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Saffron Walden Amateur Swimming Club celebrate swim21 success

27 January 2012

Saffron Walden Amateur Swimming Club is celebrating continuing success as a swim21 accredited Club – the ASA national benchmark for excellence.

The club’s committee recognised that there were a number of benefits available to clubs adopting the ethos of swim21. When the club first began working towards their accreditation they had between 100-120 members, most of whom swam only once a week. The swim21 Improvement Plan  produced by the club, included  targets such that provision should be made for 160 swimmers and training opportunities should be increased to between two and four times a week. The swim21 Improvement Plan has come to fruition and Saffron Walden ASC now has 160 members and many swim more than four times each week.

During the accreditation process the club implemented a number of Compliance & Workforce Development Module benefits including:

  • A new club constitution, certified by the ASA East region
  • A three year financial plan
  • Re-distribution of non-poolside activities between committee members
  • An increase in the number of roles with signed job descriptions
  • Reinforced links with local schools through an appointed schools coordinator
  • Introduction of a coherent communications strategy, which was enhanced to include a GroupSpaces account, website, increase in advertising and public relations

As part of the three year financial plan, the club recognised that extra funding to support capital investment should be implemented. The solution was to appoint a sponsorship manager to concentrate on bringing money into the club and improve facilities without detracting from the main swimming activity. Support from the local council and roundtable enabled the club to purchase starting blocks and automated starting equipment.

To promote the swim21 concept of actively encouraging and increasing the public awareness of the health and fitness benefits of swimming, the club negotiated the sponsorship of a large advertising banner which hangs on the poolside.

Following the increase in the availability of training at the club the committee reviewed their overall membership pricing structure to ensure that wherever possible, finance should not become a barrier to participation. The process was trialled for one year to ensure that the cost to the club was sustainable.

The Teaching module became the club’s key focus on the poolside, ensuring that best teaching practices were followed and evidenced. A key part of the club’s swim21 Improvement Plan was to increase the number of qualified coaches and teachers. The committee appointed a Head Coach whose challenge it was to deliver a strategic vision to move the club three places up the Essex Mini League during the first year and a further three places in the second year.

Using the swim21 methodology, Saffron Walden ASC recognised that they needed to take a different approach to achieve this. The club required additional pool time, individual lane coaching, stricter training and poolside discipline, and a change in payment arrangements for parents. This proved to be extremely successful and the club moved up nine places during year one, finishing 6thout of 14 teams in 2011.

With their centenary year approaching and given that the club had already implemented many swim21 best practices, they were keen to complete the accreditation process. Working closely alongside the ASA East Region, the club completed their evidence file and was subsequently presented with its swim21 certificate by Paul Hayes, Essex Representative to the ASA East Region Board, at a celebration gala on the weekend of its 100thbirthday.

For further information about swim21 Club Accreditation click here.

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