Have you or your child attended swimming lessons at your local pool or with a private lesson provider, following the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme? Have you earned your swimming badges for Swim England stages 1-7 and are now ready to move on? We outline below the next steps and what types of clubs you could access.


What is an Affiliated Club?

An affiliated club is a member of Swim England and is affiliated to one of the eight regions. Club membership of Swim England provides the following benefits to its affiliated clubs:

  • Insurance cover (which includes civil liability, personal accident and legal advice)
  • Opportunities for training, licensing and continuous professional development gained by teachers and coaches
  • Club-related initiative such as SwimMark and Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE)
  • A structured competition pathway
  • Access to the Swim England and Swim England North West Clubs team and Regional Office to support clubs and its members including policies and procedures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of members (i.e. Wavepower).


What types of clubs are there?

Swim England North West have 140 affiliated clubs in the region of all disciplines ranging from small recreational clubs who train once or twice a week to highly competitive clubs offering over 16 hours training a week to its elite athletes.

Recreational Clubs

Recreational relates to activities which are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and considered to be ‘fun’. A recreational club is for athletes who are looking for a more relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere and often provides for additional social activities. These sessions cater for athletes of all abilities and focus on key discipline skills, stamina and fitness with the training tailored to the abilities of the athletes. Several clubs hold small competitions to give swimmer a chance to track their progress. If an athlete enjoys competing then they can look to join a local competitive club. Athletes are usually classed as category one membership with volunteer coaches and committee.

Competitive Clubs

Once you have completed the Learn to Swim Stages 1-7, and you have decided you like the competitive side of sport then the next step is to join a competitive club. By joining a Swim England affiliated club and becoming a member of Swim England through the club, this will ensure you get expert tuition and guidance. A competitive club competes against other teams or clubs at a local, Regional or National Level. The club will prepare you for competitions with tailored sessions according to the age and ability of its athletes. Using the Athlete Development Support Pathway (ADSP) as a guide, qualified coaches will deliver a variety of both pool and land training sessions in order to support their athletes. The number of sessions and time spent training per week will be tailored to the individual needs, age and ability of each athlete. For most competition, athletes are required to have a club compete membership.

Adult/Masters Clubs

There are a number of clubs across the North West who accommodate for individuals who are over the age of 18. It encompasses casual fitness to highly organised competitive clubs. When you join any of Swim England’s Masters Club, it will open you up to competing.

University Clubs (non-affiliated)

University clubs consist of mixed ability athletes, ranging from National to School or Local Club level. Training schedules offer a wide variety of training in accommodate all individuals associated. There may also be an offer of land training for athletes to enhance their strength, agility and coordination to support the training completed within the pool environment. University clubs main competition throughout the year are the British University and College Sport (BUCs) events. Athletes are selected by their university based on performance. University members do not have to be registered as a Swim England member, unless they are entered a competition under Swim England competition rules and regulations.

How do I become a club member of Swim England?

Individuals become a member of Swim England through the club they wish to join, they do not apply themselves. The club’s membership secretary uses the Swim England Online Membership System (OMS) to register its members.

There are three main categories of annual club membership. These are Club Train, Club Compete and Club Support, below is an overview of each category.

Club Train Membership

This is for individuals who are part of a club, however do not want to participate in the competitive side of their discipline. Club Train membership is predominately not for people who want to compete in an open competition unless the event is exempt under Swim England Law or is designated as a low level competition.

Club Compete Membership

Club Compete membership is the biggest membership within Swim England, as it is for individuals who which to compete and be part of the structured competition pathway. This membership is for individuals who wish to compete in competitions unless the event is exempt under Swim England Law or is designated as a low level competition.

Club Support Membership

Club Support membership is for anyone involved in a club who isn’t covered by Club Train or Club Compete. These individuals include: volunteers, coaches and teachers, committee, welfare officer and team managers.

More information on Membership Categories can be found here.

If you would like more information on joining your local club why not get in touch by using our find a club function.

To find a Club local to you, use our Find A Club tool: CLICK HERE

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