We have a wide range of swim squads targeted at all ages. There is a more competitive pathway for those who want to race and a less competitive club pathway for those who want to train and develop their aquatic skills.

Assessment and progression

Bristol Penguins promotes a long-term journey through the sport of swimming. This is based on the Swim England principles of promoting different athlete development support pathways that are most suited to each individual swimmer, their attainment, attitude and attendance. There are two pathways through the club and when the squad entry criteria are met, it is possible to move across from one pathway to another. It is also possible to join the club at any point along the pathway.

Each squad in the club is assessed four times a year. For all squads, the principle consideration is the coaches’ assessment of their swimmers’ technique and training data from swim tests. For the higher squads some additional measures are introduced.

BPOSC Squad Moves Policy April 2021

Attendance

Regular attendance has a significant impact on skill progression and in building a complete understanding of the sport. In order to stay in the higher competitive squads, there is a threshold minimum attendance to achieve. There may be short term extenuating circumstances, which can be discussed with the squad coach. It is the swimmers’ responsibility to tell their coach if they are going to miss sessions.

Missed assessments

The dates of upcoming assessment weeks are communicated to parents and swimmers. Attendance to these sessions is especially important, as gathering the data allows a detailed and fair process to take place. If a swimmer misses the assessment week, the coach will try and allow them to repeat, but this may not be possible. If a swimmer misses the assessment week and also the mop up week, then they have to wait to be assessed again at the end of the next 12 weeks cycle.

Coach to swimmer feedback

If a swimmer does not move up to the next squad, then swimmers and parents can request feedback from the squad lead coach. The lead coach will have the assessment data and will explain the progress that the swimmer needs to make in order to successfully reach the criteria for the next squad and / or the other pathway options within the club.

Swim Academy

Lead Coach: Polly Mullen
Teaching National Plan for Teaching Swimming Stages 5-8. Swimmers will be taught the FUNdamentals of swimming in an enjoyable environment.

For more information on our Swim Academy click here, or for training times click here

Swim Academy 1

Lead Teacher: Polly Mullen

Age Range: 6-8 years (guideline)

Sessions 1 or 2 per week

Swim Academy 1 is the lowest entry to the club, teaching the fundamental skills of aquatic swimming, with the addition of some core competitive swimming skills. This is similar to Swim England Stage 5.

Equipment Swim hat, goggles and appropriate club swimwear i.e. no two pieces suits, baggy shorts or wetsuits (rash vests are acceptable).

Pathway In order to move into Swim Academy 2, progress is reviewed by stroke technique assessments and outcomes relating to the squad level, which are all scored by their swim teacher. Swimmers work through a 12-week cycle of lessons and are continually assessed and then scored at the end of the cycle.

Swimming badges and awards The swimmer can achieve their Swim England Stage 5 badge upon moving up to Swim Academy 2. Distance badge sessions will be run at least once a year within the lessons.

Swim Academy 2

Lead Teacher: Polly Mullen

Age Range: 6-8 years (guideline)

Sessions 1 or 2 per week

Swim Academy 2 continues to teach the fundamental skills of aquatic swimming with the addition of some core competitive swimming skills. This is similar to Swim England Stage 6.

Equipment Swim hat, goggles and appropriate club swimwear i.e. no two pieces suits, baggy shorts or wetsuits (rash vests are acceptable).

Pathway In order to move into Swim Academy 3, progress is reviewed by stroke technique assessments and outcomes relating to the squad level, which are all scored by their swim teacher. Swimmers work through a 12-week cycle of lessons and are continually assessed and then scored at the end of the cycle.

Swimming badges and awards The swimmer can achieve their Swim England Stage 6 badge upon moving up to Swim Academy 3. Distance badge sessions will be run at least once a year within the lessons.

Swim Academy 3

Lead Teacher: Polly Mullen

Age Range: 7-9 years (guideline)

Sessions 1 or 2 per week

Swim Academy 3 continues to teach the fundamental skills of aquatic swimming with the addition of some core competitive swimming skills. This is similar to Swim England Stage 7. Swimmers may start to make their first steps into swim racing by entering the friendly internal club competitions.

Equipment Swim hat, goggles and appropriate club swimwear i.e. no two pieces suits, baggy shorts or wetsuits (rash vests are acceptable). It is desirable to have a pair of short fins (not flippers or long fins)

Pathway In order to move into Swim Academy 4, progress is reviewed by stroke technique assessments and outcomes relating to the squad level, which are all scored by their swim teacher. Swimmers work through a 12-week cycle of lessons and are continually assessed and then scored at the end of the cycle.

