Bristol Penguin Olympic Swimming Club

Swim England Awards

As well as taking part in competitions, Penguins’ swimmers  gain badges as part of the Swim England’s National Plan for Teaching Swimming. These awards include badges and certificates for distances (25 metres etc.), skill development, personal survival, along with awards for timed swims. A brief explanation of how the awards work follows…


These are awarded when swimmers achieve the criteria set out by Swim England for a particular Stage. Certificates and badges will be available to purchase when swimmers have passed a Stage and move up to the next one.

Distance Awards

Ranging from 5 metres up to 2500m, distance badge assessments take place during specially arranged session twice a year. At Penguins, we do not believe it beneficial for swimmers to be proficient on just one stroke, so distances will only be attempted once swimmers have a good understanding of other strokes. As an example, swimmers may attempt their 25m badge on their back, but must be capable this on their front as well.

Competitive Start Awards

Swimmers in Development 1 will be tested against the Swim England criteria for the Competitive Start Award. When they have succeeded in their dives and starts they will be awarded with the certificate and badge.


These awards test other facets of swimming, from potentially lifesaving skills such as treading water and safe entries into the pool, through to skills to help competitive swimmers, such as advanced sculling drills. These awards are attempted according to a swimmer’s group and also the discretion of his/her teacher. Awards will only be awarded to swimmers who consistently perform the tasks required of them and so may be awarded to swimmers as a result of several week’s efforts, rather than a single session’s testing.


Challenge/Personal Survival

Essentially these awards are more advanced skills badges, with the addition of a speed element by virtue of timed swims. These awards will only be attempted by lengths swimmers, usually at specially designated sessions as they require extended time periods for completion.

Sprint Awards

As the heading suggests, these are awards gained by completing swims within times laid down by Swim England. Swimmers can claim these awards for individual swims in galas or at specially organised Sprint Nights. First-leg relay swims are also eligible as they start on a gun/horn/whistle; other relay legs are not as swimmers have a rolling start (i.e., the benefit of anticipation from seeing the incoming swimmer). Times for these awards are available at the following website

If you qualify for an award from a gala or sprint night, you can then buy the certificate from our certificate co-ordinater Tara Sahni – please email her at [email protected] and provide details of which certificate your child has qualified for.