About Us

Welcome to West Suffolk Swimming Club


West Suffolk Swimming Club formed in 1998 from the merger of two local swimming clubs and is now becoming one of the largest competitive swimming clubs in East Anglia. West Suffolk Swimming Club is a club that puts its swimmers first and with some 310 swimming members aims to provide an inclusive experience catering for those who are just starting out on their competitive swimming careers up to those competing at national / international level.

county qualifiers 2013










Coaching: We have a dedicated and highly qualified team of coaches who will help you to integrate in to the appropriate training sessions and to improve your stroke and stamina in preparation for competition. Most of our swimmers come from the Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds areas of Suffolk although some do travel further. West Suffolk Swimming Club is affiliated to the Swim England, Swim England East Region and to Suffolk County ASA.


Joining: If you would like to arrange a trial or need to find out something more specific then please contact one of the coaching team - Debbie Roberts via [email protected]  or through our ‘How Do I Join?’ page which can be found under the 'Join' tab.. It is our intention to encourage competitive  swimming at all levels - from " beginners to winners".  Whatever your ability or ambition you need look no further than West Suffolk Swimming Club.


Child Protection Policy | Swim Mark Accredited | Swim England Affiliated Club


Club Organization

A Management Committee and a team of officers carry out the majority of administrative tasks. Our Head Coach - Dan Pilbrow, our Development Coach - Debbie Roberts, our Technical Coach - Phil Ward and Head Age Coach - David Harrison, are the only professional, paid members of the team.

They have the responsibility for all aspects of the training and competition within the club. They work with volunteer coaches, all of whom also hold down their own paid employment, and most started out as willing parent volunteers. We like to encourage our senior swimmers if they have an interest in helping on poolside.

Management of the club is via a Committee of willing parents who undertake the roles of chair person, membership and treasurer in addition to many other jobs such as welfare officer, squad representatives, press officer, gala secretary and our FinS representatives (Friends in Swimming).

The club is keen to develop volunteers and offers a variety of courses throughout the year including the poolside helpers course and timekeeper’s courses. Please ask if you are interested. As you can imagine, the club depends very heavily upon volunteers to help in many ways. Please do not wait to be asked – your offer of help will be gratefully received.

West Suffolk Swimming Club is proud that it has been awarded Swim Mark Accreditation for a number of years now. It is testimony to the coaching staff, swimmers, club management and helpers that the Panel has recognized the hard work, systems and procedures that are already in place within our swim development program, which has made West Suffolk the success it currently is. Swim Mark also recognizes the potential that is evident in the club action plan, with the aim to provide the best experience possible for all of our swimmers.


Swim Mark: What is it?

Swim Mark Accreditation is a 'Quality Mark'. It recognizes nationally and regionally the clubs that are committed to providing safe, effective and quality services for the benefit of their members.
Swim Mark is Swim England's Club Development model - a planning tool, based on the principles of Long Term Athlete Development, enabling clubs to help athletes, teachers, coaches and administrators to achieve their full potential. It focuses particularly on the needs of athletes - striving to provide them with the best possible support and environment.



Clubmark is a Sport England accreditation scheme, which will eventually be accessible to all sports and seeks to ensure that young people are participating within a safe and friendly environment. Swim 21 is recognized by Sport England as a Clubmark accredited scheme and therefore clubs gaining Swim 21 Accreditation automatically receive Clubmark status.


Becoming a Swim Mark Club

Swim Mark was a 3-stage process:
1.WSSC audited it’s position against a series of questions that are linked to nationally determined outcomes of good practice;
2.Based on these findings WSSC produced an Improvement Plan that detailed the steps needed to address the gaps in our provision and put into action procedures to fill the gaps;
3.WSSC then applied to become a SE Swim Mark Accredited Club by providing a portfolio of evidence of the systems and procedures used by the club for assessment by the Regional Development Officer (RDO) and National Panel.


Benefits/outcomes of Swim Mark

The benefits of becoming a Swim Mark Accredited Club are mainly seen through the process itself. The program enhances club management, strengthens the structures and unites the club with a philosophy and programs that ensures the best environment is available for our swimmer

Some key outcomes and benefits are listed below:


Swimmer Achievement

Swim Mark enables clubs to help swimmers achieve their full potential. Swim Mark is a planning tool based upon the needs of swimmers and strives to provide them with the best possible environment.



National recognition received through the achievement of Swim Mark accreditation proves that the club is providing a quality service for all our members. As such all Swim Mark accredited clubs are listed on the British Swimming website and in ASA publications.
Recognition by Sport England that our club is safe, effective and child friendly through achievement of Sport England Clubmark.



There is enhanced access to various sources of funding. Clubs who have achieved Swim Mark Accreditation may be looked upon more favourably when applying for sources of funding. For example, Swim Mark Accredited Clubs are prioritised in forming links with local schools. PESSCL (Physical Education, School Sport Club Links) funding is available to support school-club link projects. In addition Swim 21 can be used as a negotiation tool with Local Authorities, in terms of seeking additional water time or a reduction in it's cost, as a club with Swim Mark may help them to achieve their objectives in terms of quality service provision.

Other benefits that Swim Mark may provide for our club include:
•  Publicity / promotion / recognition & profile
•  More members 
•  More coaches 
•  More officials / volunteers
•  Increased opportunity to secure funding
•  A more organised & resourced club
•  School / club links
•  Greater support from Swim England & other networks
•  Club sustainability / longevity / development
•  Swimmer achievement / development
•  A successful method of spreading a club's workload

West Suffolk Swimming Club was formed in November 1998 from the merger of two local swimming clubs - Bury Beavers and Haverhill Hurricanes - and in partnership with St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

We are a competitive club of some 300+ swimming members, catering for all ages and abilities of swimmers once they have learned to swim, and although we are independent, we work closely with the Swim Scheme run by St Edmundsbury Borough Council (Abbeycroft Leisure). The Club training sessions are held at three pools: Haverhill Leisure Centre, Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre and Culford School Sports Centre.

Our Club is affiliated to Swim England - the national governing body for swimming and to Swim England East Region which is responsible for the administration of six counties, including Suffolk County ASA.

West Suffolk Swimming Club has already produced swimmers who compete at both National and International levels. For three consecutive years we won the Top Club trophy at the annual Suffolk County Swimming Championships held in Ipswich each March, and each year many of the Championship titles are claimed by West Suffolk swimmers! The Club also sends strong teams to the Swim England Regional Championships and the National Championship meets each year.

In 2006 the club reached the B Final of the prestigious Speedo League - a great achievement by our swimmers and their coaches.

Since the closure of both pools a few years ago which adversely affected recruitment for a period, the club has gone from strength to strength with a second place for two consecutive years in the County Championships (although the margin is narrowing all the time), and a first place in the County Development Championships in 2013. We have a number of swimmers who are also trying open water competition for the first time, resulting in a record medal haul at the Suffolk County Open Water Championships.