Swimming badges and awards The swimmer can achieve their Swim England Stage 7 badge and also distance badge awards in separately run sessions.

Swim Academy 4

Lead Teacher: Polly Mullen

Age Range: 7-9 years (guideline)

Sessions 1 or 2 per week

Swim Academy 4 is the top of the learn to swim programme and continues to teach the fundamental skills of aquatic swimming with the addition of some core competitive swimming skills. This is similar to Swim England Stage 8. Swimmers may start to make their first steps into swim racing by entering friendly internal club competitions.

Equipment Swim hat, goggles and appropriate club swimwear i.e. no two pieces suits, baggy shorts or wetsuits (rash vests are acceptable). Swimmers need to have a pair of short fins (not flippers or long fins) to aid the training of strokes.

Competitive Pathway option In order to move into the competitive pathway of Development 1, progress is reviewed by stroke technique assessments and outcomes relating to the squad level, which are all scored by their swim teacher. Swimmers work through a 12-week cycle of lessons and are continually assessed and then scored at the end of the cycle.

Club Pathway option Swimmers may instead choose the club pathway and move across to Junior Club. This route suits swimmers who are less competitive.

Swimming badges and awards The swimmer can achieve their Swim England Stage 8 badge and also distance badge awards in separately run sessions.

Junior competitive pathway

The Development squads are the beginning of the competitive pathway. This suits swimmers who are eager to swim a few times each week and would like to start to compete in fun galas and introductory competitions.

Click each title for more information.

Development 1

Lead Coach: JP Holmes

Development 1 is the start of the competitive pathway where swimmers will learn all four strokes correctly and learn starts, turns and finishes. This is when swimmers are introduced to competition in some galas and introductory open meets.

Age Range: 8-10 years (guideline)

Sessions: 2 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, club galas and level 3 or level 4 open meets.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard and pull buoy.

Pathway: In order to move up to Development 2, their swim coach will score their strokes and skills whilst taking swim times into consideration. Also, the swimmer must be able to swim 200m front crawl under 4mins 40 sec and a 75m timed kick.

Swimming award: The swimmer can achieve the Swim England Club Award 1 and also distance badge awards.

Development 1 training schedule is available on the Training Times page – competitive pathway.

Development 2

Lead Coach: JP Holmes

In Development 2, swimmers will learn all four strokes correctly along with starts, turns, finishes and begin to learn Individual Medley swimming. This is when swimmers are introduced to competition in some galas and introductory open meets.

Age Range: 8-11 years (guideline)

Sessions: 3 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, club galas and level 3 or level 4 open meets.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard and pull buoy. A snorkel is optional (a nose clip may be useful).

Pathway: In order to move up to Development 3, their swim coach will score their strokes and skills whilst taking swim times into consideration. Also, the swimmer must be able to swim 400m front crawl under 8mins 40 sec, 75m kick under 2 mins and swim a legal 100m Individual Medley.

Swimming award: The swimmer can achieve the Swim England Club Awards 2 and 3 and also distance badge awards.

Development 2 training schedule is available on the Training Times page – competitive pathway.

Development 3

Lead Coach: Joel Howard

In Development 3, swimmers will learn all four strokes correctly and learn starts, turns, finishes and continue to learn Individual Medley swimming This is when swimmers are introduced to competition in some galas and introductory open meets.

Age Range: 9-12 years (guideline)

Sessions: 3 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, club galas and level 3 or level 4 open meets.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy and snorkel.

Competitive Pathway: In order to move up to Bronze, their swim coach will score their strokes and skills whilst taking swim times into consideration. Also, the swimmer must be able to swim 800m front crawl under 16mins, 75m kick under 1 min 45 sec and swim a legal 100m Individual Medley. Gaining county consideration times or qualifying times is desirable.

Change of pathway: Swimmers may choose to move across to Age Group Club on the club pathway. This route will suit swimmers who are less competitive.

Swimming award: The swimmer can achieve the Swim England Club Awards 4 and 5 and also distance badge awards

Development 3 training schedule is available on the Training Times page – competitive pathway.

Higher level competitive pathway

The higher level squads are for those swimmers eager to commit to multiple training sessions each week. These swimmers have the desire to train in and out of the pool, aspire to gain county, regional and national times, will represent the club at galas and want to become fully rounded athletes.

