Free swimming in Wales was introduced in 2003. At the time, it was the first national free swimming programme. It aimed to increase participation among young people (aged 16 and under), and older people (aged 60 plus). Free swimming is funded by the Welsh Government and delivered by local authorities and since 2005 it has been managed by Sport Wales.
Following an independent nationwide review of the Free Swim initiative commissioned by the Welsh Government, changes are being made to the provision of free swimming across Wales, including Cardiff.
Based on evidence from the review, new guidelines that place an increased emphasis on free swimming for under 16s and over 60s from areas of deprivation, have been laid out by Welsh Government and Sport Wales, alongside a significant 50% reduction in their funding for the scheme.
In order to meet these new criteria, changes to free swimming provision in the capital's Better Cardiff leisure centres, operated by GLL, will take effect from October 1st 2019.
GLL have put together a programme that ensures some free swimming sessions for the over 60s will continue to be available in all seven Better Cardiff pools during term-time, alongside substantially increased opportunities for young people to access free casual swimming and learn to swim.
Details of the new programme are available at or by contacting your local leisure centre directly.
Your local leisure centre
Further information on the nationwide changes to the Free Swim Initiative can be found here