Annual Report 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Swim England Annual Report.

This covers the work of Swim England between 1 January and 31 December 2019. It will be updated throughout the year and all the information is detailed under the headings below.

Swim England Board

The Swim England Board meets around six times a year and is made up of 12 representatives from across the sport and physical activity sector.

Members have background in legal, human resources and finance.

Reporting into the board are a number of other committees. These committees and their members can be viewed here

Swim England board members 2019

The Swim England Board

Mike Farrar CBE (chairperson), Keith Ashton, Neil Booth, Alison Breadon, David Flack, Caroline Green, Sarah Gregory, Brian Havill, Ian Mackenzie, Jane Nickerson, Bernard Simkins and Sue Smith MBE. Click here to read full profiles of the Swim England board members.

Swim England Senior Leadership Team

Jane Nickerson (CEO), Jon Glenn, Emma Griffin, Brian Havill, Damian Stevenson, George Wood.

Awards and recognition

Howard Ramm was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), including the evolution of the Swim Safe programme.

Swim Safe – a joint venture between the RNLI and Swim England is reaching 30,000 children across the UK in 2019, educating young people about how to swim safely outdoors.

Ramm, a former Maritime Standards and Performance Manager at the RNLI, was pivotal in creating an emphasis on water-related accident prevention, leading the charity to shift from solely search and rescue, to focus on community safety.

He played an important role in the national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, and helped inspire the birth of Swim Safe in 2013.

Eileen Fenton, of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was also awarded an MBE, for voluntary service to long distance and competitive swimming coaching.

She was the first woman to complete the first International Channel Race in 1950, completing the arduous swim from France to England in 15 hours and 31 minutes.

Provide strong leadership and be the recognised authority for swimming

Strong leadership is at the heart of Swim England and our highly-skilled and knowledgeable team members provided an authoritative voice that is listened to at the highest levels.


A key milestone in the history of aquatics was marked on 7 January as it was 150 years since the birth of the world’s first national governing body for swimming. The first meeting of the organisation that was to eventually become Swim England was held on 7 January 1869.


The 2019 Swim England Handbook was published online.

Work on the London Marathon Charitable Trust project was progressing. We had received a £750,000 grant in November 2018 to fund the use of PoolPods, a submersible platform which provides dignified access to the water. Applications for sites had been sent out through our partner, Community Leisure UK, and we were also identifying potential sites in Scotland and Wales.


The London Region agreed to adopt Swim England branding, meaning all eight regions – East, East Midlands, London, North East, North West, South East, South West and West Midlands – are now Swim England branded.

We revealed plans to create a Hall of Fame to honour the achievements of individuals who have made a significant impact on aquatics as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations. Athletes, coaches and volunteers across England will all be considered for submission into the Hall of Fame after being suggested by the public.

Swim England is launching a Hall of Fame as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations

New research showed enjoyment is a key factor in keeping youngsters active – and we were playing our part in ensuring aquatic sport is a fun and safe activity for all ages. Sport England had interviewed more than 130,000 children aged between 5 and 16-years-old during the 2017-18 academic year as part of its Active Lives Children and Young People Survey and has released the new findings following further detailed analysis.

The #LoveSwimming campaign was shortlisted for a Sports Business Award in the Best Governing Body Initiative category.


We called for the medical profession to be more proactive in prescribing swimming as part of a programme of activity to manage a variety of medical conditions and aid recovery as wave four of the #LoveSwimming campaign was launched. Moving Medicine featured case studies of several people and the physical health benefits of swimming.

Membership numbers had grown by 1,028 compared with the same period in 2018

The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) successfully moved management services over to Swim England.

We started work with the biggest swimming lesson provider in Lithuania, Banga Swimming Club, to implement our Learn to Swim programme.

The Youth Sport Trust Inclusion 2020 project, funded by the DfE, commissioned Swim England to assess school swimming provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The project aims to work with five lead inclusion schools across the country to improve and increase opportunities for SEND pupils to participate in school swimming.


Swim England team members attended the major sports exhibition, Elevate. We supported the Active Aquatics area and helped to deliver a series of seminars aimed at pool operators, swimming coaches, teachers and leisure/health club providers.

The Institute of Swimming were also at Elevate alongside Swim England and RLSSUk and were joined by a number of partners. Managing director Rebecca Cox spoke about the importance of recruiting, retaining and motivating workers in the aquatics industry.

