Joining Bristol Henleaze is fairly straightforward, click here to find out more.

Last Updated - Wed, 17th May 2017

What should I bring to training sessions?

When starting you will need a swimming costume (swimming shorts or bikinis are not permitted), a pair of swimming goggles; a swimming hat and a towel. Junior Development swimmers (and above) also need a float, swimming fins and a pull bouy. These are available at most sports shops or from specialist online suppliers.

Junior Development swimmers (and above) should always bring a drink (water or very dilute squash) with them to training sessions and this should be brought to the poolside in a suitable plastic container.

Please make sure everything is labelled with the swimmer's name!

Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 June 2014 )

How do I progress through the club?

Progression through the club is ability based, by attaining certain skills and reaching benchmarks before progression to the next level.

Swim School is organised into ability sets and new swimmers begin swimming widths; gaining confidence and skills in accordance with the National Plan for teaching swimming. By the end of swim school it is the aim that swimmers will be competent and have attained level 7 of the plan.

Swim school swimmers may be invited to join the junior development squad.  There is no automatic progression into the squads.  Bristol Henleaze is a competitive swimming club and as such must give preference to swimmers who show promise, commit to appropriate training levels and who will represent the club at galas and competitions.

As in most sporting disciplines success is attained through practice; the number of hours of training input and the experience and confidence gained from the galas and competitions attended.

Bristol Henleaze strives to make available training hours appropriate to the swimmer and access to a range of competitive galas to suit all abilities. We employ a Chief Coach to administer our training programmes through the Club and oversee the teaching provision.

We have produced many very competent swimmers over the years who have won honours at County and Western Counties level, and a select few who have gone on to compete at National level.

If you have any questions regarding your child or the progress they are making you are welcome to discuss this with your squad coach at the end of a training session.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 June 2014 )

How do I order club kit?

Good news, we have finally got a webpage for our club kit. This can be accessed via the link  or by going through the Initially Yours website . Please can I bring to your attention, that due to the items being embroidered and printed to order, they are non-returnable and non-refundable. In order to avoid any potential sizing problems, I am receiving some samples at the end of this week and will organise some trying-on sessions across the different sites and squads next week. If anyone particularly wants to try something for size, please message me and I will ensure you get an opportunity to do so. 

Think that's it.......HAPPY SHOPPING!


PS. I'm not anticipating any issues but if anyone does experience any problems please do let me know and I'll do my best to help address them.

What is Long Term Athlete Development?


Scientific research has indentified that it takes at least 10 years, or 10,000 hours for talented athletes to achieve sporting excellence. There are no short cuts!

There are two ways in which young swimmers can improve their performance:

  • Training

  • Growth & Development

Long term athlete development (LTAD) is about achieving optimal training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete's career, particularly in relation to the important growth and development years of young people. If a long term approach to training is not adopted there is likely to be a plateau in performance, when growth and development slows significantly. Which for some swimmers may result in their performances getting worse. At this point the short-term training approach cannot be reversed. This often leads to drop out before a swimmer has achieved close to their potential.


There are five clear reasons for introducing a long term athlete development approach:

  • To establish a clear swimmer development pathway

  • To identify gaps in the current swimmer development pathway

  • To realign and integrate the programmes for developing swimmers and swimming in Britain

  • To provide a planning tool, based on scientific research, for coaches and administrators

  • To guide planning for optimal performance

It is anticipated that the principles of LTAD will be used to review existing swimming initiatives led by the governing body and inform any future initiatives. It is hoped that all swimming providers will use LTAD in a similar way. This will enable the swimming community to pull in one direction towards achieving swimming's goals and targets.


The following are some general observations of sporting systems around the world (including Britain)

  • Young athletes under-train, over-compete

  • Low training to competition ratios in early years

  • Adult competition superimposed on young athletes

  • Adult training programmes superimposed on young athletes

  • Male programmes superimposed on females

  • Training in early years focuses on outcomes (winning) rather than processes (optimal training)

  • Chronological age influences coaching rather than biological age

  • The ''critical'' periods of accelerated adaption are not fully utilised

  • Poor training between 6-16 years of age cannot be fully corrected (athletes will never reach genetic potential)

  • The best coaches are encouraged to work at elite level

  • Coach education tends to skim the growth, development and maturation of young people

  • Coaches, swimmers and parents need to be educated in LTAD principles

  • Administrators and officials need to be educated in LTAD principles

Bill Sweetenham (British Swimming National Performance Directot) summed up the current position with the development of British Swimming thus:

''Right now we have too many clubs in Great Britain offering too little training time and in most cases too much competition. This leaves many athletes in a twighlight zone of training too much for fun but too little for results. For a senior athlete training under 8 hours a week the benefits are social, fun, participation, team building and health benefits. For those athletes wishing for an international career and who are serious about optimum performance at national level then swimming in a programme with a high performance objective of 18-25 hours is approximately what it will take to achieve these objectives. However, in most countries and in most clubs, the vast majority of athletes train between 8 and 14 hours per week. Changing this twilight zone should be the major focus of every club and national programme.'' (Bill Sweetenham 2002)


Long Term athlete development (LTAD) is a sports development framework that is based on human growth and development. In short, it is about adopting an athlete centred approach to swimming development.

