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2021 Festival of Swimming confirmed

June 6, 2021   By

A Swim England Festival of Swimming is due to take place across the country this summer to offer as many youngsters as possible the opportunity to return to racing. The majority of meets will take place across the two weekends of 24-25 July and 31 July-1 August. All Swim England regions have events scheduled on one or both of those weekends, with the East region also planning a meet at the London Aquatics Centre on 7-8 August.

Grant Robins, Swim England Head of Talent – Swimming, said: “It’s great to have the confirmed dates and venues for this exciting schedule of events. The support and desire by the regions to get this over the line has been incredible. I really hope swimmers, coaches and parents immerse themselves positively in this end of season festival.”

Swim England regions are finalising programmes and will publish the entry procedures and qualification process in due course. In the South West Region, events will be held on 24-25 July at Millfield School for swimmers the Counties of  Dorset, Gloucester, Somerset and Wiltshire, and also at the Plymouth Life Centre for the Counties of Devon and Cornwall. Age groups at these events will be 12/u, 13,14,15,16,17, 18 years and over. Entry details will be published on the Swim England South West Region website and social pages soon; for QTs for Dorset swimmers click here TB Festival Flyer

Licensing for competitions scheduled by Swim England

April 13, 2021   By

Swim England is to begin issuing licenses for Level 4 single club competitions in time for Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown, provided the Government’s targets for the easing of restrictions have been met. Swim England has now also released Return to Competition guidance for event promoters ahead of the country moving into Step 3, which is due to take place no earlier than Monday 17 May.

Tom Baster, the chair of the Swim England Swimming Leadership Group, said: “The release of the Swim England Return to Competition guidance takes us an exciting step closer to what we’re all looking forward to – a return of competitive swimming events. We’re delighted to be at the point where we can begin issuing licenses to give clubs the opportunity to stage level four single club competitions once again. In line with the Government’s own gradual easing of restrictions, the return to competition will need to be similarly phased in its return and, with social distancing remaining in place until at least late June, it is unlikely that any galas this season will resemble galas of old….We do hope, however, that our plans will lead to the full and normal return of racing as soon as possible.”

The release of the Return to Competition guidance will be followed up with a webinar on 21 April to provide event promoters with further support and guidance and to answer any specific questions they may have when considering how to plan and stage a meet/gala. Places can be booked on the webinar by clicking here.

Licensing applications for a single club level four competition will reopen from Monday 26 April. It is hoped that licensing applications for all levels will reopen on Tuesday 1 June with meets commencing from 21 June, which is the Government’s target date for all restrictions to be lifted. In the meantime, Swim England has launched the second series of Level X Racing, which will run until 22 August, and has worked closely with British Swimming and other home nations on the proposed Summer Festival of Swimming.

PHOTO: Simon Wilkinson/SWPIX.COM – Swimming – British Swimming Championships 2012 (Olympic Selection Trials) – Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London, England – 06/03/12.
Issued: 13 April 2021

Dorset County ASA 90th Anniversary

March 29, 2021   By

Dorset County ASA celebrates it 90th Anniversary. The Inaugural Meeting was held at the Junction Hotel in Dorchester on 28 March 1931 and attended by President of the Western Counties ASA, Captain George de Vere Welchman, together with the Regional Treasurer Mr E W Jordan and Secretary Mr R A Colwill. An English diving champion from Sherborne, H E K (Keith) Sawtell, represented the Amateur Diving Association and having helped to bring the various swimming interests in the county together, was elected as the first President of the Dorset County ASA. Also present at the Inaugural Meeting were representatives of swimming clubs from Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Wareham, Wimborne and Weymouth, while Poole SC affiliated in June 1931.

The handwritten minutes of that meeting still exist today and record that a grant of £5 was made by Western Counties ASA to assist in the establishment of the newly formed County Association. The minutes also reveal details of club affiliation fees – up to 15 members the sum of 12s 6d, up to 50 members £1 10s, and up to 100 members the princely sum of 2 guineas. According to the National Archives, the value of those sums today would be circa £30, £73 and £102 respectively, and compared to the average weekly wage at the time for a 50 hour week of £1 8s 10d (£70 today) probably represented a significant outlay to the newly affiliated clubs.

The very first County trophies were also awarded in 1931 – but for only for Diving, and for the Men’s and Boys’ 100 Yard Freestyle events.