Click each title for more information.

Bronze

Lead Coach: John Ferguson

In the Bronze squad, swimmers are coached to improve all their technical abilities as they learn to train. These Age Group swimmers gain county times in a range of competitions. Swimmers begin to learn physical training habits, tactical awareness and further their knowledge and understanding of how to train effectively and perform. There will be an introduction to land training, pre pool warm up and post pool stretching.

Age Range: 10-13 years (guideline)

Sessions: 5 or 6 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, expected to enter four level 2 and 3 open meets, County championships and club galas.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, spare goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy and snorkel. Resistance bands and foam rollers will be required for pre and post pool training.

Competitive Pathway: Swimmers work through a 6 to 7 week cycle of sessions and are assessed continuously with competition results being a key factor. In order to move up to Silver, the swimmer must be able to swim a timed 75m kick, 100m IM + 100m FC, complete a set of 6 x 100m as 100m IM, 4 x 100m FC and 100m IM on 2mins. Gaining county qualifying times is required, with the swimmer showing regional potential.

Attendance: Attendance must be kept at a minimum of 60% to stay in the squad.

Bronze training schedule is available on the Training Times page – competitive pathway.

Silver

Lead Coach: David Cousins

In the Silver squad, swimmers are coached to train effectively and develop their technical abilities. These Age Group swimmers gain county and some regional times in a range of competitions. Swimmers continue to learn pre-pool training habits, tactical awareness and further their knowledge and understanding of how to train effectively and perform. There will be land training, pre pool warm up and post pool stretching.

Age Range: 12-14 years (guideline)

Sessions: 6 or 7 x per week

Competitions: Club Championships, expected to enter four or more level 1,2 or 3 open meets, county championships, regional championships and club galas.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, spare goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy, hand paddles and snorkel. Resistance bands and foam rollers will be required for pre and post pool training.

Competitive Pathway: Swimmers work through a 6 to 7 week cycle of sessions and are assessed continuously with competition results being a key factor. In order to move up to Gold or Gold + complete a set of 10 x 100m FC on 1.40, 200m Individual Medley in under 3 mins and 3 x 75m FC = 200m FC pb time. Also, training behaviours and attendance will be part of the consideration to move up.

Attendance: Attendance must be kept at a minimum of 60% to stay in the squad.

Silver training schedule is available on the Training Times page – competitive pathway.

Gold

Lead Coach: Josh Jobbins

Gold squad of swimmers aged 14-18 years old is for Youth swimmers gaining some regional times. Swimmers will be working on training all major energy systems while peaking for targeted events throughout the season. These swimmers complete pre – post pool and land training whilst progressing their technical, tactical and psychological understanding of how to prepare effectively, train and perform.

Age Range:14-18 years (guideline)

Sessions: 5 x per week

Competitions: Club Championships, expected to enter four or more level 1,2 or 3 open meets, county championships, regional championships and club galas.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy, hand and finger paddles and snorkel. Resistance bands and foam rollers will be required for pre and post pool training.

Pathway To move up to Gold + swimmers must gain multiple county times and some regional consideration times, complete a test set of 10x100m IM on 1min 50sec, 75m kick under 1min 20sec, and a combined time for 200m IM plus 200m FC.

Attendance: Attendance must be kept at a minimum of 60% to stay in the squad.

Gold training schedule is available on the Training Times page – competitive pathway.

Gold +

Lead Coach: Josh Jobbins

Gold + squad is for Youth swimmers aged 14-18 years old gaining regional and national times. Swimmers will be working on training all major energy systems while peaking for targeted events throughout the season. These swimmers complete pre and post pool training and further progress their physical, technical, tactical and psychological development in order to maximize their potential as performers. A commitment to the high level of training required is an essential aspect of being an athlete in this squad.

Age Range: 14-18 years (guideline)

Sessions: 7 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, expected to enter four or more level 1,2 or level 3 open meets, county championships, regional championships and club galas.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy, hand and finger paddles and snorkel. Resistance bands and foam rollers will be required for pre and post pool training.

Pathway To maintain a place in Gold + swimmers must gain multiple county times, show regional qualifying potential (be within 5% of a gaining regional times), agree to the squad ethos and training mind-set. Complete training set of 3 x 75m FC = 200m FC pb time and 200m IM + 200m FC with 4 min rest interval.

