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What is it?

  • Apart from the activity of swimming itself, whether in an indoor pool or outdoors, inland or at the sea, there are a number of other activities based on swimming.  

  • They include life saving, diving, sub aqua, surfing, synchronised swimming, water aerobics, and water polo.  More detailed information on these activities can be obtained from the specialist organisations listed below.  They all involve movement in water in different ways.  

  • Some, like water aerobics, water polo, and synchronised swimming are normally done in pools.  Surfing is largely on particular sea coasts, while life saving and sub aqua are often learnt in pools but then practiced in other natural water areas.  

  • Many of these activities are largely done for fun, but swimming and diving, synchronised swimming and water polo have an important competitive element.

Find out more


Amateur Swimming Association  01509 618700

British Octopush Association  www.britishoctopush.org/ 

British Sub-Aqua Club  www.bsac.com/ 
Surf Life Saving Association  www.lifeguards.org.uk/ 
British Surfing Association  www.britsurf.co.uk/ 
English Surfing Federation  01271 890421


Swimming Times 
UK Swimming

Scuba World 
Carve Surfing Magazine 
Threesixty Bodyboarding Magazine 

Getting started

  • Find a local swimming pool, group or club (see organisations above).

  • See if there are introductory sessions or classes at your local club, pool or nearest water area.

  • Consult books or magazines on different activities based on swimming.

  • Check in your local library/paper or swimming pool for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • Swimming is an activity suitable for people of all ages and both sexes. 

  • It is possible to go swimming and surfing and do sub aqua on your own, but most the other activities based on swimming require other people to participate as well.  

  • Even for swimming, many people like to go with friends and family;  having someone with you is also good for safety reasons.  Many people join a local group, club or class in order to get the most out of the activity.  

  • For the more informal activities like swimming and surfing there is no need for the people you go with to be of the same standard as yourself, but this is much less true of water polo, synchronised swimming and even water aerobics.

Equipment or clothing
  • A swimsuit of some kind is obviously essential.  

  • Surfers and sub aqua people usually have wet suits.  They also need special equipment in the form of board and aqualungs, masks, flippers etc respectively.

A place or facilities
  • Access to a swimming pool or other safe area of water is essential.  

  • Surfing needs a particular type of coast and sea, while sub aqua enthusiasts are usually looking for particular coast formations and/or wrecks and other submerged items to investigate.

Have a go - get started now

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