This project will use the output, a statistical model, from previous research (Jackson, Bartlett, Parboteeah) on profiling and predicting swimming demand in the UK to create a visual analysis and prediction tool for the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). With the Olympics renewing interest in sport, this is an ideal opportunity to validate the model and to add a visual interface that will enable end-users easy access to what is currently a complex SPSS interface. By testing the model on swimming data and other sports, and providing a user-friendly interface, it will bring the tool closer to commercialisation. To achieve this, a number of objectives have been identified:

  1. Conduct a systems requirement analysis to determine how the ASA would use the visualisation analysis and prediction tool, and understand their needs for the system.
  2. Design the analysis and prediction tool using UML and liaise with project stakeholders (as identified in objective 1) to determine the final design.
  3. Create the historical analysis of part of the visualisation tool. This aspect will take historical data inputs, conduct the analysis identified during the previous research, and present a visual representation of the results. The view would be customisable and could focus on certain areas/demographics if desired. Output – visual data analysis and presentation tool for swimming.
  4. Test and validate the results and interface of the tool.
  5. Construct the prediction component of the visualisation tool. This aspect will use the approach identified in the previous research project to conduct analysis on the same dataset previously imported (objective 3) and make predictions on swimming numbers and factors. Output – visual demand prediction tool for swimming.
  6. Test and validate the results and interface of the tool.
  7. Once tested and validated, explore opportunities to apply the modelling and visualisation techniques to swimming on a worldwide scale, and other sports to aid with potential commercialisation of the tool. Output – visual demand prediction tool for other specific sports.

The outputs of this project will have significant societal impacts.  The positiveimpact of participation in sport and active recreation on physical health is now well accepted. The overall aim of the ASA is to increase the number of people who swim. Better understanding the reasons for both participation and non-participation, as well as being able to easily analyse and interpret the data will help achieve this aim and, ultimately, increase the health of the nation, both physically and mentally.   Understanding of localised factors for swimming participation will enable campaigns to be tailored specifically with the aim to break down the barriers facing participation within certain communities and under-represented groups.   Accompanying this impact on well- being and health comes the economic benefits of there being less resources spent on health care, where currently considerably more medical costs are incurred for inactive people.  Thus increased participation potentially will reduce premature mortality.  Additionally the project will create new business models for leisure centres and the like based upon the embedded knowledge from understanding the localised factors for participation.  One of the five legacy promises of the previous Governments published Legacy Action Plan(June 2008) was to make the UK a world-leading sporting nation: this included a commitment to help at least two million more people in England be more active by 2012.  The output of this project will enable analysis of this legacy with relation to swimming.  It will also enable informed decisions on campaigns, like free swimming to the over-60 and under-16 age groups that some local authorities are endorsing.
It is also envisaged that this tool will be able to do some post event evaluation, to assess any extra interest in sport generated by the Olympics, making this project very timely. Beyond swimming, the model will be adapted so it can be applied to other sports. This enable benefits to the country as a whole, as it will enable coordination of leisure resources in a particular region; having the knowledge to know when and how to target a particular audience and, having the ability to accurately predict demand and usage, brings clear economic benefit in times of austerity.