Allianz Swim Club: a new,
free-to-learn program for adults who can’t swim

21 July 2023
  • New research from Allianz shows almost 60% of Australian adults either can’t swim or want to be more confident in the water.
  • Key findings have identified that almost 20% of adult Australians ‘missed the boat’ by not learning to swim as a child and this has had a huge impact on their future lives.
  • Only 5% of those who didn’t learn as children feel confident in the water today, with the majority (62%) who ‘missed the boat’ feeling anxious, embarrassed, or afraid of the thought of being in a pool or open water.
  • This is despite 93% of all adults surveyed agreeing that swimming is an integral part of Australian life.
  • Australia has recently faced another spike in drowning deaths; with a new report showing 339 people have died from downing in the year to June, of whom 79% were adults. This represents a 15% increase in total drownings on 2020-21 and 24% above the national ten-year average (Royal Surf Life Saving, Drowning Report, 2022).
  • 90% of Australians agree there is a need for an adult swimming lesson program, and for those who ‘missed the boat’, 45% said that what stopped them from learning was that they never had an opportunity and one third said the cost of lessons. 
  • To make swimming safer and more accessible for all, Allianz Australia has partnered with AUSTSWIM and Masters Swimming Australia to launch ‘Allianz Swim Club’, a free, learn-to-swim, 8-week program designed for adults.

With a hot summer on the horizon, new research from Allianz Australia has revealed that while 93% of Australians agree that swimming is an integral part of Australian life, almost 60% of adult Australians either can’t swim or want to be more confident in the water. These statistics build on previous findings that one in four Australians can’t swim or are weak swimmers (Roy Morgan and Royal Surf Life Saving Society Community Survey 2021).

Allianz’s research found that almost 20% of adult Australians ‘missed the boat’ by not learning to swim as a child and this has had a huge impact on their lives. Nearly 30% of Australians with immigrant parents didn’t learn to swim as a child.

Only 5% of those who didn’t learn as a child feel confident in the water today, with the majority (62%) who ‘missed the boat’ feeling anxious, embarrassed, or afraid of the thought of being in a pool or open water.

In terms of what stops those who ‘missed the boat’ from swimming, 55% fear drowning, 44% fear big waves and 33% fear putting their head under the water. Interestingly, 41% of all Australians say their fear of sharks stops them from swimming.

The impact of wet weather and the pandemic has also compounded this problem, with Allianz’s research showing that one in five Australian adults feel their confidence in the water has fallen over the last few years.

To offer all Australians the best chance to enjoy all the benefits that swimming brings, Allianz Australia has partnered with AUSTSWIM and Masters Swimming Australia to create a unique and free learn to swim program that is not just about lessons, but about community and belonging.

Olympic champion and Allianz Swim Club Ambassador Cate Campbell said, “I moved to Australia when I was nine years old and joined my local swim club to meet people and make friends. And it’s the community aspect of Allianz Swim Club that really resonates with me. Not only will the program prevent drownings and help hundreds of adults feel confident in the water, but it will provide an opportunity to get more involved in their local community. I’m excited that the participants will get to discover the joys of swimming – a sport which has brought so much joy to my life.”

Allianz Australia Managing Director, Richard Feledy said, “At Allianz, everything we do is about inspiring confidence in tomorrow, not just for our customers, but for all Australians, and this promise is at the core of Allianz Swim Club. The program aims to help Australian adults who can’t swim, feel more confident in the water, and ultimately embrace the very best of Australian culture, of which swimming, water and the ocean are so central.

“90% of Aussies agree there is a need for an adult swimming lesson program. We wanted to act on this by offering free lessons in a fun, encouraging and non-judgmental environment to help these Australians be ready to enjoy the water in time for summer.”

The first Allianz Swim Club program will operate across 15 pools in NSW, QLD, VIC, WA, and SA with lessons commencing from the 9th of October.

Brad Low, Chief Executive Officer at AUSTSWIM said, “Teaching adults to swim is very different from teaching children. Adults are very aware of their fears and limitations, and this can be prohibitive for them in the learn-to-swim environment. They need an understanding and empathetic teacher who is sensitive to their needs. The AUSTSWIM teachers who are part of Allianz Swim Club have been trained in these areas and are well equipped to teach adult non-swimmers.”

Sarah Pisterman, General Manager at Masters Swimming Australia said, “Allianz Swim Club is a modern, inclusive, open and inviting swim club that rethinks the way we teach adults to swim. It is encouraging, fun, empathetic and removes all elements of judgement. It is a supportive environment specifically designed to address the barriers outlined in Allianz’s research.”

Not being able to swim has a big impact on being able to enjoy the best of what Australia has to offer, with the research showing that:

  • 60% of adult Australians would swim more if they were more confident in the water
  • Nearly 30% of Australian parents say their own worries about swimming holds them back from taking their children swimming as often as they’d like
  • Those that didn’t learn to swim as a child would look forward to exercising (46%), taking a beach holiday (38%) and swimming with friends (29%) if they were a more confident swimmer

Australians who can’t swim can register at to take part and be ready to be more confident in the water in time for summer.

About Allianz Swim Club:

  • An eight-week program, running in 15 pools across Australia
  • 800 spots are available for lessons starting in October
  • Lessons for those with no swimming ability and are offered on a first come, first served basis. They are available to all Australians aged 18+
  • Learning will be individualised and tailored to each adult in the class, acknowledging that not everyone will be at the same level
  • The aim is for participants to progress their swimming and water safety skills, learning to become comfortable in both shallow and deep water, all under the guidance of the swimming teacher
  • Swimmers are welcomed into an inclusive and supportive program with an introductory morning tea, private Facebook group and dedicated Swim Club ‘Meeter and Greeter’ to assist participants throughout the program
  • Participants will be gifted a branded merchandise pack during their first lesson to help them start their swimming journey (towel, cap, kickboard, t-shirt and drawstring bag)

About Masters Swimming Australia

Masters Swimming is the peak body for adult swimmers aged 18 and above, with 7 branches and over 200 clubs across the country. They are on a mission to provide an environment to encourage all adults, regardless of ability, to swim regularly to improve their general wellbeing.


AUSTSWIM has been Australia’s national organisation for the teaching of Swimming and Water Safety since 1979. The AUSTSWIM License is the industry standard for Swimming and Water Safety teachers. It is delivered and recognised in each state and territory of Australia, as well as in many countries overseas. The AUSTSWIM Teacher license is the most well-known, widely recognised and regarded accreditation in the industry.

Research Methodology

Research conducted by The Strategies with an online sample of N=1000 to qualified members of the Australian Dynata consumer insights panel between 28/06/2023 and 01/07/2023. All respondents were current Australian residents aged 18+.


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