Swim England

A nation swimming

Governance responsibilities of British Swimming and the Home Nations 

The governance structure and roles and responsibilities of the different bodies involved in the governance of swimming (all disciplines) in Great Britain can be confusing.

This guide is an attempt to provide a very simplistic overview.

British Swimming is a national federation and member of FINA (International Federation) and LEN (continental federation). The members of British Swimming are the three Home Country national governing bodies of England (Swim England), Scotland (Scottish Swimming) and Wales (Swim Wales).

British Swimming is responsible for the elite performance of all the aquatic disciplines and is the recipient of UK Sport funding for the World Class Programmes – currently, swimming, diving and Para-Swimming. British Swimming authorises all appearances by English, Welsh and Scottish teams in overseas competitions.

Swim England is responsible for the development of the sport of swimming (including open water swimming), water polo, diving, high diving and synchronised (artistic) swimming from learn to swim to the top end of talent in England.

It is also responsible for encouraging everyone to take part in aquatic activity at all levels, including recreational and health and wellbeing.

Whilst there are occasions when a team will compete as England, the primary event being the Commonwealth Games, the majority of the time, England prepares athletes through the performance pathway for inclusion in British teams.

Swim England also provides a comprehensive teacher/coach education pathway and has both a training arm (the Institute of Swimming) and an awarding organisation (Swim England Qualifications).

British Swimming and the Home Countries work closely together to ensure there is a seamless performance pathway transferring athletes from the Home Country talent programmes into the British Swimming World Class Programme.

It is fair to say there is a need to strengthen the protocols around athletes competing at a British level in the unfunded disciplines. Following the loss of funding for two of our sports, the Home Nations and British Swimming worked together to develop new strategies.

The Synchronised (artistic) Swimming programme has made significant strides and the duet of Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe are targeting qualification for Tokyo 2020.

In Water Polo, Great Britain teams have continued to participate in European Junior events and the World University Games.

We share the ambition of both sports to progress their performance levels.

To achieve this, we are now working to put in place a system whereby British Swimming formally appoints a Home Nation to manage the British Swimming elements of unfunded programmes. Robust policies and procedures will also be implemented as part of these agreements.

Managing complaints in England

Swim England has a judicial complaints system to address complaints raised in connection with the sport.

The judiciary is completely separate from the executive and the members of the judiciary who determine the judicial process and outcome of complaints do not hold any office or position on the Swim England Board, Regional Management Board nor do they receive any remuneration for any service to British Swimming, Swim England (or any of its regions), Scottish Swimming or Swim Wales.

Swim England understands that it is inevitable that there will be disputes between members from time to time and these are managed through the judicial system if attempts at resolution have failed at a local level.

The first step in any dispute is to try to solve it before it reaches the judicial system – see solving internal club disputes in the Swim England Handbook.