Swimming Clubs in the North West


So you have attended swimming lessons in your local pool and followed the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme. You have earned your swimming badges stages 1 – 7 and are now ready to move on?  What are your next steps? What do I do? What types of clubs are there? There are lots of questions you may want to ask and we have tried to answer some of these below:-


What is an affiliated club?

An affiliated club is a member of Swim England and is affiliated to one of the eight regions. The North West region provides the following benefits of Affiliation to its clubs:-

  • Insurance cover (which includes civil liability, personal accident and legal advice)
  • Opportunities for training, licensing and CPD gained by teachers and coaches
  • Club-related initiatives such as SwimMark and AASE
  • A structured competitive pathway
  • Access to the Swim England-employed clubs team through regional offices to help your club and its members achieve your full potential

What types of clubs are there?

There are three main types of clubs, one of which will be suitable for your needs. Swim England North West have 153 affiliated clubs in the region ranging from small recreational clubs who train once or twice a week to highly competitive clubs offering 16 hours training a week to its elite squad. 


Recreational Swimming club

What does the word “Recreational” mean?  It relates to activities which are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be “fun”. A recreational club is for swimmers looking for a more relaxed, non –competitive atmosphere and often provides for additional social activities. The sessions cater for swimmers of all abilities and focus on technique stamina, fitness, and to develop and refine existing skills, with sets tailored to the abilities of swimmers. Several clubs hold mini friendly galas to give swimmers a chance to track their progress during the year. If a swimmer enjoys competing they can then look to join a local competitive club. Swimmers are usually classed as category 1 membership with volunteer coaches and committee.


Competitive Swimming Club.

The real focus on becoming a competitive swimmer is when you take Stages 8-10. By the time you reach Stage 10 you will be completing a set lasting 1600m. The next step is to take your competitive swimmer aspirations to the next level. 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. It is the same if you want to get into open water swimming. A Competitive club competes against other teams or clubs at the local, regional or national level.  The club will prepare you with tailored sessions according to age and ability for competitions appropriate to individuals.  Using the Athlete Development support pathway as a guide, qualified coaches will deliver a variety of both pool and land training sessions. There are a wide range of licensed meets from level 4 to level 1 which your coach will advise you on which is best suited to your level of swimming. The number of sessions and time spent training per week will also be tailored to your individual needs, age and ability.


Adult/Masters swimming club

Masters swimming is essentially swimming for over 18s and there are Masters swimming clubs all across the region. It encompasses casual fitness swimming to highly-organised competitive swimming. How far you go is up to you, Masters swimming clubs are open to all with an emphasis on fun. When you join any of Swim England’s Masters swimming clubs, it will open you up to racing. This may be regionally, nationally or internationally. If you do want to race competitively in England you’ll need to be a Swim England member category 2 which your club will register you.  (See below)


University swimming clubs (non-affiliated)

University Swimming Club consists of swimmers of a mixed ability, ranging from national swimmers to swimmers who have competed for their school or local club. These clubs also welcome a large variety of swimmers from top athletes to those who wish to train to increase their fitness or as part of triathlon/water polo training. Training schedules offer a wide variety of training including sprints, distance, resistance, tapering, technique work and starts & turns. Swimmers can be selected to compete in BUCS events. There may also be an offer of land training to all swimmers to enhance strength and agility fitness in the pool which can be based round different circuits or sets. University clubs main competitions throughout the year are the short course & long course individual BUCS championships, the BUCS team championships and the Christie Cup. Clubs may also enter the Varsity cup and other friendly competitions throughout the year. Swimmers will be selected based on performance at previous competitions, performance at training and attendance at events. Social events are also an important part of the calendar. University members do not have to be registered as a Swim England member, unless they are entering licensed meets or the club is affiliated to the region.


How do I become a club member of Swim England?

People become a club member of Swim England through an English Club. They do not apply themselves. Your club’s Registration Officer uses the Swim England Online Membership System (OMS) to register members.

There are three main categories of annual club membership. These are category one, two and three. There is an overview of each below.


Category one membership

This is for individuals who are part of a club and are learning to swim or are swimming at any level within the club network.

It is not for people who compete in open competition in any sport, unless the event has an exemption under Swim England Law or is designated as Low Level Competition.


Category two membership

Category two membership is our biggest category as it is for people who want to compete and be part of a structured competitive pathway. It is for your club members who want to compete in competitions not exempted under Swim England law, or designated as a Low Level Competition.


Category three membership

Category three membership is for anyone involved in a club who isn’t covered by categories one and two, such as volunteers, coaches and teachers. You can find more detail about category three.


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


Find a club

Simple Share Buttons