The 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 1,200 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.
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 British Gas 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 Kellogg's 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.
The ASA’s Strategy 2009-2013 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.
It also recognises the massive challenges it faces to reach new participants. With this in mind, the ASA is looking to further modernise the sport and to make it more attractive to today’s young people as well as those who are older in order to achieve its objectives.
The ASA wants to see the industry putting the customer at the heart of all its work; improving the customer experience so more people have more fun swimming more often.
It is committed to getting people swimming more and getting more people swimming. This is because 13% of people who do no activity indicate they would go swimming and 31% of people who can swim do not go because they do not think about it.
With the London 2012 Olympic Games on the horizon, the ASA also plans to see English athletes on the podium and use the opportunity to inspire non-athletes to be more active. The ASA feels that the lead up to the Olympics will offer a critical period in which it could deliver its challenging and exciting Strategy to help people to achieve their health goal.
In particular the ASA has identified four objectives:
- Ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn to swim.
- Offer everyone the opportunity to enjoy swimming or water-based fitness activities for health and fun throughout their lifetime.
- Ensure everyone achieves their different personal health goals throughout their lifetime.
- Ensure the nation achieves gold medal success on the world stage.
As well as being a governing body, the ASA also operates several subsidiary companies.