Academy and Performance Squads FAQs

Academy: Pathway, Start, Turn and Finish


  • We’re new to Team Bath AS. What can we expect?

Firstly, you can expect your swimmer to make friends with like-minded kids. The swimmers at Team Bath AS are a super bunch and support one another.

Secondly, you can expect world-class facilities and experienced coaches. Swimmers train in a 50m pool with a retractable wall, so training lengths can be either 25m or 50m, depending on the session.

Thirdly, our coaches have a huge wealth of experience – internationally, nationally and regionally. Between them, they have competed in the Olympics, coached, officiated overseas and sat on various Swim England Management Committees. Read about our coaches.

  • How can I best support my swimmer?

The best way parents can support their swimmers is to listen to the coaches and to let the coaches to do their job. Our coaches are specially trained in developing the physical and emotional resilience and skills your swimmer will need to perform their best in the pool.

Please avoid trying to ‘coach’ your swimmer – support their learning by getting them to training on time, well fed, well hydrated, as rested as possible, and ready to listen and do their best.

  • Does Team Bath AS train anywhere else?

No, we don’t. All our training sessions take place at the University of Bath Sports Training Village (STV), located in Bath.

  • Who should I contact at the Club about...?

It might be confusing as the email addresses can all look similar at first glance, but it’s really important you send your query to the right person so we can respond to you in a timely manner.

If you’ve been with Team Bath AS for a while, please delete any old email addresses you may have stored and use the new, most up-to-date contacts below:

  • [email protected] is your main point of contact to ask general questions about the Academy and Pathway Programmes and Transition and to let the coaches know if your swimmer won’t be at training.
  • [email protected] is the joint contact address for the coaches – use this if you have specific questions about your swimmer and their training.
  • [email protected] is the new address for any questions about your Club membership or if you know someone who would like to join.
  • [email protected] is for any questions you have about your swimmer’s wellbeing, and safety at the Club more generally.
  • [email protected] is to ask about current volunteering opportunities and to put your name forward for one of the many roles at Team Bath AS – the Club relies on volunteers like you!

You can find a full list of contacts on the Management Committee and volunteers page.

  • Why does my swimmer need to be poolside 20 mins before they get in the water?

Being poolside 20 mins before the scheduled start of pool training gives swimmers time to warm up and stretch properly. We all know that stretching is good before exercising. By building it into their training from a young age, it helps swimmers create good habits, teaches them how to take care of their bodies and gives them an understanding of how stretching helps their swim performance.

  • Does any training take place out of the pool?

As swimmers progress from Academy to Performance, yes, some training does take place out of the pool. This is called land-based training and will be built into the swimmers’ training programme.

  • Do I really need to buy all that extra kit?

For swimmers to benefit from the full range of coaching, fins, snorkel, kick board and goggles (and ideally a spare pair) are all required. Team Bath AS kit can be bought online from SwimPath, with some of it available at STV reception.

  • My swimmer doesn't like wearing a swim cap.

Although not compulsory, the coaches prefer swimmers to wear a cap if possible. Wearing a cap is a requirement at swim meets.

  • What goggles do you recommend?

The simple answer is the pair that your swimmer finds most comfortable. That said, if they have a particular problem with their goggles (e.g. they tend to come off when diving), ask their coach for advice. Some brands are better than others for certain issues.

Squad progression

  • Will I receive regular feedback about how my swimmer is progressing?

On a week-to-week or monthly basis, no. Swimming is a progressive sport, with skills and endurance built up over weeks of training and consolidated by attending meets.

The coaches are very experienced at understanding how your swimmer is progressing and will have a plan for developing their strengths, addressing their weaknesses, etc. But if you have specific questions, email the coaches for guidance.

  • When can I expect my swimmer to move squad?

The decision to move a swimmer up a squad is based on continuous assessment during training. Each squad has a set of performance criteria that is regularly reviewed, with swimmers assessed against those criteria.

The coaches will decide if a swimmer is ready to move squad based on the criteria, but also on the swimmer’s mindset and coachability. Swimmers must be able to listen to instructions, take on board information and apply their learning. They may be ready physically – and technically – but if they’re not ready mentally, they won’t move up.

Another important aspect is attendance at competition meets. There is an expectation for swimmers to compete in a variety of meets, both long course (50m) and short course (25m), using a variety of strokes.