Since 1931, our clubs have continued to play an essential and valued role in the County Association, contributing greatly to the local community and the wider sport.


Pools to reopen

November 25, 2020   By


Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that a regional tiered approach to tackle the spread of coronavirus will come into effect from Wednesday 2 December but with the bonus that swimming pools and leisure centres will be allowed to open again.

Swim England is waiting for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to publish updated guidance later this week to understand the full impact on our sports, and in particular what the new system will mean for organised group activities for over 18s, but following is what is known at the moment.

Under 18s will be exempt from restrictions as before so all club activity for all disciplines and learn to swim sessions for under 18s are unaffected.

In tier one areas, indoor sports for over 18s can take place within the rule of six. For example, participants from different households could play three v three water polo. Group activities for over 18s  such as club training sessions and exercise classes can take place in larger numbers, provided that participants are in separate groups (up to six people) that do not mix.

In tier two areas, over 18s can take part in indoor group activity provided there is no mixing between households. People can play certain sports which do not involve close proximity or physical contact against one person from another household.

In tier three areas, indoor sport for over 18s will be restricted to within your household only and there should be no group activity such as exercise classes

Issued 24 November 2020

Seagulls crowdfund to survive

November 9, 2020   By

Last month Sport England announced a £16.5 million Return to Play fund with various pots of cash to give a helping hand to organisations financially impacted by Covid-19 restrictions – an opportunity that Christchurch based Seagulls SC was certainly not going to miss. As part of the Active Together crowdfunding initiative, the club aimed to raise £7.5k in one month with a bonus of 50% match-funding (£3,750) from Sport England provided the club reached within 25% of its target.

The venture was kicked started by Seagulls Chairman David McWilliam with an arduous 96 mile county-wide bike ride to visit all the home pools of Dorset clubs in one day. Setting off on 24 October from Two Riversmeet LC at a dark and chilly six o’clock in the morning, the first stop was Bournemouth Collegiate School then on to Littledown where Swim Bournemouth was already training hard.

Pausing only for a selfie at Stokewood Road, the home of Bournemouth SC, on to Poole and then a longer drag over to Wareham where David, having arrived at the Purbeck Sports Centre, immediately looked onwards to Dorchester stopping only for a quick pit stop after 33 miles.

As the weather brightened, the ride into Dorchester involved a big but picturesque climb over Came Down, and then it was all downhill into Weymouth in view of the bay busy with cruise liners – but soon to be followed by a very blowy ride across the causeway to Portland and Osprey LC, home of Weymouth & Portland WPC and former home of Tornadoes of South Dorset.

Next came the tough section to Bridport and the B3157, with plenty of hills and the traffic far too close for comfort, where David finally arrived at his nemesis – Abbotsbury Hill, which has a brutal incline of 17 deg. “It beat me last time and it beat me again – 75 miles in and I had the shame of having to walk up it!”, said David.

Finally arriving in Bridport after 85 miles and “in pieces”, David was greeted by the welcome sight of his support driver, Seagulls’ treasurer Martin Jaszek. “My legs were shot”, said David “and I had to make the sensible call that there was no way I would make the hilly ride to Sherborne and Shaftesbury before finishing in Blandford as time and my legs were against me. We drove to those two pools and I then cycled from Shaftesbury to Blandford”.

One last ramp at Melbury Abbas near Compton Abbas Airfield was conquered before the final ride into Blandford, with David arriving just after mid-day in 6hr 12 min and all of which involved 96 miles, 3689 calories and 4228 feet/1288 metres of climbing.

Reviewing the ups and downs of the day, David said: “I am disappointed not to complete the full ride but my goal was to raise the profile of our Crowdfunding campaign and I think we did that. We have currently raised an amazing £7807 and still with ten days to go”. Congratulations David – you have done your club proud! 

With his sights also set firmly on supporting his club, and no less effort, Seagulls’ Edward Bell (shown right with his New Forest Rattler achievement award) took to his bike on 24 October as well to participate in the annual New Forest Rattler Endurance Weekend, and bravely opting to attempt the mid cycle circuit route of 82 miles alongside his dad. Despite the very poor weather conditions, the 12-year-old successfully completed the route and within the allotted time, raising £370 from family and friends for the club. An amazing achievement – well done, Edward!