How do you start up a swimming club?

The steps to set up a new swimming club vary for each State Association.

The following steps are provided as a guideline, however your best bet is to contact your State Association to find out what the exact requirements are in your State.

  1. Develop a Club Constitution (most States offer a model Constitution for you to follow)
  2. Identify Club Office Bearers including a President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registrar.
  3. Hold the Club’s first Annual General Meeting to ratify the Constitution and Office Bearers
  4. Complete an affiliation form for your State Association and then forward this together with a copy of the Constitution and Office Bearers to your State Association
  5. Most Affiliation Forms require details like:
    1. club contact details, training facility details, club colours and Club CAN
    2. Annual Membership fees
    3. Names and details of office bearers and coaches
    4. Payment of an affiliation fee
  6. You will then be required to enter your members into the National database.  The number of swimmers required by each State is slightly different and varies between 15 and 30 persons.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

When you join a swimming club is there a pre – requisite that you need to be able to swim a full length of the pool?

Should swimming club training should only be squad type training or can the coaches offer assistance with stroke development and improve technique for younger swimmers(5-7year age group)?

What is the best way to grade the swimmers?  What skills do they need to have before joining the club?

Each Swimming Club will be a little bit different in regards to what pre-requisites they will have to be able to join the swimming club.

In general, when young swimmers first start swimming in squad type training (7-9 years) they will be encouraged by their coach to join the associated swimming club so that they can compete in junior competitions.

Stroke development and technique improvement should be a priority for coaches of children of all ages, but particularly those aged 6 to 12 years and all children in junior squads.

Most clubs that I have been involved in have invited children who swim twice a week for an hour in a novice or junior squad to join their swimming club and begin taking part in encouragement type swim meets.

The skills required include the ability to swim freestyle, backstrokeand breaststroke with good technique and timing as well as a knowledge of butterfly and an idea of how to start and turn correctly in each stroke.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

Our council is painting our local pool that we use of our swimming club and occasional carnivals.  They have asked me to get guidelines on requirements for carnivals. E.g. do the painted lines have to go up the walls?

Please find below information from FINA, the world governing body for swimming.  This is the latest information on lane markings:

Fina Rule 2.13 Lane Markings shall be of a dark contrasting colour, placed on the floor of the pool in the centre of each lane.
Width: minimum 0.2 metre, maximum 0.3 metre.
Length: 46.0 metres for 50 metre long pools;
21.0 metres for 25 metre long pools.

Each lane line shall end 2.0 metres from the end wall of the pool with a distinctive cross line 1.0 metre long and of the same width as the lane line. Target lines shall be placed on the end walls or on the touch panels, in the centre of each lane, of the same width as the lane lines. They shall extend without interruption from the deck edge (curb), to the floor of the pool. A cross line 0.5 metre long shall be placed 0.3 metre below the water surface, measured to the centre point of the cross line.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

We currently have a problem at our club at the moment. We have around a hundred kids at various levels.

At the moment we have 4 coaches the problem is three of them which are teaching the lower squads are self taught and dont have any real qualifications. Our other coach which joined last year is very qualified . However this is where the problem lies we are a rural club and some of the swimmers and parents of the top swimmers find it hard to attend all the sessions(but still want pbs and medals) the coach wants to get rid of these swimmers and have only dedicated swimmers.

I have been asked to try and resolve some of the issues. I understand where the coach is coming from but i am not in favour of just getting rid of swimmers I feel we need to find a balance and see what the reason for not training is first. It is as though the coach only wants totally dedicated swimmers (more like trained robots) Then we have the other coaches that cannot understand where there is a problem they feel that by letting a child swim length after length without out any corrections they will eventually pick up the stroke…Although we dont want to force swimmers out of the club because they do not train every session(some of these will never make it as a top class swimmer however some have got talent even without full training) we also dont see the point in having swimmers in the pool without teaching them technique.

Im not sure where to start as I want the best soloution that will benefit the children (this may upset some coaches and parents, but ultimately it is the interest and welfare of the kids that is important.

Do you please have any suggestions?

You have a number of issues there and I will try to cover them all off with my thoughts.

