Bristol Penguin Olympic Swimming Club

How to Join

Swim Academy

At the present time our swimming lessons are quite full. We have spaces for 6-8 year olds in stage 5 and for 7-9 year olds in stage 8.




For those children aged 6-10 who are learning how to swim we have a Swim Academy for aspiring young swimmers! We teach swimmers from Stages 5 to 8 at Badminton School, Easton and Henbury Leisure Centres, St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School and Clifton College swimming pools. Swimmers need to be able to swim a width to enter our lessons.

Being a swimming club, we have age based entry criteria which is assessed against the National Plan for Teaching Swimming. Our lessons are very popular and we have some availability in some groups although if our groups are full your child can be added to the waiting list and spaces come up as swimmers move up groups and graduate to the main squad. The aim is swimmers attend two lessons a week to ensure they make sufficient progress to enter the main squad by their 10th birthday. There are however, some once a week slots as well. We assess each child individually who comes to try out in a relaxed and informal way and then allow prospective members to stay for a free try out lesson.

Swim Squads

At the present time, we are full so are unable to offer spaces to new members in Development 1, 2 and Junior Club. To organise a trial in the higher level squads please email Sophia - [email protected]

For junior school aged swimmers to learn advanced skills and techniques that will prepare swimmers at the beginning of their competitive swimming journey. There are 4 squads within this cluster, Development 1, 2 and 3 and Junior Club. The Junior Club is for non-competitive swimmers graduating from the Swim Academy that want to maintain their swimming fitness and improve their technique.

If your child has completed Stage 8 of the National Plan for Teaching Swimming then they will probably be best suited to attend a try out for the Development 1 squad. Completion of Stage 8 means your child is able to swim all four swimming strokes well and has a basic command of starts and turns. To enter the Development squads, swimmers will need to attend and pass an informal trial.

If your child has already developed the skills and techniques for competitive training and competition, we have Age Group and Youth Squads. The competitive squads are for those who are competing at county level and the ‘club’ squads are for those swimmers who have not yet achieved county qualifying times or for those who wish to focus on a less competitive route. 

There are three squads in the Age Group cluster: Bronze for swimmers who have attained county qualification times, Silver for swimmers with county qualification times that are aiming for regional level and Club who have yet to fulfil all the criteria for the Development squad. There  are three squads in the Youth cluster: Youth County for swimmers who have attained county qualification times, Gold / Gold + for swimmers with county and regional qualification times who are training at a high level and want to commit to more sessions and Youth Club who have yet to fulfil all the criteria for the County squad.


For swimmers 18 years and over who are both competitive and non-competitive swimmers. Masters swimmers are encouraged to participate in the coaching of the squads so that they can pass on their experience and skills. Masters swimmers have access to five sessions a week with over five hours of swimming. Many of our masters swimmers also coach for Penguins and are therefore eligible to swim for a reduced fee.

Please please email Sophia – [email protected] for more information about the Masters Squad.

See the Training Times page for specific days and times.