Potters Bar Synchronised Swimming Club

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Skills, Grades, Teams and Competitions.

As a synchronised swimmer you will need to have your skill(s) tested before you can enter certain competitions.

In order to compete, you must have passed the relevant skill level.


If you prefer to only compete at recreational competitions you may focus on recreational grades instead. Your coach will be able to advise you about the skill levels or grades you need.


At local competitions you will compete in groups according to your age and skill level / recreational grade.

Recreational Grades

We are a recreational club. All swimmers will have the opportunity to do recreational grades, but coaches will not offer this until a swimmer has a good chance of passing. Some swimmers will be keen to develop their skills and others will not – it is a personal choice, and as a recreational club, we do not put pressure on anyone to undertake recreational grades unless they want to.


ASA skills assessments

These are tougher and are subject to stricter rules and regulations than the recreational grades. The rules are set by the ASA and are complex.   The ASA rules relating to skills assessments have changed over the last couple of years.  Coaches will offer this opportunity to swimmers who have a realistic chance of passing and who are willing to put in the necessary time and effort, both at home and at training. Skills assessments require time and effort from parents too, because the club must provide qualified assessors, a coach and clerical/admin help for every skills assessment. In practice, for our club, this involves an adult helping on poolside for every swimmer who does an assessment.  It is only fair that this help should be provided by the parents of the swimmers doing the skills.

The club pays for assessors’ training – undertaken by parent volunteers to whom we are very grateful as without their generosity of time and spirit, our swimmers would not be able to do any skills assessments.

Swimmers pay to do the skills assessments.


Choosing teams and combinations

This is entirely the responsibility of the coach, and in all situations the coach’s decision is final.

Given that our coaches are volunteers, the committee do not feel it is reasonable to ask them to offer more time to run consultation sessions, but every swimmer has the opportunity to talk to their coach about their personal goals and potential. Coaches are usually available to speak to parents after every training session – just ask.

When choosing swimmers for routines and teams the following are all important:  

Attendance, attitude, ability, behaviour, aptitude, commitment, and swimmer compatibility.

For example, in a duet, it is good to have girls of equal skills (and size) but also one can be stronger than the other (for boosts) complemented by the other being more balletic. The coach’s discretion is key here and the coach is the person who will assess each swimmer, taking all of these into account.

As in all other swimming clubs, if a swimmer persistently fails to attend practice, without good reason or communication with her coach, it is not reasonable for that swimmer to expect to remain in the team.


Participation in competitions

The rules for competitions are set by the ASA and by the host club and are non-negotiable.

It is often the case that only one type of routine can be entered in a particular category.

Where there is more than one swimmer/duet/team of equal ability that fits the criteria and only one can be chosen, the club tradition has always been that the names go into a hat, and the name is drawn by a younger swimmer, not connected to the routine in question. Over the years this has been found to be the fairest method, and is generally accepted by all.

If there is only room for one swimmer/team in a particular category coaches will always select the swimmers they feel are most likely to win a medal for the club. If they can enter more than one swimmer or team in a particular category, of course they will.

Sometimes there may not be a category for some swimmers to perform their solo or duet. This is disappointing for the swimmer, but it is the prerogative of the host club to decide the categories they wish to include.

Each club is required to provide assistance from parents at competitions.

Our coaches are required to attend as judges and scorers, therefore, parents are needed to help as team managers, scoring assistants, runners, and other behind the scenes helpers.  If we do not provide help for competitions, we risk not being invited to participate. We are a small club, so it is essential that everyone does a little to help.


Etiquette and useful  tips for swimmers


If you are not sure why you have not been entered for a particular competition or event, please just ask your coach – there will be a reason.






Always make sure you have the correct kit for competitions. Nothing looks worse than turning up in the wrong costume or kit.  Keep all your competition things together in a drawer or box. Replenish your nose clip/ gelatine/hairnets/hairpins supply after each competition. This prevents panic on the morning of a competition when you realise you have run out of something essential.






Keep your log book safe and ensure you have a record of your ASA number .






You cannot enter a competition or skills assessment without your log book and ASA number.



You can print off extra pages for your log book from the website.






Remember that you are representing your club when attending events, not just in the water, but in the changing rooms, in the audience and on poolside.






The parade at the end of the competition is traditionally led by the smallest member of the club and the line continues in height order.



Training sessions

Always let your coach know if you cannot attend a training session. Absence is recorded on the register, with a reason and a record of whether an advance apology was received.  (See the above section on selection for teams).  Apologies should go to the secretary by email and also to your coach by text.  If we know that a number of swimmers cannot attend a particular session, we can offer one of the poolside volunteers or coaches a break.


When practising your routine in training sessions, always swim to your coach for critique as soon as you finish. This is essential to get feedback and instruction for improvement. We now have a tablet to record routines when training and this will be a great help in the critique process.


If you have any questions or concerns and cannot find the answer on the website, do ask your coach, or email secretary@pottersbarsynchro.co.uk.