British Swimming is proud to confirm the launch of Pride in Water - a new network to support LGBT+ athletes, coaches, officials, support staff and all involved in aquatic sports who are passionate about inclusion within the disciplines.
The introduction of Pride in Water will seek to give everyone within aquatics the opportunity to provide safe and inclusive environments for all, and in a bespoke manner that fits the worlds of swimming, para-swimming, diving, artistic swimming, water polo and high diving.
The group will provide a space for like-minded members of the aquatics community to come together, including those who may not identify as LGBT+ but are keen to further support this cause.
As well as celebrating and giving greater awareness about the work and stories of aquatics sport stakeholders on relevant topics, Pride in Water will offer access to support for those who want it, in a safe and inclusive way, as well as sharing important educational messages and fostering a greater understanding across the network.
Those looking to get involved with the group or reach out for support can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the dedicated Twitter page @prideinwater.
CEO Jack Buckner and Board Director Adele Stach-Kevitz are confident Pride in Water will enhance the commitment by British Swimming to build greater inclusivity.
"We are proud that British Swimming is able to launch Pride in Water, as part of our continual improvement towards advancing support, inclusivity and engagement for all in aquatic sports,” they said.
"At British Swimming, we have taken the learning outcomes from the Advanced Equality Standard review and place huge value in applying them so we improve as an organisation in our aims to be more inclusive, open and friendly.
"Pride in Water is one way in which we can both promote and celebrate the openness of aquatic disciplines, while also doing more to ensure that those who identify as part of the LGBT+ community and allies truly feel safe, included and welcome at all levels.
"We hope that, in time, this support network will become synonymous with those qualities and will be accessed by athletes, coaches, support staff, officials and supporters of our sports."
The group also has the backing of five-time Olympian and multiple world champion Mark Foster.
"I am really proud to support this initiative. I think it's really important for our sport and our athletes to have an environment in which they can feel totally comfortable with who they are, and have role models around them," he said.
"I know for me as a swimmer, this would have been helpful, and I hope it can help in nurturing athletes and champions of the future."
British Swimming Performance Lifestyle Advisor Josh Rudd, who has set up the group, is looking forward to seeing the positive impact that Pride in Water can have for all.
"Thanks to the honest and open discussion from our National Governing Body, athletes and external partners over recent months, I'm excited to be able to launch Pride in Water - a fantastic new network hosted by British Swimming, but open to all within aquatics who are passionate about LGBT+ inclusion," he said.
"I hope the group will act as a support network for the LGBT+ community and allies across the sports, from club to elite level, alongside communicating and celebrating work within the sports loved by so many.
"It's also testament to British Swimming's commitment to embedding equality throughout the organisation.
"Personally, I hope the group's inception will have an impact on supporting the performance of everyone within the sports. I am confident a sustainable group of like-minded individuals can encourage the achievements and integration of LGBT+ members right across the aquatic disciplines.
“I welcome people to join via @prideinwater on Twitter or contact email@example.com to become a part of this exciting opportunity.”
You can visit the Pride In Water resource homepage HERE.