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Aquatic Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE)

DiSE logo

About the DiSE programme

The Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) replaced the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme in 2018, and is a two-year, Department for Education (DfE) funded programme, managed by SportsAid on behalf of Sport England. The programme offers a unique sporting qualification, designed to meet the needs of student athletes who exhibit the potential to achieve excellence in their sport. The qualification is worth 64 UCAS points.

The DiSE seeks to deliver a complementary programme, allowing students to combine sport and education, so that they have the skills, knowledge and qualifications to pursue a dual career in high level sport alongside separate paid employment in the future.

SportsAid Mission

“To support young athletes in the talent system to combine sport and education so that they have the skills, knowledge and competence to pursue sporting excellence alongside developing the skills and qualifications for a post athletic career. DiSE provides a comprehensive syllabus to support young athletes to gain an additional qualification and achieve their full potential within the NGB talent pathway as well as their future career.”

NGB Aims

  • Prepare for a lifelong, high-performance journey in aquatics
  • Enhance the club training environment
  • Understand and develop the necessary skills, attributes and behaviours required to become a senior international athlete
  • Take ownership and ensure knowledge gained impacts positively on future performance
  • Gain skills and knowledge to achieve the Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sporting Excellence
  • Gain sport specific experience through workshops and training camps

How does it work?

The aquatic DiSE programme is delivered by Swim England, in collaboration with our educational partner, Loughborough College, and is fully integrated into all talent pathways.

The programme is specially designed to run alongside, and complement, the athletes’ chosen Further Education programme (i.e. A Levels, BTEC or non-sports apprenticeship), as well as their club’s training programme.

The 2024 DiSE programme will run over two academic years (Yr 12-13) from September 2024 to July 2026. Each athlete will be allocated an experienced Swim England DiSE Assessor, who will support the athlete through every step of their programme. Delivery will take place through both online and face to face workshops, camps and online 1-2-1 progress reviews, supported by skilled coaches, specialist practitioners, DiSE Assessors and the wider talent team.

The workshops are tailored around the qualification specification, and focus on the skills, knowledge and competence to achieve sporting excellence. Each workshop has an accompanying workbook which athletes will complete following each workshop, counting towards the overall assessment and result. Athletes will need to submit evidence as part of their portfolio, to demonstrate they meet the criteria set out by the qualification. This includes race plans, nutrition diaries and analysis, career plans, lifestyle plans, goal-setting, reviews, professional discussion, as well as logging training and competition hours.

Athletes must meet both the DfE criteria and Swim England performance criteria to be eligible.

Loughborough College

Swim England will work in partnership with industry leading Loughborough College which has more than 10 years’ experience in delivering DiSE programmes across 16 NGBs and graded good in apprenticeships by Ofsted (November 2023).

Loughborough’s history of sporting excellence transcends the sports field and has created training programmes and pathways that have supported England captains, Olympic and Paralympic medallists and world champions. As one of the biggest and most successful sports colleges in the country, they aim to continue to develop future generations of talented athletes.


Your commitment to usOur commitment to inclusion
Every athlete is expected to attend and complete all modules and sessions and engage with learning opportunities. Consideration and flexibility will be given regarding competition calendar and training camp clashes. Athletes must be keen to learn, develop and share experiences. Swim England’s dedicated team of staff are there to support you through your programme and expect good communication.Sports Aid have been appointed by the Government to oversee the operating standards and governance of the DiSE programme across participating sports. Swim England’s positioning of DiSE is in line with Sport England’s investment approach in talent pathways. They have been very clear around their inclusion and diversity agenda related to talent.


What topics are covered on DiSE?

Applications now open!

DiSE is delivered to all 4 aquatic disciplines. To find out the criteria and how to apply, click on your discipline below.

Closing date: 22 July 2024.


How much time will an athlete require outside of planned camps and workshops to complete their workbooks?

We have designed a bespoke model of delivery with various delivery methods to complete workbooks, including camps and online workshops. The majority of athletes who use this time diligently can complete all the work in the allocated hours. There are some brief tasks such as nutrition diaries, which need to be completed in advance of camps or workshops, and revisions to work previously submitted which would be done in the athletes own time. However this shouldn’t be a significant load. Any athlete’s who needs more time should communicate this to their Assessor who will be supportive in finding a mutually agreeable solution.

Will the DiSE programme impact athletes’ academic studies?

The DiSE programme should sit alongside athletes’ academic studies and will not involve any exams. The programme requires athletes to complete a series of workbooks which will be completed during the camps and workshops. Part of the programme covers lifestyle management aiming to support athletes with their commitments and teach them effective time management.

Would there be support for individuals with dyslexia for the written pieces/ more academic side of the course?

Yes. Swim England and Loughborough College will work on an individual basis to provide any athlete with dyslexia or any other learning requirements with the support they need.

View the DiSE Hardship Policy