All young people follow the same pattern of growth from infancy through adolescence, but there are significant individual differences in both the timing and magnitude of the changes that take place. It is however important to stress that human growth and development happens without training, however swimming training can enhance all of the changes that take place.

A number of scientists have reported that there are critical periods in the life of a young person in which the effects of training can be maximised. This has led to the notion that young people should be exposed to specific types of training during periods of rapid growth and that the types of training should change with the patterns of growth. These have been used by DR Istvan Balyi to devise a five stage LTAD framework that has been adapted to swimming:

  • FUNdamental - basic movement literacy Female: 5 to 8 years / Male: 6 to 9 years

  • SwimSkills - building technique Female: 8 to 11 years / Male: 9 to 12 years

  • Training to train - building the engine Female: 11 to 16 years / Male: 12 to 15 years

  • Training to compete - optimising the engine Female: 14 to 16 years / Male: 15 to 18 years

  • Training to win - maximising the engine Female: 16+ years / Male: 18+ years

After reading the above you will realise that Bristol Henleaze SC are now proud followers of British Swimmings LTAD module. ''We would like to think that our training in the early years now focuses on optimal training and our club has an athlete centered approach.'' 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 September 2008 )

What are the BHSC club championships?

The BHSC Club Championships take place annually in the Autumn term and is a Level 4 licensed meet. The events to be swum vary but normally include 50 and 100m in all strokes, and may include 25m events for young swim school swimmers. Swimmers should enter longer distance events at open meets in order to gain County qualification times. Gloucester County use qualification times so it is very important for all swimmers aged 9 and over to enter the club championships to gain these times. It is also an opportunity to gain individual times to help with gala selection (we need 50m times for all strokes).

Swimmers in Bronze Development, Bronze 2, Silver and above are expected to enter all events appropriate to their age. JD1 and Bronze 1 are expected to enter all of the 50m events and the 100IM and may also enter other events. Please note that to stand a chance of being an age group winner, you will need to enter lots of events. It is not always possible to accommodate late entries, so it is better to enter an event if you think that you may want to.

All events are swum on age as at 31st December. There is no minimum age.

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to both boys and girls in the following age groups 9yrs, 10yrs, 11yrs, 12yrs, 13yrs, 14yrs, 15yrs and 16yrs and over. A trophy will be awarded to the top boy and girl in each age group. Points will be awarded for each event completed :- 10 for 1st, 8 for 2nd, 6 for third then 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 down to eighth place. The winner will be the swimmer with most points subject to a minimum number of events. There will also be awards for the most improved swimmer in each event.

Medals are awarded on the night, but awards for age group champions are presented at the Club annual disco and presentation evening later on in the year.

Last Updated (30th August 2018)

What are The Gloucester Blocks ?

A shortish guide to the Gloucester Blocks.

The Gloucester County Championships are called the Gloucester Blocks. They are an annual series of competitive galas held between the months of January and March, and are organised and hosted by the Gloucester County ASA which is the County area that Bristol Henleaze falls inside and to which we are affiliated.

These usually take place at GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester, with long distance swims (800m and 1500m free) being held in a 50m pool (Hengrove or Bath University). The Blocks aims are to identify the fastest swimmers in the County at all ages and offers a valuable opportunity for swimmers to compete against other Gloucester county club swimmers.

Swimmers can be very positively motivated in this competitive environment and it is not unusual for personal best times to be bettered at this event each year.

Swimmers are entered into seeded heats by entry time within age group which results in each race being fairly evenly matched; though there are always the odd exceptions! The County also use the results of these events to assist in the selection of top swimmers to represent Gloucester in County competitions.

Swimmers times can also be used for qualification into the ASA South West Region age group and youth championships held at a 50m pool (Millfield School, Plymouth or Hengrove)later in the year. This is the next level up of competition.

Beyond this are the Nationals held each year at Ponds Forge in Sheffield where swimmers are competing for places in the GB swim squads.

