Swimming and Aquatics

Swimming has been around for centuries. It is one of the most popular sports for individuals and teams. Common water-based disciplines include recreational/competitive lane swimming, water polo, artistic swimming, diving, open water swimming and different forms of water aerobics.

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Swimming and Aquatics in the School Games

Swimming is completely unique. It’s the only sport that can ultimately save lives through the water safety skills that it requires, as well as offering a combination of fun, health and wellbeing, and fitness benefits. Swimming and water safety are part of the national curriculum for PE at key stages 1 and 2.

There is a School Games Format Pack for swimming, which includes resources that encourage healthy competition and skill development in primary school children of all abilities. Swim England, swimming’s national governing body, provides supplementary resources and guidance on how schools can run or get involved aquatic activities throughout the year to continue pupils’ skill development. Visit swimming.org/schools/national-campaigns for more information. 

All games and activities in the School Games Format Pack align with the national curriculum requirements for swimming, helping pupils develop essential skills in a fun yet structured way, and schools to meet their PE attainment targets.

All games and activities in the School Games pack for swimming can be performed in group swimming lesson environments with minimal or basic equipment, that is readily available at most swimming pools.

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Swimming improves confidence & cognitive skills in young people! Regular swimming can help children perform better in curriculum subjects like maths and English language.

Swim England

Swim England is the national governing body for swimming, diving, water polo, open water swimming, and artistic swimming in England. It forms part of British Swimming, a federation of the national governing bodies of England, Scotland, and Wales. We support schools, swimming teachers, coaches and other aquatic professionals to help people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely, and compete in all our sports. Our vision is of a nation swimming and we strive to inspire everyone to enjoy the water in the way that suits them.

Newsletter: Join the Swim England School Swimming and Water Safety Charter to get the latest on school swimming. Visit www.swimming.org/schools/school-swimming-water-safety-charter 


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American-born Michael Phelps is the most famous competitive swimmer in the world. He’s won more Olympic medals than anyone else in any other sport, making him an all-time record holder.

Getting involved in Swimming and Aquatics

School Games Formats

  • Intra-School Primary: Competition Cards (Aquasplash)
  • Intra-School Primary: Challenge Cards
  • Intra-School Secondary: Competition Cards
  • Local Inter-School: Competition Cards


To support the Intraschool primary competition format, Swim England offers ‘Aquasplash’. This is a fun, inclusive gala for primary schools. It’s made up of eight team-based activities that encourage healthy competition and cover skills across the aquatic disciplines. Aquasplash not only forms part of the School Games, it’s also a great celebration event for skills learnt during school swimming lessons. Additional free resources and further information can be found at: www.swimming.org/schools/aquasplash

The Big School Swim 

The Big School Swim is an annual event that celebrates swimming in schools. It attracts over 70,000 pupils and almost 6000 schools each year and is fantastic way to help your pupils continue to see the fun and importance of swimming and water safety at school. Find out more and get involved for free: www.swimming.org/swimengland/big-school-swim

School Swimming and Water Safety Charter

Swim England offers schools the School Swimming and Water Safety Charter to help them deliver curriculum swimming to primary school pupils and meet the national curriculum requirements for school swimming. There are thousands of schools in England that are successfully delivering their swimming lessons using the charter guidance and resource packs, and boosting pupil attainment. Why not join them: www.swimming.org/schools/school-swimming-water-safety-charter

Activities to do at home

Schools that sign up to the Swim England School Swimming and Water Safety Charter are supplied with a whole range of lesson plan templates, activity sheets and worksheets, which link in with the national curriculum requirements for swimming and water safety, and can be done either at home or in the classroom – outside of the pool environment. Some of these resources are also offered for free via the Swim England digital library. 

Visit the school swimming section of the Swim England digital library to download free resources.

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