Swim England apologises over advice to women on how to hide flabby

“This page explicitly states that women wanting to buy swimwear should first scrutinise their bodies for their flaws and buy swimming costumes which make their bodies look as close to a feminine ideal as possible.”Former competitive swimmer Catherine Oliver agreed, tweeting: “A huge reason I quit competitive swimming at 15 was feeling incredible uncomfortable of my body in a swimming costume.”This is hugely disappointing @Swim_England. You should be supporting swimmers of all abilities, shapes, and sizes, not shaming them!”Swim England responded to criticism, and said in a statement:  “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is an old web page that does not represent the views of Swim England and the content has now been removed. We apologise for any offence caused and hope this doesn’t put you off swimming.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. She wrote in a letter: “I feel pretty jaded and used to sexism by now, but I was pretty shocked to find this material published by the national governing body for swimming in England. This is so damaging. When you have low self-esteem/a negative relationship with your body (which a lot of women do bc patriarchy), exercise like swimming is so good for your relationship with mind & body – but messages like this create even more barriers to getting involved. https://t.co/KNoofFTtk0— Emily (@emily_wight) October 30, 2018 Swim England has apologised over advice published on its website for budding swimmers, which advised women to hide their “flabby stomachs” and “boyish figures.”On a page promoting swimming as exercise, the UK’s official swimming body said women should  “draw attention towards [their] more appealing characteristics” when choosing a swimsuit.The article suggested how women could “accentuate curves” or hide a“boyish body”.It also said that women with “flabby stomachs” should choose a “loose tankini instead of a bikini or 1-piece” and warned that bikinis “totally expose a jiggly belly, and trying to squeeze into a one-piece will not slim your stomach, only emphasise it”.The article suggested that overweight women wear dark colours to “minimise” their shape.The organisation’s stated aim is to “help people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely, and compete in all our sports” and to “inspire everyone to enjoy the water in the way that suits them”.However, many complained that their advice about swimwear could put women off swimming.PhD student Simone Webb found the page when researching how to get back into swimming again, and complained to the organisation about the “sexism”.

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