Learn to Swim Companion

A guide for parents and learners

Swimming Challenge Awards

All Awards

Swim England Swimming Challenge Awards are for young people working towards the latter stages of Learn to Swim Stages 1-7 or Learn to Swim Stages 8-10 of the Aquatic Skills Framework, with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Honours Awards available.

Your children will be challenged to develop a wide range of skills and stamina in order to achieve the Awards, with a focus on good stroke style.

Stroke style for the Swim England Swimming Challenge Awards doesn’t have to comply with ASA law, but strokes must be co-ordinated, smooth and efficient.

Together with four certificates and accompanying badges, the Awards also come with a metal lapel badge with butterfly fastener as an optional extra.

Objectives for the Swimming Challenge Awards

Swimming Challenge Awards – Bronze

For the following grades Sections A and B may be completed on two different occasions, but each section must be completed without pause and in the order listed. This group of skills test the pupil’s ability:

Section A

  1. Jump into water of at least full reach depth.*
  2. Swim 10 metres, followed by a surface dive into water of at least full reach depth* and underwater swim for a distance of 5 metres.
  3. Tread water in a vertical position for three minutes.
  4. Scull head-first on the back for 15 metres with the feet at, or near, the surface throughout.

Section B

  1. Swim 400 metres using two strokes. (Changes of stroke can only occur at the completion of a length of the pool. A minimum of 100 metres is to be swum with each stroke.)
  2. Climb out at the deep end without assistance.

* Full reach depth is the distance from feet to finger tips of hands reaching above the head.

Swimming Challenge Awards – Silver

By completing this Award, you will have shown your ability to complete each of the following sections in the order listed without pause:

Section A

  1. Plunge dive into water of at least full reach depth.*
  2. Swim 100 metres in less than three minutes using any stroke. A change of stroke may only occur at the completion of a length of the pool.
  3. Tread water for two minutes with one hand behind the back.
  4. Swim 10 metres, followed immediately by two surface dives into water of full reach depth*, one head first and one feet first, bringing an object to the surface on each occasion.
  5. Scull head first on the back for 10 metres and return by sculling 10 metres feet first. A horizontal position must be maintained throughout.

Section B

  1. Swim 800 metres: 400 metres on the front and 400 metres on the back. A change of stroke may only occur every 50 metres.
  2. Climb out at the deep end without assistance.

* Full reach depth is the distance from feet to finger tips of hands reaching above the head.

Swimming Challenge Awards – Gold

By completing this Award, you will have shown your ability to complete each of the following sections in the order listed without pause:

Section A

  1. Plunge dive into water of at least full reach depth* and swim 100 metres in two minutes 30 seconds or less, using two different strokes, 50 metres of each.
  2. Tread water for three minutes with one hand remaining above the head throughout. The arm raised may be changed no more than five times.
  3. Scull head first on the back for 10 metres, move into a tucked position and turn through 360 degrees keeping the head above water. Return to the starting point by sculling feet first with the feet at or near the surface throughout and the hands close to the hips.
  4. Swim 10 metres, perform a forward somersault without touching the pool bottom and continue to swim in the same direction for a further 10 metres.

Section B

  1. Swim 800 metres using three of the following strokes: front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, English backstroke or sidestroke for a minimum distance of 200 metres per stroke. A change of stroke may only occur every 100 metres. This swim to be completed in 25 minutes.
  2. Climb out at the deep end without assistance.

* Full reach depth is the distance from feet to finger tips of hands reaching above the head.

Swimming Challenge Awards – Honours

By completing this Award, you will have shown your ability to complete each of the following sections in the order listed without pause:

Section A

  1. Make a straddle entry into water of at least full reach depth*, swim 5 metres into a piked surface dive to retrieve an object weighing approximately 2kg from water of full reach depth*; carry the object using a backstroke or sidestroke for a distance of 20 metres, to place it on the poolside.
  2. Scull 10 metres head first on the back; complete a back somersault finishing in a back layout position; perform a roll to take up a front layout position; carry out a front somersault finishing in a front layout position; tuck and rotate backwards into a back layout position and continue to scull feet first for 15 metres. Throughout all sculling and layout positions, the hands must remain close to the hips and the feet must be kept together on or near the surface of the water.

Section B

Complete the following in a total time of 20 minutes without a pause:

  1. Swim 200 metres front crawl, 200 metres backstroke and either 100 metres breaststroke or 50 metres butterfly. A change of stroke may only occur every 100 metres (except for butterfly).
  2. Swim 500 metres freestyle during which surface dive twice head first and twice feet first; on each surface dive, swim through two hoops 4 metres apart without surfacing. The tops of the hoops are to be at least 1 metre below the surface of the water.

* Full reach depth is the distance from feet to finger tips of hands reaching above the head.

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