Regular attendance at training, combined with progression at meets, gives coaches an insight into how swimmers are developing, where improvements need to be made and whether they are ready to move up.

If you’d like feedback, please email your swimmer's coach.

  • Is it ok to skip a training session?

We naturally understand there are times when it’s simply not possible for a swimmer to attend training, whether it’s because of a family event, a clash with another sports fixture, a school trip, etc. Life is busy.

But remember that progression to the next squad is also based on regular attendance, so it’s best not to miss too many training sessions. If your swimmer does have to miss a session for any reason, please email the academy coordinator in advance.

  • Do swimmers need a special diet?

No, a good diet that is well balanced should be more than adequate.

Competition meets

  • Where can I find out what the different level meets mean?

There is some great information about meets and the different levels on the Swim England website.

  • What’s the difference between long and short course?

Long course (LC) events are held in a 50m pool and short course (SC) events in a 25m pool. The Olympic Games are always held in a 50m pool, but other national and international meets can be either LC or SC.

  • Can swimmers enter competitions if they don’t have qualifying times?

Yes, it is possible. Typically, Level 3 and 4 meets allow swimmers to enter a without a time, but this will be stated in the details about the meet.

  • How do I help my swimmer choose the right entries for meets?

The coaches advise choosing a good mix of strokes and distances for all swimmers across all squads. Don’t go all out for the very first meet – start off simply and build up over time to longer distances and a range of strokes.

Even if your swimmer is getting good results with their backstroke, for example, they could try freestyle next time or breaststroke. The aim is to build up confidence and a decent ability across a range of strokes and distances. They will become better swimmers if they gain this experience during their time in the Academy.

  • What should my swimmer pack for a meet?

Swimmers should pack their bags the night before as most competitions start early. Always check they have their swimsuit (and pack a spare); branded Team Bath AS swim cap and t-shirt (if they have one); goggles (plus a spare pair); flip flops; and two towels. Pack a healthy lunch (e.g. pasta); fruit; drinks such as squash or water; and snacks. All these items are taken poolside. It’s also advisable to bring some money just in case.

  • Who will look after my swimmer poolside at a meet?

We have a team of qualified team managers who assist our coaches at meets. These volunteers have all completed the required Swim England team manager and safeguarding training to allow them to work with children poolside. Please help our team managers by encouraging your swimmer to check in with them when they arrive and check out again whenever they leave poolside.

We are always looking for new team managers to train and add to our team – if you are interested in training and helping poolside, email our training and development officer.

  • Why do swimmers have to warm up before a meet?

Warm-ups are essential to swimmers’ performance and give them the chance to familiarise themselves with diving blocks, 5m flags, water depth and water temperature. These are normally very busy sessions and are carefully organised.

Once the warm-up has finished, swimmers should dry off – it’s important they keep warm! Swimmers are encouraged to stay poolside with their team. If swimmers want to go and see spectators, they can from time to time, but must check with their coach and team manager first. Spectators – parents or otherwise – are strongly discouraged form going poolside, even if the pool allows access.

  • Why was my swimmer disqualified?

Getting disqualified (DQ’d) can be disappointing, but it happens to most swimmers at some point along their swim journey. Reasons can include a false or delayed start, or a faulty stroke, turn or finish. Junior swimmers can be upset. The best thing to do is to find out why they were disqualified and to learn from the mistake. It’s important to note that if a swimmer is disqualified, their time for that race will not count.

Parents and families

  • Swim meets take up a lot of time – how do parents best put this to good use?

If you want to sit in one spot for what can be up to 10 hours at a time, boiling hot, then go for it! It’s a chance to meet other parents and to shout encouragement to other Team Bath AS swimmers.

But if you feel like you’d like to make a difference and get involved, there are plenty of volunteer jobs poolside, from team managers to timekeepers and even judges – and with most of them you can still see your swimmer race too.

Volunteering is a great way to get involved, to better understand the Club and competitions, and to meet people in the wider swimming community. If you feel you can spare the time and would like to give it a go, email our training and development officer.

  • Are there any social events for Team Bath AS parents?

Pre Covid-19, there were regular events, including workshops. Unfortunately, since the pandemic we haven’t had enough volunteers in place to bring people together. We hope this will change, but don’t have the capacity to arrange anything right now. If you would like to help us with organising social events for our members, speak to a Management Committee member or email our training and development officer.

