Badges and certificates to reward the children's hard work

Our Award Scheme

Every term each child in weekly lessons with us will receive a free badge and certificate. This will be either an ESA SWIM stage award, an ESA Minnows award (for our younger students), an ESA stroke-specific award or a distance award (ranging from 5m through to 1500m!)
This page will explain to you what they all mean.


ESA Distance Awards:
To receive one of our distance awards, your child must have swum the relevant distance detailed on the award unaided.
For any distance awards over 25m we expect our students to be able to swim the distance with good technique for their choice of stroke. Distance awards start at 5m and range through to 1500m!


ESA SWIM Stage Awards:
The award criteria and test conditions for the ESA SWIM Award Scheme are listed below and can be achieved over a number of weeks:

Stage 1

This stage is concerned with developing basic safety awareness, the ‘class’ scenario, basic movement skills and water confidence skills. Swimmers may use aids, such as woggles, floats, etc.

Stage 2

This stage focuses on developing safe entries to the water, including jumping in, basic floating, travel on the front and back up to a distance of five metres, and rotating the body to regain an upright position. Swimmers may use aids such as woggles, floats, etc.

Stage 3

Concerned with developing safe entries into the water – including submersion – travel up to 10metres on the front and back, and progressing water safety knowledge and body rotation skills from the previous Stage, SWIM Stage 3 also sees the swimmer being assessed without the use of aids or support.

Stage 4

This stage aids the learner in developing the understanding of buoyancy through a range of skills. Also covered is refining kicking techniques for all strokes. The swimmer also has to swim 10metres to a quality standard as defined in ESA Swimming Stroke Awards.

Stage 5

During this stage swimmers develop ‘watermanship’ through sculling and treading water skills and body complete rotation. They perform all strokes for 10m to a high standard showing good technique and rhythm.

Stage 6

Developing effective swimming skills – including coordinated breathing – across all strokes is the focus of this stage. Learners also have to swim a distance of 25metres using a stroke of the swimmer’s choice. Children also learn about aspects of water safety and about preparing properly for exercise.

Stage 7

During this stage, children develop quality stroke techniques up to 100metres incorporating the skills they have learned, and combine them to develop a linked routine. They also complete successfully an obstacle course that combines a variety of skills accomplished through stages 1-7.

Stage 8: Competitive Swimming

This stage focuses on refining stroke technique for all 4 strokes as well as introducing the correct turns such as tumble turns and hand touch turns relevant to each stroke. Students will be expected to be able to swim at least 400m with excellent technique.

Stage 9: Competitive Swimming

Competitive racing starts and turns are introduced in this stage as well as refining stroke technique to an even greater level for all 4 strokes. Competitive swimming sets are introduced as well to start building stamina and endurance. Students are expected to be able to swim at least 800m with excellent technique.

Stage 10: Competitive Swimming

By the end of this stage students will have full knowledge of all competitive swimming strokes, turns, starts, relays and races. They will have all necessary skills mastered to a high level in order to start competing for a swim club. We have an Advanced Coaching programme in place, which can be attended upon completion of this stage as a next step in your child’s swimming career.

ESA Minnows Awards
The ESA Minnows Awards are designed to help younger children enjoy learning to swim.

Your child can work towards five grades of colourful awards, each with its own certificate and badge. Each badge contains pictures of Our Minnow mascot, with the colours depending on grade of award.
Buoyancy aids, such as floats and woggles, can be used for the first four grades as the child learns to float and gets used to the water. The fifth and final grade has young swimmers jumping into the water, submerging, and floating and swimming five metres without aids.

ESA Swimming Stroke Awards
We have now developed our own set of awards for stroke-specific achievements, with criteria being set out on the back. The awards are not easy to attain – But are the ultimate reward and indicator of your child’s technique development!

The four grades are represented by four colour-coded certificates and accompanying badges and focus on body positioning techniques, effective breathing skills, Timing/coordination and confidence. All of our Stroke Awards complement the ESA SWIM stages, particularly Stages 4 and up.
By the time your child attains each individual stroke award, they will have built a solid foundation in efficiency and efficacy that will take provide them with a springboard for all of their future swimming.