The Committee who runs the club needs to meet and decide on their future direction and what the focus of the club will be on.  This is often difficult because you may have differing thoughts as to the focus however there is a way to bring it together.  These will include:

  • Improving swimming performance at the top level
  • Ensuring quality programs are offered to junior and age group swimmers
  • Catering for all levels, from the serious competitive swimmer to the club swimmer who swims 2 or 3 times a week for enjoyment

Your ‘very qualified coach’ should be responsible for

  • Improving the swimming performance of those age, youth and open swimmers who are serious about swimming
  • Provide assistance and development pathways to the other three coaches as part of his position.  By up skilling these coaches, they will produce swimmers with better technique and aerobic capacity that will fit into the culture that he wants at his level.  A focus on this for the next couple of years will ensure a number of good swimmers with a strong foundation will come through your club.

Your 3 coaches should:

  • Work on improving their knowledge of the sport by attending development workshops or working alongside the ‘qualified’ coach
  • Ensure the junior swimmers are being provided the foundation they require including a focus on technique, improving their fitness and having fun.

Easy to say, harder to do.  The key is getting the coaching team to put aside their egos and work together for the benefit of all swimmers in the program.

If the coaches go in this direction, they could become part of something very special.  Successful swimming clubs can be fast-tracked of their coaches and committees work together to ensure the best environment and pathways are provided to every swimmer.  This is the priority (as you mention below), what is best for the kids.

In regards to the parents, I am in the process of finalizing a book called ‘Swimming for Parents’ and it covers off all the different areas that a parent should be aware of to assist their child to enjoy the sport of swimming and to become the best swimmer they can be.  It covers off why the kids need to attend so many training sessions, what the benefits are and the normal expectations of a coach at the different levels in the sport.  It is very relevant to all swimming parents and would help you educate parents as they come into the club on all the different areas of swimming.  It is written for new parents to the sport, right through to parents with 18 year olds involved at a National level.  More details can be found at and you can enter your details to get updates on its release.  You can also promote the website to your parent base too if you wish.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

We would love some advice on running a successful swim carnival. Our carnival is in October, in Toowoomba. How do we attract some good Brisbane clubs? Your advice is appreciated.

Running a successful swimming carnival is very important for most clubs in Australia as they provide an income stream for the club, provide club members the opportunity to compete and they assist in promoting your club to swimmers all over the State.

Once you have your swim meet program, promote it throughout your district or region as well as through any avenues offered by your State Association.

If you are looking to attract swimmers from Brisbane Clubs, it is the coach at each of these clubs that you need to target as they will generally make the decision on whether to attend a meet. If your coach or representative made personal contact with the coaches of the top 20 clubs in Brisbane and explained the benefits of competing in your meet, you would hopefully get some takers.

Ensure your meet finishes at a reasonable time so that Brisbane swimmers can get home on the Sunday night and be ready for training and school on the Monday morning.

The other suggestion is to negotiate some cheap accommodation in Toowoomba on the Saturday night and make an offer to the Brisbane Clubs to come up after training on Saturday morning and then train in the afternoon, have a team dinner, stay the night and then compete on the Sunday. Many clubs would find this appealing.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

Our Swimming Club in Victoria, used to be great! We were amongst the best in our area.

Its no longer running, we all grew up and lost interest getting into our higher teens, and not a lot of new comers came along.

I am one of the swimmers who took it very seriously when I was younger but also one who lost interest as I grew older.

Now I am a mother, still very young though, 23 next year.

I want my Children to grow up around the same environment I did, I find it disappointing that a once very strong club is now gone, and I would LOVE to get it back up and going in full stream.

I would be one of the coaches, which leads me to where would I go for training, what do I need to complete?  Running/starting the club back up? what steps will be needed?

I am prepared for all the advertising, Training, fund raising needed to get to my long term goal of a once again successful Club.

I am seeking AS MUCH as possible Help and guidance as all I have so far is Drive and an Idea, along with passion, apart from this I have nothing in the way of experience or knowledge.

I know that the club still has a reasonable amount of money in their account from the past, so I know this is a start!

You have some wonderful goals.

It only takes one person with the dream and desire for a swimming club to regain life and it sounds like you are committed to be the Champion (so to speak).  You will need to surround yourself with 2 or 3 other parents who feel the same way.

