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Aquatic Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) for Swimming

DiSE logo
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.

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

Criteria to apply

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

DiSE Department for Education Learner Eligibility

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 for the full duration of the DiSE programme, and be studying towards an academic (e.g., A levels) or technical qualification (e.g., NVQs or City and Guilds).

c. 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.

Athlete consideration criteria

Athletes must meet the Swim England criteria below:

  • Born between 1 September 2007 and 31 August 2008
  • Represent England (verified on Swim England membership)
  • Live in England (or Wales)
  • 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 2024 and 4th August 2024
  • 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 National Talent Officers.
Swimmers will be expected to commit fully to all aspects of the programme.

As a minimum, swimmers will only be considered where they are equal to, or in excess of the below World Aquatics Points (WAP). Please note, achieving these points does not guarantee selection to a talent programme;

SexWAP (long course)



  • Hold BS/IPC classification S1 to S14
  • Swimmers who are part of the Para-Swimming Talent Programme 2024 and meet the above performance criteria will receive automatic nomination. Not all nominations will be awarded places as there are limited spaces available on the DiSE programme.
  • As a minimum, swimmers will only be considered where they are equal to, or in excess of the below British Para-Swimming Points (BPSP). Please note, achieving these points does not guarantee selection to a talent programme.
SexImpairmentBPSP (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

Open Water Swimming

  • Podium placed swimmers at the following event will be considered for selection, at the discretion of the Swim England Swimming National Talent Officers and DiSE Manager: Swim England Open Water National Age Group Championships (27th July, Rother Valley Country Park).

How to apply

Closing date: 8 July 2024

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

Past alumni

Past alumni of athletes to obtain the DiSE qualification include:

  • Adam Peaty – Olympic and World Champion
  • James Wilby – World Champion
  • Greg Butler – Commonwealth Champion
  • Alice Dearing – World Junior Champion
  • Jessica-Jane Applegate – World Champion
  • Thomas Hamer – World Champion
  • Thomas Hamer – Paralympic Silver Medallist
  • Ollie Hynd – World Champion
  • Freya Colbert – European Champion
  • Leah Crisp – British Champion
  • Scarlett Humphrey – World Bronze Medallist
  • Eliza Humphrey – World Finalist
  • Lauren Cox – World Medallist


Eliza Humphrey – Para-Swimming

“I learnt about the DiSE course when I received an email saying that I was eligible to take part. This was very exciting, as it would allow me to study a sports related level 3 qualification alongside my A-levels of Biology, Psychology and Physics. The best thing about DiSE was that it was so flexible, so I could schedule work completion and review Zoom calls with my assessor during my study periods at school, or after school, depending on my timetable.

The workbooks we completed were very thorough, allowing me to understand my sport in more detail. The workshops were very interesting, covering topics that I had not learnt about before, such as media and interview skills. The assessors were really supportive, helping me to understand more about my sport. I really enjoyed taking part in DiSE and would definitely recommend it to others.”

Scarlett Humphrey – Para-Swimming

“I started the DiSE course in 2021 alongside my A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and English Language. DiSE allowed me to gain a sports qualification alongside my A-Levels. I enjoyed the course as it contained modules that focused in detail on different aspects of swimming. The course was very flexible, and I was able to complete it around my A-Levels and swimming commitments. I found the assessors very helpful and supportive. Holding this qualification could open up other avenues that are outside of the A-Level subjects I initially took.”

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.