  • Why is Team Bath AS asking me to volunteer?

The Club cannot run without parent volunteers who are willing and able to help – whether that’s helping the wider swimming community at county or regional levels, organising fundraising activities or becoming an active Management Committee member.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes and there is always some way you can help. Swim meets can take up the whole weekend. You’ll find it much more enjoyable if you get involved – sitting for hours waiting for a race that might only last a couple of minutes can leave you hot and bored. Likewise, the time you spend poolside or in the car at training could be put to good use helping to run our Club.

You can find a range of current vacancies on the Management Committee and volunteers page. Speak to one of our Committee members to find out how you can help.

Alternatively, email our training and development officer.

Performance: Transition, Age and Youth Potential, and Performance

  • My swimmer has just joined the Transition Squad and it’s the first squad in the Performance end of the Club – what does that mean?

Swimmers in Transition Squad will start to learn the skills needed to compete at the highest level. These skills are developed as they progress through Transition, to Age and Youth Potential, and ultimately to the top Performance Squad.

Swimming is a tough journey, requiring commitment from swimmers – and their families. The graduated journey through our squads in the Performance end of the Club equips swimmers with the practical, technical and emotional skills they will need to progress to the highest levels.

Training hours will gradually increase and morning training will begin. Swimmers will start to learn about the requirements of high-level competitions as they work towards county, regional and eventually national qualification times. Our Performance programme is designed to support swimmers physically and emotionally on this journey.

  • What’s the difference between a ranked club and a home club? Why is this important?

Swimmers who are members of more than one club can pick one for ranking purposes – the ranked club’s name will appear on the ranking lists. The ranked club is normally the club whose name they compete under in major events – it

will determine the county, region and home nation a swimmer represents. The home club may well be the first swimming club a swimmer joined and is usually the one that they pay their Swim England membership to.

If Team Bath AS is your only club (or ranked club) you will automatically be a Somerset Swimmer, compete under Swim England South West and have a Swim England ranking.

If you think you should have a Swim Wales or Scottish Swimming ranking (this will not change your membership of Team Bath AS), check with our membership secretary.

  • Where do I find qualification times for regional and national competitions?

As a Somerset Club, Team Bath AS comes under Swim England South West. All regional competitions can be found on the Swim England South West Competitions page.

Somerset county competitions are published on the Somerset ASA Swimming page.

British Swimming runs top-level national meets in April and in the summer – details are published on the British Swimming Events page.

The Home Nations (England, Scotland and Wales) also hold national competitions twice a year in December and in the summer. Details are published on the respective national swimming body’s website:

The short course (25m) season runs from September to December. The long course (50m) season runs from January to the end of September.

Our competition secretary will also flag up relevant competitions, qualification times, and entry windows as they arise. You can find out more about scheduled meets on the Events page.

  • I don’t understand the difference between all the national competitions and which ones are relevant for my swimmer.

If your swimmer is fast enough to achieve qualification times for national competitions, they will already be discussing this with their coach.

The main national competitions to be aware of are:

  • National Winter Championships (25m) (December) – run by the British Swimming Home Nations bodies (Swim England, Swim Wales and Scottish Swimming). Must achieve qualification times for entry.
  • British Swimming Championships (usually in April) – the annual qualification event for major international (i.e. World Championships, Olympic Games), Commonwealth and other end-of-season, youth-level international events/pathway programmes. Run by British Swimming. Must achieve qualification times for entry.
  • British Summer Championships (late July/early August) – by invitation to the 24 top-ranked swimmers in each event for each age grouping.
  • National Summer Meets (July/August) – in England and Wales, usually a week after the British Swimming Summer Meet; and in Scotland, usually a week before. Entry by invitation to the next fastest 25-48 swimmers in each event who haven’t been invited to compete in the British Swimming Summer Meet.
  • How do I find out how my swimmer ranks nationally?

You can find your swimmer’s ranking searching by their surname or Swim England (ASA) number on the Rankings page.

You can also find rankings by age group and event over the last 12 months or for all times.

Remember, your swimmer’s ranking age is their age on 31 December.

The Team records page lists the fastest times set by swimmers during their careers as members of Team Bath AS.

Masters swimming

Team Bath AS ended its Masters Swimming Programme in May 2021.

Swim England has information on finding Masters Swimming Clubs.