Youngster Jack Makes Confident Splash in ASN Learn to Swim Class

29 March 2024
Young Jack Clews with his latest swimming certificate from Learn to Swim

Proud Jack, 9, with his latest swim certificate

Youngster Jack Clews in the swimming pool with Learn to Swim teacher Nathan McKechnie during an ASN class

Jack loves swimming classes with LTS teacher Nathan McKechnie

A YOUNG boy from South Lanarkshire has been making a splash in and out of the pool as his confidence skyrockets since learning to swim. 

Nine-year-old, Jack Clews who has autism and is non-verbal, joined an additional support needs (ASN) Learn to Swim class in South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture last year. 

Since joining the weekly ASN swim class, his confidence, communication, and social skills have grown significantly. 

Now, as part of Autism Awareness Day (2 April) Jack’s mum Claire wants to raise awareness of the social benefits for people of all abilities learning to swim. 

Hidden disabilities like autism, bring their own challenges so learning to swim in a supportive environment is critical.

Jack’s mum, Claire said: "Since joining the swim classes, Jack’s confidence has grown not only in the pool but in everyday life. He goes to other extracurricular activities, and you can see he is more engaged and keen to get more involved. 

“The programme, as well as Jack’s swim teachers, really tailor their approach to focus on visual cues rather than verbal which makes a huge difference. It just shows they understand how he learns. 

“Autism should never hinder anyone from learning to swim; to be able to be safe around water is a vital life skill, but we have first-hand experiences in how swimming can provide so much more. 

“Although Jack is non-verbal, he is learning new words through swimming. We are really proud of him, he has got his five-metre swimming certificate. We can tell he’s genuinely excited to go every week and get into the pool.”


South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture is one of 38 aquatic providers delivering The Learn to Swim Framework – a partnership between Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water – with the goal of creating ‘Generation Swim’, the next generation of safe and competent swimmers.

The Learn to Swim programme is open to everyone regardless of disability or skills levels, with the partnership committed to creating a supportive environment for all.

Euan Lowe, CEO of Scottish Swimming said: "Swimming provides countless benefits beyond safety. For autistic children like Jack, our programme builds confidence, communication, and independence.

“Jack's remarkable progress exemplifies how tailored instruction and support fosters skill development for children with additional needs. 

“His story highlights everything swimming can offer in terms of health, social growth, and achievement.”

The National Framework is delivered by 38 leisure trusts and aquatic providers in more than 160 pools across Scotland. 

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs at Scottish Water, said: “Learn to Swim gives all children the opportunity to learn and enjoy being in the water in a safe way.

“One of our aims to create a generation of safe and responsible swimmers, where children of all ages and abilities also get to experience the health and social benefits that swimming generates.

“Jack’s story is proof that everybody can and should learn to swim. Hopefully this will encourage more children and parents to experience the benefits of learning to swim.”

Vital Skills

The Learn to Swim Framework helps to create quality Learn to Swim environments for children from birth upwards where they can learn the vital skills to become safe and competent swimmers and get to experience the wider health and social benefits that swimming can offer as they progress through the aquatic pathway.  

Scottish Swimming support National Framework partners to develop their teachers with regular continued professional development and access to resources to help with their lesson delivery.

Learn to Swim aims to build a real legacy for Scotland – creating “Generation Swim” by improving water safety, and giving all children a real platform for success to achieve their full potential both in the pool and out.

For more information on the Learn to Swim programme, visit Learn to Swim