FEATURE4 January 2019

Dive in

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Features Impact Leisure & Arts UK Youth

Swim England has employed many insight techniques – not least behavioural science – to give robust evidence of the value of swimming to all its stakeholders. Rob Gray reports


It feels like an ideal day for a swim. The summer-heatwave sun blazes in the cloudless blue sky and, on the radio, Rob Brydon is wittily regaling listeners about his new film, Swimming with Men, a comedy about an all-male synchronised swimming team. 

A cooling dip would be lovely, but I’m here in Loughborough to talk about the ins and outs of aquatics, rather than to immerse myself in the water. The person ready to tell me all about deep dives relating to the subject – and how research is used in his organisation, as well as more widely – is Damian Stevenson, insight and partnerships director at Swim England.  

Stevenson joined what was then the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) in September 2014, having forged his research career at the likes of Boots, Nottingham Trent University and energy company E.ON. Next year, the sports ...