The club has started to work towards gaining Swim 21 accreditation from the ASA. Swim 21 is recognised by Sport England as a scheme that qualifies for their Clubmark accreditation and therefore any club that gains Swim 21 accreditation automatically receives Clubmark status. 


What is Clubmark?

Clubmark is a cross-sport accreditation scheme for clubs with junior sections and was introduced to provide common criteria to ensure good practice in all sports. It allows parents to easily recognise quality clubs, whatever the sport, because of the cross-sport quality kitemark (much like in other professions!). 


What is Swim 21?

Basically it is a model that enables teachers, coaches and administrators to run a safe and effective swimming club. It is based on the principles of Long Term Athlete Development (see below for a brief explanation of this) and its main focus is on the needs of the athletes by providing them with the best possible support and environment in order that they can reach their full potential.


A club will eventually fall into one of four Swim 21 levels:

·    Teaching - the emphasis here is on quality teaching.

·    Skill Development - athletes develop their technical skill within a quality programme of coaching and competition.

·    Competitive Development - athletes are part of a quality training and development programme that consistently enables them to compete successfully at regional and national levels.

·    Performance - athletes have access to training and support services in a focussed, performance development environment.


Assignment to a particular level depends upon a range of factors but at each level a club needs to provide ‘sound governance’, make available a certain amount of water time, and have a chief coach who has gained a minimum coaching  qualification.


What are the benefits of Swim 21 accreditation?

The benefits of becoming a Swim 21 accredited club are mainly seen through the process itself. The process provides a structure for the management of the club (it offers us the chance of developing a ‘club manual’ that should provide the basis for the long-term and sustainable development of the club).


Some key outcomes and benefits are:

·        Parents can be assured that a Swim 21 club is implementing the ASA Child Protection Policy and that the coaches/teachers and volunteers have all been CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checked in line with national guidance.

·        The club’s coaches/teachers and volunteers are appropriately qualified and have access to continuous professional development to ensure they are up to date with current teaching and coaching principles/methods.

·        The club has access to sufficient pool time to ensure that swimmers are able to develop in line with the Long Term Athlete Development model.

·        The club is pro-active in developing a pathway that ensures that swimmers can continue to progress and develop.

·        The club has greater opportunities to access additional funding through the ASA, Sport England and other agencies.

·        Recognition by the ASA and by Sport England that the club is providing a safe, effective and child friendly service for all members. 


How do we achieve Swim 21 accreditation?

The first stage of the Swim 21 process is to conduct an Audit. This is designed to provide the club with an assessment of what is currently being done and what issues need to be addressed. The audit is split into three ‘modules’:

·        Part A: Compliance

·        Part B: Workforce Development

·        Part C: Athlete Development


The Compliance module covers the management or governance of a club. The Workforce Development module supports the training and development of the coaches/teachers, officials and other volunteers to ensure they are aware of the latest developments, issues and legislation. The Athlete Development module concentrates of the technical aspects of the sport and the needs of the swimmers.


The second stage of the process is the development of an Action Plan based upon the outcome of the Audit. This identifies the work that is needed to tackle the gaps identified in the audit. The third stage is the production of a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that the club meets the required standards of each of the three modules.  

What is Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)?

LTAD is a long-term approach to maximising individual potential and involvement in sport by achieving optimal training, competition and recovery. It highlights the importance of having high quality coaches working with and understanding the development of children and young people as they embark upon their sporting career. Although a primary aim of LTAD is to produce greater numbers of performers who are capable of achieving at the highest level, it also seeks to provide a platform for athletes (swimmers) to fulfil their potential and encourages them to a life-long commitment to sport and exercise.


How does a club gain ASA Swim 21 accreditation?

When a club has gathered all of the evidence (and this can take many months especially if administrative systems have to be set up), this is submitted for assessment by the Swim 21 panel set up by the ASA North West Region.


Swim 21 accreditation is valid for 4 years but this is subject to an annual self assessment and declaration by the club that they continue to satisfy Swim 21 requirements. Failure to comply will result in the withdrawal of Swim 21 accreditation by the ASA with Sport England being notified of this.


During the 4th year of accreditation, each club has to complete a fresh audit and make a fresh submission to the regional Swim 21 panel.



All clubs who have achieved Swim 21 are allowed to use the Swim 21 logo on their letterheads, promotional material, and website. They also receive a certificate from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) to display at their training venue to promote their achievement

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