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New grades policy aims to recognise achievements at national events

Swim England has introduced a new artistic swimming competitions grade policy in a bid to recognise the achievements of athletes at national events.

It will mean those competing at this year’s National Age Group Championships and the Junior and Senior Championships will be automatically promoted to a higher grade if their routine in those events met the required standard.

Grading days are normally held within the Regions to determine an artistic swimmer’s current level and are also used as the qualifying standard for national competitions.

However, the new policy aims to reward those who achieve a higher standard in competition in comparison to their grading day scores in figures, solos, duets and teams.

Any swimmer achieving the benchmark of a grade at the National Championship events will have that promotion confirmed by the Artistic Swimming Leadership Group and then added to their membership record.

They will also have the opportunity to purchase the relevant certificate, sticker and pin badge to recognise their achievement.

Reducing the pressure

Maria Ramos, the chair of the Artistic Swimming Leadership Group, said the new policy would help to recognise those achieving higher standards and close the gap between club standard and the national squads.

She added: “We recognise it has been a difficult couple of years for athletes, coaches and organisers as a result of the pandemic.

“With pools closed for so long, there is a backlog of athletes who need to take their grades, especially with the Routine Grades, which will be used as an entry standards for National Championships (Age Groups, Junior and Senior) from 2023.

“This new policy is aimed at reducing the pressure on these athletes to rush through the minimum standards and use the time to perfect their skills to a higher standard.

“It’s great we can introduce this new policy as a way of recognising athlete, coach and club commitment to our sport.

“This is our opportunity to say thank you for the commitment to the sport and also reward the efforts of those athletes who continue to improve and perform well at competitions.”

Further details will be sent to artistic swimming members and clubs in due course.