How to become a competitive swimmer

Whether you are an aspiring athlete with disabilities or not the process of becoming a competitive swimmer is the same. You need to:

1 - Learn to swim and develop technique
2 - Join a club


Starting at swimming lessons
At swimming lessons in your local pool you should follow the ASA Learn to Swim Pathway. You start by earning swimming badges and certificates for Stages 1-7.

While working through these stages you can earn awards such as the Preliminary Competitive Start Award to help you start developing as a competitive swimmer.

The real focus on starting to learn to compete is when you take Stages 8-10. By the time you reach Stage 10 you will be completing a set lasting 1600m with timed turn-arounds, swimming 1500m continuously, and performing a relay.

Become a competitive swimmer - join a club
To take your competitive swimmer aspirations to the next level your best opportunity is to join an ASA affiliated club, and become a member of the ASA through the club. This will give you expert tuition and guidance, and ensure you have a structure that enables you to develop as a swimmer.

It is the same if you want to get into open water swimming. There aren't really open water clubs, you do it as part of a pool swimming club. You will get expert tuition, guidance, and the chance to develop as a swimmer.

If you are a swimmer with a disability seeking to enter Para-Swimming then look out for Hub Clubs. These provide assessment opportunities to become a Para-swimmer and are located at local swimming clubs. Read more about Hub Clubs and how to contact them here.

Finding a swimming club in England

There are two ways to find a club:

1 - Use Pool Finder to locate your local pool with clubs and get in contact. Use our Pool Finder look up - simply put in your postcode and then filter for swimming clubs

2 - Let us do the hard work for you. Fill in a short form and someone will be in contact with details of your nearest club. 

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