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Date posted 26 May 2021

Geordie Shore star James Tindale has revealed his phobia of water as he partners with national governing body and charity, The Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) and leisure operator Better for International Learn to Swim Week.

James Tindale’s fears stem from a traumatic experience that occurred when he was just a toddler, where he nearly drowned. To add to the psychological trauma, a similar incident occurred when he was a young adult, resulting in James never learning how to swim.

These phobias have inspired James to partner with the STA charity as part of International Learn to Swim Week (24th-30th May), to raise awareness of adults not being able to swim.

By partnering with James for International Learn to Swim Week, STA has the opportunity to highlight the dangers of young men pretending how to swim in front of friends on holiday, through shame or embarrassment; something James himself can relate to and believes is a major issue. Although 88% of people in the UK believe they are able to swim, a shocking 55% of males do not have essential water safety skills which then results in water related casualties. Perhaps more shocking, 1 in 5 adults in England cannot swim effectively.  The latest statistics from WAID (2019) also show that 82% of all accidental drownings in the UK are males.

James Tindale: “Not being able to swim has been a huge issue for me. From the embarrassment when on lad’s holidays, to the fear of going into the water alone, it’s had a big impact on my life. That’s why I’m so pleased to be partnering with STA for International Learn to Swim Week, to finally tackle the problem and do something about it. Hopefully this will encourage others to admit their lack of swimming ability, and not to put themselves in dangerous situations like I’ve previously done.”

As part of James’ collaboration with STA and Better, the UK’s largest operator of swimming pools, James has begun 1-on-1 swimming lessons at Newcastle’s East End Pool, with the hope he’ll be in a position to swim effectively and safely later this year.

Emma Lewis, head of swimming development at Better said: “Swimming is not only a crucial lifeskill but also a great form of non-weight bearing exercise and a recreational activity loved by many.  But there still remains some social stigma around being unable to swim as an adult.  James’s commitment to learning to swim and his support for International Learn to Swim Week is phenomenal.  We hope he’ll inspire many other adult non-swimmers to take the plunge and discover the multitude of benefits that swimming can offer.”

STA is a national governing body for swimming with over 12,000 members, and year by year they continue to develop qualifications in swimming teaching, lifesaving and leisure management to support the needs of the industry.


The STA also started an incredible initiative in 2019, the Breaking Barriers project.  This is an extension of their existing commitment to promoting inclusiveness, integrity and collaboration in grassroots learn to swim programmes. The ongoing campaign shares the stories of so many special individuals and their unique stories on how learning to swim has massively benefited their lives. These include people such as 71-year-old Glenis who finally faced her fears of swimming and water with the encouragement of her 8-year-old granddaughter and other people who have learnt to swim at an advanced age, like James.