At Gloucester, swimmers are entered into age group heats and are seeded based on the swimmers declared entry time. While the races are held in a gala format swimmers are actually swimming against the clock;  and the fastest time on the day will win the age group.

In the age groups up to 14 years the top eight swimmers in each age group receive a medal -  Gold, Silver Bronze and five Finalists medals. In the 15 and over age groups only the top three swimmers receive medals.

The fastest eight swimmers in any event from all age groups are entered into a final to identify the County Champion.

So how do you get to the County Blocks? The first step is to achieve a qualifying or consideration time in any of our clubs galas or championships. Qualifying times are set by the County each year and will be published with the entry forms.

The entry pack is normally published on the GCASA website in October each year and gives the entry form, qualifying times and the programme of dates and events.

The club enters Bristol Henleaze swimmers en-masse and will co-ordinate the entries in advance of the cut-off dates. If you want to be considered talk to the coaches who will confirm whether your times are within those required.

After that it is a case of signing up on Active and paying your entry fees.

I have been accepted, Now what?

For young swimmers it can be quite a daunting prospect, particularly if they have not been involved in many galas. But they should know that many familiar faces from the club may be there, and it is a friendly and enjoyable event which brings many benefits. They should not be surprised to see 200 or so swimmers from different clubs all around the pool.

So turn up at the right pool on the right day and in time for signing in and the warm-up and stay positive.

Programs are normally published in advance, but heats are decided on the day. The club will be happy to give any guidance required.

At the venue, get changed, put your belongings into your kit bag and bring it with you poolside. Don't leave anything in the changing rooms. Have your club hat and wear your club shirt! Bristol Henleaze swimmers all sit together and one or two of our coaches/teachers are poolside to marshal swimmers into their heats.

As the day progresses swimmers will be told to swim in the warm up and later sent down to the race desk ahead of their race; they will then be marshalled into their heats by the event marshals and swim their heat.

After the heat they should return to the teacher/Coaches to talk about the race.

 Where you come in the heat is not normally an indication of where you have finished as their may be 5 heats of swimmers in your age group. Parents are known to record times of other heats so that they can try to place their own child; usually to find out if they need to hold on for the finals or the medals ceremony or whether they can go home!

Results are also printed out throughout the day and posted up on the wall somewhere in the pool.

In Conclusion.

The Blocks are an important part of the swimming calendar and an integral part of a competitive swimmers development and progression through the ranks. Swimmers should aim to compete at the blocks and will be positively encouraged to do so by the club and coaches.

A swimmers progress can be a long and slow process with plateaus that can last for months with minimal improvements in time. These can be punctuated by sudden improvements due to physical development and also by the approach and commitment to training and other motivational influences.

Improvement in rank at the Blocks can be one of those motivations.

Nobody should underestimate the significance of achieving a place medal at the County blocks. Many swimmers will have worked hard for many years to attain it and it is in itself a great achievement for a swimmer.

Last Updated ( 30th August 2018 )

What are Open Meets?

Open meets are hosted by many clubs across the country. They are an open invitation for other teams or individual swimmers to come and compete.

Open meets are advertised in swimming magazines and on club web sites.

These competitions are usually graded as level 1, 2 or 3 and as a rule of thumb they rank as follows: 

  • Level 1 meets are for swimmers with National or Regional qualifying times. Swim England Cat 2 membership is needed.

  • Level 2 meets are for swimmers with County qualifying times. Swim England Cat 2 membership is needed.

  • Level 3 meets are for all qualifying swimmers. Swim England Cat 2 membership is needed.

  • Level 4 meets are closed and are for members of one club only (normally club championships or time trials). Swim England Cat 2 membership is NOT needed. L4 meets are classed as low level competition, so only Cat 1 is required.

The meet will normally be held at the host clubs home swimming pool or other facility hired for the event.

Some meets, for example the Weston Super Mare Open Meet, The UBSC Open Meet , Three Towers Open Meet and Gloucester City Open Meet happen a couple of times a year, and others are Annual events. Bristol Henleaze attend a number of these open meets as a club throughout the year. Our swimmers are also encouraged to enter meets in their own right if they would like to do so, but please ask your coach if he/she thinks that this is a good idea.

The hosts of an open meet may set lower and upper qualifying times for their meet by event and age group. This is to encourage fair competition and to discourage swimmers of too high a standard entering low level competitions.

If your PB time is slower than the qualifying time published for the meet you should not enter. It has been known for entrants to 'bend the truth' a little on these times but it is not encouraged and can be damaging to a swimmers confidence if they are entered into a significantly strong competition.

The club can help with the application and swimmers are requested to inform their coaches of their intention to enter any meet. This is purely a matter of courtesy as the swimmer will be entering under the Bristol Henleaze name.

