be played inside and outside of course. Backed up by this is that the three sports which saw the biggest drop were rugby, golf and football – all suffering last winter with the flooding.

In general, however, more people are playing sport regularly. Male participation has gone up slightly since last year (up 44,000) but it is female participation that has seen a much larger take up, with 489,100 more women now playing sport. This could well be a result of GB’s female athletes’ huge success at London 2012, where if they were a separate country to the male athletes, they would finish 7th, level with Germany and ahead of France and arch-rivals Australia.

Have you seen similar figures in your sport or at your club? And do you think after a hot summer that participation will start to increase again? Please comment below.

For more details on the statistics, please visit

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