Attendance: Attendance must be kept at a minimum of 60% to stay in the squad.

Gold + training schedule is available on the Training Times page – competitive pathway.

Club pathway

The club pathway is for those swimmers who want a lighter commitment. It is the less competitive route through the club, although there is still the option to enter competitions for those who want to.

Click each title for more information.

Junior Club

Lead Coach: JP Holmes

Junior Club is the start of the club pathway. This squad is for swimmers who enjoy swimming and are eager to obtain the key skills for aquatic sports but are less competitive. Swimmers will improve their stroke technique and a wide range of aquatic skills.

Age Range: 9 – 11 years (guideline)

Sessions: 1 or 2 per week

Competitions: Club championships and novice galas (optional).

Equipment Needed: Working goggles, Penguins swimming hat and short fins.

Pathway: In order to move into Age Group Club, progress is reviewed by stroke technique assessments and outcomes relating to the squad level, which are all scored by their swim coach. Squad moves are based on the coach’s decision and will also take into account the age of the swimmer and the ability to cope with the physical demands of training with Age Group Club.

Swimming award: The swimmer can achieve distance badge awards.

Junior Club training schedule is available on the Training Times page – club pathway.

Age Group Club

Lead Coach: JP Holmes

In Age Group Club, swimmers will learn all four strokes correctly and learn starts, turns, finishes and continue to learn Individual Medley swimming. There is a greater focus on stamina and fitness.

Age Range: 12-14 years (guideline)

Sessions: 3 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, Cotswold League, novice/development galas, junior galas and a range of events at level 3 and level 4 open meets (optional).

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy and snorkel.

Youth Club Pathway: In order to move up to Youth Club, swimmers must be able to swim 6 x 100m front crawl on 2 mins, complete a timed 75m kick test and be able to cope with the physical demands of training with Youth Club.

Youth Club + Pathway: This route is for swimmers who want to swim for fitness and also represent the club in some galas and open meets. In order to move up to Youth Club + swimmers must be able to swim 6 x 100m front crawl on 2 mins and complete a timed front crawl kick test. They will also be timed in 50m sprints for all strokes and 100m IM sprint and must be able to cope with the physical demands of training with Youth Club +.

Swimming award: The swimmer can achieve distance badge awards.

Age Group Club training schedule is available on the Training Times page – club pathway.

Youth Club

Lead Coach: JP Holmes

In Youth Club, swimmers will improve stroke technique and wider aquatic skills, whilst enjoying swimming for fitness.

Age Range: 14-18 years (guideline)

Sessions: 3 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, level 3 open meets, Cotswold League and club galas (optional).
Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy, hand paddles and snorkel.

Pathway: Swimmers will be timed on 4 x 50m sprints of all strokes, a 75m FC kick test and perform a legal 100m IM.  They will also complete a T-30 test (distance swum in 30mins) six times a year. This squad prepares them for Masters training as an adult.

Youth Club training schedule is available on the Training Times page – club pathway.

Youth Club +

Lead Coach: JP Holmes

Youth Club + is for those swimmers who have a greater commitment to training but do not want to train as often as Gold squad. They will have the desire to represent the club in some open meets and galas.

Age Range: 14-18 years (guideline)

Sessions: 3 x per week

Competitions: Club championships, level 3 open meets and club galas. Expected to attend a minimum of 2 open meets per year.

Equipment Needed: Water bottle, working goggles, Penguins swimming hat, short fins, kickboard, pull buoy, hand paddles and snorkel.

Pathway: Swimmers will be timed on 4 x 50m sprints of all strokes, 3 x 100m of FC, BK and BR, 100m IM and a timed 75m FC kick test They will also complete a T-30 test (distance swum in 30mins) six times a year. For those that meet the criteria, there is the option.

Youth Club training schedule is available on the Training Times page – club pathway.

Masters

Lead Coach: John Ferguson
This squad is for 18 year olds and older. It is a great squad for those who want to maintain fitness, whilst some swimmers choose to compete for the club in gala series such as the spring league.

For more about our Masters squad click here

Penguins Swimming Pathways

Notes

  • The Swim England Athlete Development Support Pathway is based on the principle of building a long term journey through the sport of swimming.
  • All ages given are for guidance.
  • Squad entry criteria are based on attainment, attitude and attendance.
  • qt’s refer to qualifying times
  • ct’s refer to consideration times