The first step in entering an open meet is to obtain the entry pack. This will consist of a programme, the rules, an entry form and in many cases a table of qualifying times. Many clubs put these on their websites for downloading.

When you are satisfied that you meet the criteria set out you simply complete the entry form and send it off with your entry fee to the host club. You should know the Personal Best times of the swimmer for the races being considered and check they fall within the range required for that meet.

In some cases your application may be turned down if an open meet is over subscribed or if your times are outside of the criteria requested.

After this you simply turn up at the meet at the right time, sign in if required or post your entry cards on arrival (less common these days but usually in a box at reception) and make sure you get into the warm up session directly ahead of your races. Then keep an eye on the programme, listen out for announcements and make sure you present yourself at the race control desk in plenty of time for your race.

If Bristol Henleaze Swimming Club are entering a group of swimmers for an open meet there will be one or more of our coaches or teachers on the poolside to guide swimmers.

If you have any questions please do ask. Open meets are an important part of competitive swimming and offer swimmers of all abilities the opportunity to enter into competition.

Last Updated (30th Augst 2018 )

How can I support my swimmer's club?

Support your Club, your Club needs you!

Our swimming Club relies on volunteers to make it run and without them, your club will struggle to provide the service you expect.

  • Can you spare some time to help out?

  • Do you know if we need help in any areas?

  • Can you offer any skills to help ?

Your Club needs:

  • Volunteer Swimming Teachers

  • Volunteer Teachers Assistants

  • Timekeepers

  • Gala Helpers to fill all sorts of roles when we run home gala's or travel away.

We will provide instruction and training where required.

if you can help, make yourself known to any committee member or coach at a session. We can also be contacted through the "Contact Us" page.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 June 2014 )

How can I find my swimmer's pb's or entry times?

We are often asked how swimmers can find their results or entry times for swimming meets. All of the results for galas etc. are recorded using Hytek’s Team Manager software, and the club can then upload up to the last 4 years’ results onto the website.

Results from Licensed Meets are recorded on Active and can be accessed via your account.

The “Members” pages of the website are password protected and the password is e-mailed to all parents at the start of a term.

To find entry times for a meet

1. Find the Members tab on the Home page and enter the password. Click on the grey “BHSC Database” box. You may be asked to accept cookies. If a list of many clubs appears, then please ignore it, close the window and try again.
2. Click on "BHSC Results Database".
3. A blue box appears in a separate window - click on "Entries".
4. Find the meet that you have entered and click on "Entries" to the left of the meet name. Scroll down and you'll find all of your swimmer’s entry times.

To see your results


1. Find the Members tab on the Home page and enter the password. Click on the grey “BHSC Database” box. You may be asked to accept cookies. If a list of many clubs appears, then please ignore it, close the window and try again.
2. Click on "BHSC Results Database". This appears on the main menu only when you are logged in.
3. Click on "Athletes".
4. Athletes are arranged by surname in alphabetical order. Click on the letter that corresponds to you surname.  If there too many swimmers whose surname begins with a particular letter, then you can alter the number of “Records per page” – it only shows the first 20 unless you change it.
5. Click on “Times” next to the swimmer’s name.

6. It will look like there are no times at all, but the system defaults to courses in yards, so you need to reset the "Course" to SCM (short course metres) or LCM (long course metres) depending on whether you are looking for long or short course times.
The fastest "1" will appear, but you can change the number of fastest results to anything you choose.

Which squad am I in?

You can find the name of your squad by logging into your Active account.

Provisional lists are kept in the Members section of the website.


Safeguarding children: Swimline

The ASA with the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) operates Swimline

Swimline was launched over 10 year ago and is a confidential free-phone number provided for anyone involved in aquatics, adults or children, who believe that the welfare of someone under the age of 18 is at risk.  This concern could be neglect, abuse, bullying or fear of someone or anything that is worrying you and you don’t know who to discuss it with.

When calling Swimline you will get through to an answer phone where you will be asked to leave your name and contact details and if you wish some brief details of your concern.  The ASA Safeguarding Team or a Swimline volunteer will call you back, listen to your concerns and agree a way forward with you.

If there is an issue which causes concern the ASA will act to protect the child or children involved.

If you leave a message we aim to contact you back during the next working day.  If you leave a message after 3pm on a Friday, or over a weekend we will contact you back on the following Monday. If you need to speak to someone immediately you can follow the instructions on the answer phone message and be transferred immediately to the NSPCC.  The NSPCC counsellors will advise you directly if you choose this option.

Swimline calls are free and do not appear on an itemised phone bill unless your call is made from a mobile phone.