Also at Elevate, The Swimming and Health Commission launched the first wave of fact sheets to provide advice for coaches, swimmers and operators on specific health conditions. Fact sheets on Asthma, Glandular Fever, Dementia, Ear Infection and Epilepsy were released.

Substantially increase the number of people able to swim

Our vision is of a nation swimming and through our Learn to Swim programme, industry-leading aquatic activity for health qualification and curriculum swimming campaign, we’re helping people to enjoy the water.


Resources for schools and operators that had signed up to the School Swimming Charter were launched. A total of 43 schools and 50 operators had signed up to the charter.

Swim England was awarded almost half a million pounds by Sport England to help encourage more adults to get active. The organisation’s health and wellbeing team will receive £460,000 over the next two years to fund the rollout and continuous refinement of its Water Wellbeing programmes to support inactive individuals, including those with long-term health conditions.

Two additional Start Para-swimming sessions were being developed in Manchester following collaborative working with Level Water, GLL and City of Manchester Aquatics Swim Team.


Delivery of the Water Wellbeing project started at seven sites.

Current numbers showed that 83 schools (7,500 pupils) and 105 swim schools and operators had purchased charter awards.

Three tutors were recruited to support the delivery of the Aquatic Activity for Health qualification, which would help increase capacity for delivery of the course throughout 2019


The Learn to Swim Toolkit was launched, which helps teachers design and structure their own Learn to Swim programmes and lesson content.

Toolkit visual

The latest in a series of free guides designed to help ensure all children leave primary school able to swim and enjoy the water safely were published.

A total of 124 sports/fitness instructors who are involved in GP referrals had received the Aquatic Activity for Health Qualification training.


A total of 31 clubs are now implementing the Club Awards, which is a positive step towards building quality and consistency of delivery. The Club Awards are also being promoted at regional conferences.

Swim School membership recorded two months of continued growth for the first time in two years.

Swim Safe sessions began at the first of 37 sites this month. The indoors pilot was progressing with sites in England and Wales and negotiations were continuing with Scotland.


BBC newsreader Naga Munchetty and Olympic athlete Colin Jackson revealed they were learning to swim. Munchetty said she hoped to help quash stereotypes by taking part in adult swimming lessons.

A series of health webinars which were broadcast to give leisure centre staff a better understanding of how to help those suffering from certain long-term health conditions were now available to view online. 

Significantly grow the number and diversity of people enjoying and benefiting from regular swimming

Millions of people are able to enjoy swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming every month because they have been through our renowned Swim England Learn to Swim Programme.


The South East region, working alongside operators Everyone Active and Freedom Leisure, began projects to grow water polo and increase the number of children taking up the sport.

Evaluation of the third wave of #LoveSwimming took place with all 12 campaign funding partners. So far, there has been more than 3.8 million social media impressions and 477,000 content views.


Swim England and Everyone Active launched a new campaign to encourage people to swim more regularly. The #10MillionSwims initiative aimed to see 10 million swims at Everyone Active pools in 2019. It followed the launch of the partnership betyween the two organisations in January.


GB stars Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe helped launch the Swim England-led Artistic Swimming South West project – AKA Synchro City – in Bristol. The project aims to grow participation, develop the elite pathway and the workforce to ultimately increase the quality and quantity of coaches and administrators. Chief executive Jane Nickerson said the launch of the project was a ‘dream come true’.

Artistic Swimming South West project launch

We were thrilled that GB synchro duet Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe plus the City of Bristol Aquatics squads performed at the Artistic Swimming South West project launch‼️See them in action and find out more about the scheme in our video recap ⬇️

Posted by Swim England on Thursday, March 28, 2019


#LoveSwimming wave four was launched with several people sharing their stories of how swimming and aquatic activity had boosted their physical health.

Statistics from Sport England showed the number of women, older adults and people with disabilities or long-term health conditions actively swimming had increased. We welcomed the rise and hailed world-leading aquatic activity health programmes, major campaigns to grow participation and our learn to swim lessons for all ages as major factors in the increase.

The 30,000th Just Swim member signed up – less than two years after it had been set up. Members have shown an increasing interest for stroke technique as written and video content in the past six months.


Advertising for the Disney Family Fun sessions went live across TV on the Disney Channel, in Disney stores, on the Magic Shuttle and hotel rooms at Disneyland Paris and across social media channels. Stacey Solomon also promoted the campaign to her 1.9 million followers on Instagram.

Find a participating pool near you!