The first step is to find another person who is interested on coaching along with yourself and look at doing the Junior Squad and Assistant Coach Course through ASCTA (Australian Teachers & Coaches Association together.  This way you can bounce ideas off each other.  If you can find a club within 50km who has a coach who will let you do hours with them, it would be handy for you.

Many of the city clubs will assist you with hours however often these are only 2 or 3 at a time and you probably want to do a days worth in one hit to get the 20 hours done.

The next step after your first coach qualification is to go for your Bronze licence, which then enables you to coach in your own right at a level higher than junior swimmers.

This info should get you started ,

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

We allow children to swim up in age in individual events (e.g. An 8yr old can swim in the 9 yrs category) as long as they only compete in 1 individual event in that stroke – I believe this is the official rule, not our club rule.

One of the clubs have just asked me if some of their swimmers can swim in 2 relays – that is in their own age group and then again in an older age group, as they are short on female swimmers in that age group, and without being allowed to do this feel that they won’t be able to field a time in either relay.

Can you please advise. We want to do the fair but correct thing by all clubs involved (their are 5 clubs involved in the meet).

For exact answers, you probably need to go to Swimming Queensland as the events held in Queensland will be conducted under their rules.

From my experience…

We allow children to swim up in age in individual events (e.g. An 8yr old can swim in the 9 yrs category) as long as they only compete in 1 individual event in that stroke – I believe this is the official rule, not our club rule.

Normally 8 year olds can only swim in 8 year old events; 9 year olds can only swim in 9 year old events and so on.  For an 8 year old to swim in a 9 year old event, the event would need to be advertised “9 years and under” or “9/u”.  As for being an ‘Official’ rule, you would need to check with Club or Region responsible for the meet as they may have more flexible rules which should be advertised on the program of events.

One of the clubs have just asked me if some of their swimmers can swim in 2 relays – that is in their own age group and then again in an older age group, as they are short on female swimmers in that age group, and without being allowed to do this feel that they won’t be able to field a time in either relay.

It depends what age groups the relays are for.  For example if they where 12/u, 14/u & 16/u then potentially a very good 12 year old could swim in the 14/u and 16/u relays.  The only thing stopping this from happening is if there is a rule in place on the advertised program (or general written rule for the Club or region, which should still be promoted with the swim meet program) saying that swimmers may only compete in “their own age group” or may only compete “in one relay for the freestyle relays and one relay team for medley relays”.  If this was the case, the rule would normally say that swimmers may compete in a higher age group so long as they only compete in one relay of each (free and medley).

Can you please advise. We want to do the fair but correct thing by all clubs involved (their are 5 clubs involved in the meet).

If this is a social meet with no prizemoney or pointscore then for the sake of all the swimmers you may consider allowing them to swim in two relays (both free and medley).  If it is scored, then it may be just one relay each (free and medley).  A lot depends on the age groups.  Eg.  Is is 13/14 years events or 14/u.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

 My child is a member of an amateur swimming club. Our offical gave my son a warning that he had to touch the wall with two (2) hands in freestyle. is this a new rule??? i have searched the rules & regs of fina & all i can find is “some part of the body must touch the wall during the turn or finish” i myself was a swimmer at state level and have never heard of this rule. could you kindly repond 2 my enquiry.

Yes you are correct; some part of the body must touch the wall during the turn or finish.

You are NOT required to touch the wall at the end of a race with 2 hands in freestyle.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

I have a 12 year old boy who has only been swimming competitively for 2 years. I am interested in why swimmers have to train so early in the morning in many of the top clubs in our State?
Michelle Johnson, Melbourne, Victoria

Dear Michelle,
Many parents go into shock when they are confronted with the time involvement of swimming compared to other sports like basketball, football, netball and many other sports. The reason for this contrast is that the young body is in a foreign environment in the water, where it has to master many difficult skills unrelated to land based activities.

Motor skills, fitness and strength improvements need to be developed concurrently and at intervals frequent enough to maintain a steady adaptation to the stimulus, hence the need for multiple training sessions per week.

To fit these sessions in, many clubs implement morning training sessions. As swimmers in your club probably go to a variety of schools that may start at various times between 8:15 and 9:00am, it is often necessary for coaches to train between the hours of 5:00am to 7:00am or 5:30am to 7:30am in the mornings. Often this also means that the coach may have one or a couple of nights off during the week so that young children can get homework done and still have time with the family.

Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions

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