USA Swimming, the governing body responsible for organizing competitive swimming in the U.S. as well as the Olympics, launched a new campaign to encourage children to get in the pool and swim.
According to Sports & Fitness Industry Association (2013), competitive swimming ranks as the country's 17 th most popular team sport, which is pretty bad to say the least. While its popularity hasn't necessarily declined in recent years, it certainly isn't boasting the participation levels of sports like football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, or even hockey. In an effort to increase the popularity of swimming, USA Swimming is asking kids to exchange their basketballs and footballs for cannonballs.
One of the commercials released by USA Swimming shows a young girl jumping into the water, with the camera following her every motion through and below the surface. During this serene moment of cinematography, a voice actor asks the question: “ Basketball, softball, cannonball, which sounds the most fun to you? ” The commercial ends with a message asking audience members to visit swimtoday.org, along with the hashtag #funnestsport at the body.
USA Swimming is also promoting its swim campaign with posters, such as the one depicted here. This poster reveals a boy who's sitting inside the water at the end of a cannonball jump, along with the same message: “ Basketball, softball, cannonball, which sounds the most fun to you?”
Swimming is a fun and rewarding sport that people of all ages can enjoy. However, there's a certain barrier that prevents many children from trying it. Being that it's a water-based sport, kids may not have immediate access to a pool, or they may not have the appropriate gear. Matt Farrell notes, however, that children who give it a shot will likely enjoy the unique experience and culture of swimming.
“If a kid joins our sport duped by the campaign thinking it’s all cannonballs, laughs and giggles they will find themselves on the soccer field much quicker ,” said Mr. Farrell, chief marketing officer for USA Swimming. “ But if they give it a shot, hang with it for a few months and experience the culture of the sport, then I like our chances against any sport out there .”
Will this campaign have an effect on children by encouraging them to take up swimming instead of other, more popular sports? It's too early to say at this point, but it can't hurt. With summer still fresh in kids' minds, there's no better time than now to jump in the pool and swim.