To the pool… and beyond! 🏊⭐Looking for ways to keep your family healthy, happy and active this summer? We’ve teamed up with Swim England to provide swim sessions packed with fun Toy Story 4 inspired activities that help build your little one’s swimming skills! ⭐Sessions launching June 1 ⭐ Over 250 pools across the UK ⭐ All sessions delivered by trained Activator⭐ Chance to win Disney goodies when you sign up ⭐

Posted by Disney on Friday, May 24, 2019

Roadshows for swim schools, teachers and operators delivering our Learn to Swim programme had been held in Poole, Gateshead, London, Canterbury and Worcester.

Create a world-leading talent system for all our aquatic disciplines


More than 60 athletes attended the water polo National Academy in Northampton.

The South West Para-swimming committee held its second development event at the Plymouth Life Centre, where 12 eligible swimmers were identified and 10 coaches attended CPD training.

The second of six Coach 2024 meetings took place, with all 18 coaches on the programme attending. They looked at the INSIGHT profiles, working with the theme self-awareness.


The preliminary rounds of the Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships were held across the country.

Dean Walker was named as the England U19 Junior Men’s water polo head coach.

Synchro received confirmation of funding worth £20,000 from the Olympic Solidarity project. The money would be used to fund training from an international expert and mentoring for their current coach.

Twenty swimmers from the Swim England talent programme went head to head with some of Europe’s best at the FFN Golden Tour meet in Nice, France. They were praised for their professionalism after returning home with three medals.

Athletes from the five new Swim England Performance Centres made their presence known at the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Long Course Championships.

Thirteen members of Team Y had taken part in the British National Diving Cup and achieved some excellent results.


Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jacob Peters revealed he had completed his Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) qualification through the Institute of Swimming.

More than 100 young para-swimmers took part in the the National Junior Para-swimming Championships 2019, organised by the Activity Alliance in partnership with Swim England, at the Liverpool Aquatics Centre.

The Synchronised Swimming National Age Group Championships took place at the Manchester Aquatics Centre with 97 youngsters taking part in the competition.

The Great Britain Synchro team returned from the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Paris, France, with a silver medal – the first GB medal for synchro at an international competition. There were also impressive results for Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe.

There was plenty of medal success for GB divers at the FINA Diving World Series in Japan and China ahead of the competition returning to London in May.

The qualification rounds of the Water Polo National Age Group Championships were held.

England’s U17s girls bagged a bronze medal at the EU Nations Junior Women’s water polo tournament in Brno, Czech Republic, and learned a valuable lesson ahead of this summer’s European Championships.

Water polo was put in the spotlight as the BBC broadcast live coverage of the British Water Polo League’s Super 5s final weekend.


It was announced that the London Aquatics Centre would host the World Para-swimming Championships in September after Malaysia were stripped of the rights to stage the event.

Members of the Swim England Performance Squad took part in a Reflect, Reset, Go camp in Glasgow after competing in the British Swimming Championships.

The British Squads were announced for the World Championships, World and European Junior Championships, World University Games and the World Para-Swimming Championships. All included a strong representation of English swimmers.

Young divers were competing at the British Elite Junior Diving Championships with qualification for major events this summer up for grabs as well as spaces on our Team Y Assessment Camp.

The Swim England National Synchronised Swimming Junior and Senior Championships were held at Nottingham’s Harvey Hadden Stadium. There were 128 athletes from 15 clubs competing, including 20 of the Great Britain team The finals of the Free Teams event were streamed live by the BBC. 

Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe took part in the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Japan and also travelled to Italy to work with their choreographer before joining the senior and junior team for a five-day camp in Bristol ahead of the LEN European Cup in St Petersburg, Russia.


The finals of the Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships took place at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge International Pool.

England’s senior women finished a creditable fifth in the 2019 EU Nations Water Polo Cup in Brno, Czech Republic.

Swimmers from the England phase three and performance squad teams competed at the Best Fest open water festival in Majorca with Nathan Hughes (three bronze), Jackson O’Rourke (one gold, one silver) and Amelia Rudd (one gold, one bronze) all returning with medals.

Para-swimmers Ellie Challis, Reece Dunn and Brock Whiston all progressed from our England Talent programme onto the World Class Podium Potential programme. They, along with Suzanna Hext, who we supported with her development, had all been selected to represent Great Britain at the World Para-swimming Championships in September.

The English duo of Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe were confirmed as the Great Britain synchronised swimming duet bidding to win a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Shortman and Thorpe and the Free Team impressed at the LEN European Cup in St Petersburg, Russia.

