Learn to Swim Companion

A guide for parents and learners

Competitive Start Awards

All Awards

The Swim England Competitive Start Awards continue Swim England’s emphasis on learner safety with the Preliminary Competitive Start Award, complementing Stages 1-7 of the Swim England Learn to Swim Framework, and the Competitive Start Award for Stages 8-10 of the Framework.

Shallow diving can cause serious injuries if not done properly and by securing these awards your children will show they have the competence to dive in water 0.9-1.3m deep. This is a standard demanded for competitions under ASA law.

Teaching for the Preliminary Competitive Start Award starts in deep water before moving to the side of the pool and shallower water.

Once this Award has been secured learners work towards the Competitive Start Award to learn safe race dives from a starter block.

Objectives for Swim England Competitive Start Awards

Preliminary Competitive Start Award

From the poolside at the deep end of the pool
Minimum water depth 1.5 metres, maximum freeboard 0.38 metres.
Under normal starting conditions:

  1. Perform a shallow dive followed by a glide of at least five metres.
  2. Perform a shallow dive followed by a front crawl leg kick to the surface.
  3. Perform a shallow dive followed by a dolphin leg kick to the surface.
  4. Perform a shallow dive followed by a breaststroke arm pull and leg kick to the surface.
  5. Perform a backstroke start using the side/rail followed by a backstroke kick to the surface.

From a starting block at the deep end of the pool
Minimum water depth 1.5 metres, recommended height of starting block from the water 0.5 metres, maximum height of starting block from the water 0.75 metres.

  1. Perform a shallow dive followed by a glide of five metres.
  2. Perform a grab start followed by a front crawl leg kick to the surface.
  3. Perform a grab start followed by a dolphin leg kick to the surface.
  4. Perform a grab start followed by a breaststroke arm pull and leg kick to the surface.
  5. Perform a wind up start for a stroke decided by the examiner.
  6. Perform a backstroke start using the starting block followed by a backstroke kick to the surface.

Note: The swimmer is not allowed to do the remaining sections of this Award until they have gained the preceding skills.

From the poolside at the shallow end of the pool
Minimum water depth 0.9 metres, maximum water depth one metre, maximum freeboard 0.38 metres.
Under normal starting conditions:

  1. Perform a shallow dive followed by a glide of at least five metres decided by the examiner.
  2. Perform a grab start followed by a front crawl leg kick to the surface.
  3. Perform a grab start followed by a dolphin leg kick to the surface.
  4. Perform a grab start followed by a breaststroke arm pull and leg kick to the surface.
  5. Perform a wind up start for a stroke as decided by the examiner.
  6. Perform a backstroke start using the side/rail followed by a backstroke kick to the surface.

Competitive Start Award objectives

From the poolside at the shallow end of the pool
Minimum depth 0.9 metres, maximum depth one metre, maximum freeboard 0.38 metres.
Under normal starting conditions:

  1. Perform a track start followed by a glide of at least five metres.
  2. Perform a backstroke start followed by a dolphin leg kick to the surface.

From a starting block at the shallow end of the pool
Minimum depth 0.9 metres, maximum depth one metre, recommended height of the starting block from the water 0.5 metres, maximum height of the starting block from the water 0.75 metres.

  1. Perform a shallow dive followed by a glide of at least five metres.
  2. Perform a wind up start with a glide of at least five metres.
  3. Perform a grab start with a glide of at least five metres.
  4. Perform a track start with a glide of at least five metres.
  5. Perform a backstroke start using a starting block followed by a dolphin leg kick to the surface.
  6. Perform a minimum of three additional starts, under normal starting conditions, as decided by the examiner, showing the appropriate transition into the swimming stroke. One of the starts included must be for the breaststroke.
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