An introduction to the ASA

The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) has been in existence since 1869. It was the first governing body of swimming to be established in the world and today remains the English national governing body for swimming, diving, water polo, open water and synchronised swimming.

Although the ASA has a long history, it has moved on considerably since its foundation and is now a vibrant modern governing body providing leadership to the industry of swimming in so many ways.

It supports over 1,000 affiliated swimming clubs through a National, Regional and sub-regional structure. It endeavours to ensure every athlete – whatever their age or level of experience – belongs to a club that provides the best possible support and environment through schemes such as swim21, the ASA’s 'Quality Mark' for clubs.

It organises competition throughout England, from grass-roots to elite level, including the highly successful Age Group and Youth Championships that attract more than 1,600 young swimmers aged 11-17, and the ASA Nationals.

The English talent programme is a world-leading, seamless pathway that puts in place performance opportunities for swimmers to develop their skills and potential.

Click here to read the ASA's 2013-2017 Strategy. Click here to access the ASA's annual reports.The ASA's aim of encouraging more people to swim – and have fun swimming more often – starts with creating a magic ‘first’ moment. The ASA operates a world renowned Learn to Swim award scheme based on the ASA Learn to Swim Pathway, a programme the ASA has developed to take children through from their first splash to full competence in the water. With close to 2 million certificates and badges issued to children all over the world last year alone, the ASA Awards Scheme continues to be by far the most successful ever in British Sport.

Swimming is the number one participation sport, with over 20m people swimming every year, but the ASA is dedicated to giving more people, more opportunities to swim for health and for fun.

The ASA is not a provider of swimming facilities, therefore it acts as a catalyst and facilitator to ensure suitable facilities, with appropriate access and programmes, are provided to meet the needs of the community and aquatic clubs.

The ASA operates comprehensive certification and education programmes for teachers, coaches and officials. It has pioneered work on the UK Coaching Framework and is developing e-learning programmes, all of which are helping to drive up quality and ‘raise the bar’ to ensure the ASA has an appropriately skilled workforce for the whole swimming industry.

As well as being a governing body, the ASA also operates several subsidiary companies.

The future

The ASA’s Strategy 2013-2017 sets out our objectives. The ASA recognises it cannot fully deliver all its objectives alone, but needs to continue to work with a range of partners and identify new partners.

In particular the ASA has identified six strategic objectives:

  • To increase the number of schools providing quality swimming in line with ASA guidelines as part of a local learn to swim network.
  • To maximise the effective use of available water space in England in order to attract, retain and grow the number of people taking part in regular aquatics activities.
  • To build, develop and maintain a quality sustainable club infrastructure and network that meets the needs of the community it serves.
  • To increase the size and success of the English talent pool.
  • To improve the skills and technical capabilities of the aquatics workforce and its ability to innovate.
  • To enhance the ASA's leadership of the swimming industry.
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