The FINA Diving World Series took place in London where Tom Daley sealed the World Series crown. The competition would help to inspire a ‘new generation’ of young divers.

Deliver a high quality, diverse and motivated workforce within swimming

Our workforce is vital to help us achieve our strategic goals.


New videos highlighting the rewards of being swimming teacher were launched on the Swim England Qualifications website. The videos highlight why Swim England Qualifications are the choice of the industry.

Swim England launched the Coaching and Teaching Register to provide a platform for better communication and support to coaches and teachers across all aquatic sports. It also demonstrates best practice in terms of recording and providing quality assurances on the delivery of sports.

The Institute of Swimming’s new website went live on 9 January. The site features integrated booking and has a number of other user-friendly benefits, including an enhanced customer experience when searching, booking and paying for courses as well as sharing the home website of Swim England.

Several new partners signed new contracts with the Institute of Swimming including 1 Life, Sentinal Leisure, Gravesham Community Leisure, Doncaster Liberty Leisure and BH Live.


The new Expected Standards videos were released. More than 100 films are now available to download giving teachers, swim schools and operators a ‘valuable tool’ to use in lessons or to show parents or carers.

Two free online resources were launched by the Institute of Swimming – School Swimming and Water Safety and Mobile Devices in Swimming Lessons

The Swim England Volunteering Hub was redesigned and incorporated into the Careers in Aquatics website, providing information and an entry point to volunteering across England.

A new diving judge pathway was launched and the first National Judge School for Diving Officials was held. As a result, there are now six additional J2 judges in Diving.


The final placements for Dubai trainees began. This marked the end of a successful 12 month programme which has seen eight new international tutors trained.

More than 80 delegates from clubs across the country shared top tips about starts and turns at the fifth Swim England Sport Science and Medicine Conference.


Work continued with the Institute of Swimming to train 500 Activators through the new Disney CPD ahead of the programme officially launching on 1 June.

Olympian Sarah Barrow was appointed as the new Diving Development Officer for the West Midlands and will work to develop diving activity in the region ahead of the Commonwealth Games.


It was revealed that more than 8,000 coaches and teachers from more than 950 aquatic clubs across the country have been signed up to the Coaching and Teaching Register. 

The new qualification, Teaching Swimming to Babies and Toddlers, was officially launched.

Strengthen our sustainability for future generations


A number of new items were launched including a refreshed online Frontiers Toolkit with improved imagery and user experience. The new School Swimming and Water Safety Charter portal went live with resource download areas.

Work continues with Sandwell Council to ensure the facilities for the Commonwealth games are relevant to both the games and the legacy plan. Several meetings were taking place across the Partnerships, Facilities and Sport Development teams to ensure we achieve beneficial outcomes for our sports and the future legacy of Sandwell.


We announced a new partnership with Disney to encourage thousands of families to enjoy the water, with a programme featuring some of Disney’s most recognisable, popular characters including Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the gang from Toy Story 4, the upcoming movie from Disney•Pixar.

Swim England are joining forces with Disney and some of its most recognisable characters, including the gang from Toy Story 4


The Greater Manchester Swim Summit took place and was an opportunity for key partners and stakeholders to develop an aquatics action plan to help 2,000,000 people get active by 2025. More than 50 stakeholders attended the day, led by Steve Parry. 

Latest SwimMark figures showed there were 560 essential accreditations, 50 accredited networks and 10 performance accreditations

Learn to Swim conference was held in Birmingham with 45 delegates attending from 20 different community trusts. Key topics included water safety and workforce provision considerations.

The Swim England Masters Facebook page went live. It is the forum we will use to engage with the Masters community on a wide range of subjects.


The Club Support Hub, a one-stop shop for 24-7 support to out clubs went live.

Planning was approved for the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, which will host swimming and diving in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Expertise from the Swim England Facilities Team helped save the Sandwell Aquatics Centre project more than £750,000, meaning the scheme was on budget.

The new Introduction to Volunteering web pages went live.


Our partnership with RLSSUK was officially launched on the opening day of the Elevate conference.

Swim England and RLSS UK have announced a new partnership at Elevate. Pictured, from left, are Lee Heard, director of partnerships for RLSS UK, Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson and Rebecca Cox, the managing director of the Institute of Swimming

The Facilities Team were involved in several new-build projects in Cambridge, Bromley, Ealing, Westminster, Northumberland and Portsmouth.

Financial report

The financial report for the year ended 31 December 2019 will be available at the end of the year