Summaya Mughal (picture credit: @SummayaMughal / Twitter)

Podcast presenter Summaya Mughal explores the cultural boundaries that stopped her learning to swim during childhood

Summaya Mughal, 28, couldn’t swim, so she began exploring why cultural barriers stopped her from learning during her school years.

Enlisting the help of Olympic legends Rebecca Adlington and Alice Dearing, Summaya, a BBC Radio Leicester presenter, was determined learning how to swim, and even got her dad involved!

Now her podcast series ‘Brown Gal Can’t Swim’ aims to understand why many South Asian women are less likely to swim, to break down misconceptions, and to encourage them to try it out.

The podcast sees Ms Mughal challenged to swim 500m (1,640ft) in eight weeks, with Olympians including Ms Adlington and Alice Dearing giving her a helping hand.

Summaya says: “I’ve spent over 20 years embarrassed about not having a skill it feels like kids have.”

“This podcast will see me uncover the reasons behind why other South Asian women can’t or don’t swim regularly.

“I aim to break down misconceptions about swimming, and encourage members of our South Asian communities to take the plunge and learn to swim with me.

“I even get my dad involved – something I would never have imagined when I was younger.

“The journey has tested me physically and emotionally but I’m hoping it makes a difference and encourages others to learn to swim too. After all, it could save your life.”

Rebecca Adlington says: “Swimming is such an important life skill.

“You can’t live your life without seeing water in any capacity. It sounds like a really simple thing but it’s more the confidence that you have in water that will help save your life.”

Kay Wright, editor at BBC Radio Leicester, said: “This is an eye-opening documentary, one that we can all take learnings from.

“We are so incredibly proud of Summaya. We have seen how physically and emotionally gruelling this challenge has been for her, and now it will be available for everyone to see all her hard work.”

Brown Gal Can’t Swim is available on BBC Sounds from Monday 10th October.