Aquatic Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) for Swimming

The Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) is a unique and industry-leading programme delivered by Swim England in conjunction with Loughborough College.

This government-funded programme is fully integrated into all Swim England talent pathways and offers the perfect environment for athletes to harmoniously combine their sport and education. An extensive list of DiSE alumni have gone on to enjoy continued international success on the world stage.

To find out more information about more information about the DiSE programme, click here. To find out about how to apply for DiSE if you’re a swimmer, keep reading.

Swim England Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE)

This is the fifth step on the Swim England Talent Pathway, aligned to the Youth Performance Squad, managed and delivered by Swim England in partnership with Loughborough College. The BTEC qualification is a bespoke programme, delivered over two academic years that supports and complements the athlete’s further education and enhances their daily training environment.

DiSE aims to support athletes and the workforce to:

  • Prepare athletes 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 sport specific experience through training camps, international competition and completion of the Diploma
  • Gain skills and knowledge to receive the Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Diploma in Sporting Excellence Qualification

Where DiSE falls on the Swim England Swimming Talent Pathway

What does your learner journey for year one look like?

Criteria to apply

DiSE Department for Education Learner Eligibility

NGBs can only select learners/athletes who meet the Department for Education student eligibility criteria below.

1. To be eligible for DiSE programme funding, a student must meet the following criteria:

a. Be aged 16 to 18 (or aged 19 to 24 if they have an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plan), when they start the programme.

b. Subject to paragraph 2 below, be enrolled on a state funded study programme and be studying towards an academic (e.g., A levels) or technical qualification (e.g., NVQs or City and Guilds).

c. Be on a talent pathway managed by their sport’s National Governing Body (NGB).

d. Must not be employed by their sport body or club on a professional contract.

2. The requirement in paragraph 1b. “be enrolled on a state funded study programme”, does not apply to students who attend a fee-paying school for their main study programme in the following circumstances:

a. The student is in receipt of the school’s means-tested bursary of at least 50% fee remission; or

b. The student is in receipt of a talent / ability-based scholarship of at least 50% but were this not to be the case then they would have otherwise qualified for the school’s means-tested bursary of at least 50% fee remission; or

c. At least 50% of the student’s fees are being paid by a third sector organisation but were this not to be the case then they would have otherwise qualified for the school’s means-tested bursary of at least 50% fee remission.

Athletes must also meet the following funding criteria:

  • Athletes must remain in full-time further education for the duration of the DiSE programme (Sports Apprenticeships not eligible)
  • Registered home address in England or Wales.
Swim England athlete criteria

Athletes must meet the Swim England criteria below:

  • Born between 1 September 2006 and 31 August 2007
  • Member of an English club and eligible to represent England
  • Cat 2 Swim England member
  • Based within an appropriate training environment and be undertaking in the region of 16 hours per week of pool/land-based training.
Athlete consideration criteria

Athlete consideration criteria

  • Born between 1st September 2006 and 31st August 2007
  • Athletes must fulfill the funding criteria as laid out by the Department of Education (Refer to DiSE eligibility paragraph in appendices)
  • Up to 114 swimmers selected equally across Male Female
  • Times used for selection to the DiSE programme will align to Olympic and Paralympic events and taken from the Swim England long course national rankings, to be achieved between 1st January 2023 and 9th August 2023
  • The highest ranked swimmer from long course performances in each Olympic/Paralympic event will be selected
  • Further selections can be made from second, third etc. ranked positions until maximum numbers are achieved
  • Swimmers ranked in multiple events will be selected on their highest ranked event
  • Where swimmers have equal rankings for multiple events, the highest World Aquatics points score will be used to determine the event selected
  • It should be noted that any exceptional performances may be included at the absolute discretion of the Swim England Swimming Head of Talent
  • Swimmers will be expected to commit fully to all aspects of the programme
  • As a minimum, standard times Swimmers will only be considered where they are equal to, or in excess of the below World Aquatics Points (WAP) / British Para-Swimming Points (BPSP)
  • Please note, achieving these points does not guarantee selection to a talent programme;

GenderWAP (long course)

GenderImpairmentBPSP (long course)
Male & FemalePhysical (1-10)450 event 1 & 350 event 2*
Male & FemaleVisual (11-13)450 event 1 & 325 event 2
Male & FemaleIntellectual (14)600 event 1 & 500 event 2

*PI selection 2 strokes where impairment allows


  • Hold BS/IPC classification S1 to S14.
  • Swimmers who are part of the Para-Swimming Talent Programme 2023 and meet the above performance criteria will receive automatic nomination. Not all nominations will be awarded places as there are limited spaces available on DiSE programme.

Open Water Swimming

  • Podium placed swimmers at the following events will be considered for selection at the discretion of the Swim England Head of Swimming Talent and DiSE Manager: Swim Wales Challenge Series incorporating British team selection (24th June, Llandegfedd), Open Water National Age Group Championships (29th July, Thrybergh).

All selections are made at the absolute discretion of the Swim England Head of Swimming Talent.

How to apply

The closing date is Friday 14th July 2023 and we encourage anyone interested to apply by this date, however for Swimming, we may still consider applications until the end of the DiSE selection window.

If you have any questions, please email

Past alumni

The DiSE programme alumni includes some of the most successful British swimmers in history, including reigning Olympic and World champion and World record holder Adam Peaty and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington.

European champion Molly Renshaw, World silver medallist James Wilby and European Medallist Max Litchfield have also been a part of the bespoke programme.

Paralympic champions Jessica-Jane Applegate and Ollie Hynd have enjoyed continued International success in their respective specialities and have both successfully completed the DiSE programme.

Past alumni of athletes to obtain the DiSE qualification include:

  • Adam Peaty – Olympic and World Champion
  • Molly Renshaw – European Champion
  • James Wilby – World Champion
  • Max Litchfield – European Medallist
  • Alice Dearing – World Junior Champion
  • Jessica-Jane Applegate – Paralympic Champion
  • Thomas Hamer – Paralympic Silver Medallist
  • Ollie Hynd – Paralympic Champion
  • Megan Richter – World Medallist
  • Freya Colbert – European Champion


Megan Richter – Para-swimming

“I enjoyed the DiSE programme. I was worried at first that it would be hard to balance with school and training but it was very flexible. My tutor kindly came to my school for one to one meetings so I could have meetings in my free periods and it was easy to catch up if I had to miss a session for a competition. She was very supportive and helped me out if I was ever unsure about it. I got to meet lots of people from other aquatic disciplines that I would not have otherwise spoken to and got to learn the differences between my sport and theirs.

“I am currently doing my swimming coaching qualification and I think having this apprenticeship will increase my interest as an applicant. I found the nutritional advice the most helpful and have implemented it into my daily routine. I would recommend the programme to anyone who is considering it.”

Lauren Cox – Swimming

“The DiSE programme was really enjoyable, the workshops were fun, and everyone was really friendly. I found it especially interesting to learn about why we train and how important the aspects out of the pool are, like nutrition and the psychology of being an athlete.

“The tactical and technical workshops helped me gain a deeper understanding of my training and how I could actively improve my performance by taking ownership of my training programme and setting more personal and achievable goals. I found it really manageable with my A-levels, the workbooks were clear and easy to understand so I could fit them in around training and schoolwork. The DiSE Assessors were really supportive and helpful with any questions I had.”

If swimming isn’t your sport, you can apply to be on the DiSE programme for one of our other sports, to find out more information, click on your sport below.