Ethos, Behaviour and Training

Our Club Purpose and Goals

Saffron Seals offers swimming coaching and competition to all levels and ages with the aim of inspiring individuals to reach their ambition and beyond. We achieve this by providing a secure and supportive swimming environment where everyone is valued and encouraged to work together to achieve their goals.

The Club’s goals are to:

  • Encourage swimmers to be safe and confident in the water
  • Encourage swimmers to enjoy their swimming, improve their skills and realise their potential
  • Encourage swimmers to compete successfully, be able to lose graciously and, in doing so, develop a sense of responsibility and team spirit

But most of all ….

  • Enable swimmers to enjoy membership of a social swimming club with more than a hint of competition.

Swimming is a great life skill – not many sports can save your life or, just as importantly, allow you to save the lives of others.  Competitive swimming, both as part of a group and as an individual, helps build confidence, character and self-reliance.


Saffron Seals has a Code of Conduct which each swimmer, when he/she joins the Club, signs to say they have read, agree with and will abide by.   We respectfully request that parents/guardians ensure that this happens.

Code of conduct for children

Code of conduct for parents or guardians


As a competitive swimmer you will have to train hard to improve. Your training gradually builds up over a number of years as you progress through the training groups. At first the sessions will seem very much like your swimming lessons but soon you will be swimming further and faster, learning how to start, turn and finish properly as well as keeping your strokes legal as outlined by Swim England.

Our coaching team provides technical coaching, fitness coaching and discipline coaching to help you achieve your swimming goals. We organise our coaching through a series of squads from the novice, who may have come through swim school, to the most competitive of our swimmers.

Making the Most of Training

It’s worth remembering how little pool time the Club has, therefore swimmers are encouraged to be changed and ready so that they can get in the pool as soon as the session starts. During training swimmers are split by lane, so that roughly equal ability/speed are in the same lane. This is so that faster swimmers are not constantly stopping or overtaking the slower swimmer. As ability and speed increases there is the opportunity of moving up to a faster lane.

This allocation will be based on swimmers training a specific session and therefore may, occasionally, overlap swimmers in different squads.

Safe and Effective Training

We need to emphasise the importance of a well structured and safe training session that all swimmers can enjoy and benefit from.

A session usually consists of 10 minutes warm-up, training set and a swim-down approximately 5 minutes. Explaining sets may take another 5-10 minutes. Of the remaining time, an average set may include around 20% rest time. That leaves around only 30 minutes of training. Each push-off/turn should consist of an efficient 5-15m underwater transition, leaving maybe only half a length of actual swimming. So a session may be only 15 minutes of actual swimming! Many of those sets will include drills that specify a slow or medium pace.

That is why, when the coach gives a specific set with specific rest times or asks for speed and effort… it is expected.

Stopping during a length, hanging around the ends during a set and generally mucking about is not only a waste of training time, but is also very disruptive to other swimmers.

Please would you remind your child to be changed and ready (with all their equipment) before training is due to start. Late arrival on poolside is not only detrimental to that swimmer, but disruptive to the other swimmers.

Quick Guide to Good Training

Most swimmers enjoy training to become better; the few that don’t want to train properly spoil it for everyone else.  We have therefore produced the following quick guide that sits alongside our Codes of Conduct.

  • Arrive on time. You should aim to get to the pool 15 minutes before the session begins, to ensure you have warmed up in line with the “Warm Up schedule”.
  • Be prepared. Check you have all the kit required and that your goggles and hat are on for the start of the session. You should ensure you have a drink and have been to the toilet before the session starts.
  • Know your speed. Be aware of how fast/slow you are compared to the others in your lane. For each set, organise yourselves in speed order. Remember, the fastest at front crawl may not be the fastest at breaststroke arms!
  • Pace yourself. Set off at the beginning of the set at a speed you can keep up for the whole set. Remember, if you drop out of the set, the people behind you lose out on their rest time.
  • Give yourself room. Unless the coach sets a different spacing, set off 5 seconds after the swimmer in front so you can swim at your pace and not interfere with others’ turning.
  • Be Patient. If you catch up the person in front, do not hassle them, but DO
    • Change over during the rest interval on short sets
    • Tap the person in front on the foot ONCEjust before the end of the length and change over at the turn
  • Swim with an empty bladder. Go to the loo before the session. You should not need to go to the loo during the session (no matter how hard the set is!), but if you must… go between sets and tell the coach when you go.
  • Swim fully hydrated. Only use your water bottle during the rest periods between sets.
  • Make sure you understand which direction your lane should swim. Lanes 1,3 and 5 swim clockwise; lanes 2 and 4 swim anti-clockwise.
  • Swim Warm Up slowly with good technique – this ensures you continue to warm up your muscles, stretching them in the right way
  • Swim all the way to the end of each length– Do not stop mid length or pull on lane ropes.
  • Move over. When you finish your swim, move out of the way of the swimmers behind you so they too can enjoy swimming a full final length – you may have to tread water to be out of their way.
  • Complete every set with your very BEST TECHNIQUE and practice your starts and turns every time you swim with fantastic STREAMLINING! Remember – Perfect Practice Produces Perfect Performance
  • Train at the intensity your coach has asked you to and pace yourself accordingly, it is just as important not to go too fast as it is not to go too slow.
  • Listen to your coach who is there to help you, give you good advice and make you a better swimmer. Ask if you do not understand what you have been asked to do
  • Swim Down slowly at the end of your session – this is just as important as warm up and will help avoid muscle stiffness
  • Keep the changing rooms, the facilities we use and all other areas clean and tidy
  • Keep your Passport up to date so you can see how you have improved in training and competition
  • And finally, enjoy it!
Swim Training Aids

Swimming aids – for use in training – help improve strength, stamina and certain areas of their technique.

All swimmers are required to wear a Club swim hat, appropriate swimwear and to have goggles. We advise swimmers to have at least 2 pairs of goggles and to bring both poolside.

Swimmers must also bring water poolside and, if applicable, inhalers.

Blue and Black Training Groups

  • Pull Buoy: Pull Buoy’s go between the legs to allow swimmers to work on their upper-body technique and strength. Price range £5-£10
  • Kick Board: Kick boards allow swimmers to use only their legs as they swim. Price range £5 – £15
  • Training Fins: These are short fins used to help perfect body position and strengthen leg muscles. Price range £10 – £20

Red and White Training Groups

In addition to the kit required for Blue and Black training groups:

  • Hand Paddles: Used to help perfect the hand position and strengthen the arm and shoulder muscles. Their size allows you to hold to much more water, with more power and leverage to pull through the water. This assists with balance in the water whilst also allowing you to spend more time on each specific pull, making sure that you can really working on finishing your stroke, which in turn should lower your stroke count. Price range £5-£15
  • Finger Paddles: Used to perform all swimming strokes and can help work on the top of the stroke, specifically hand entry and catch, which is the action of pulling onto the stroke. Finger paddles are great for technical swimming and are especially useful for technique drills if you wanted to break your stroke down even more. Price range £5-£15

Please contact the Saffron Seals Kit Manager, for help in acquiring this equipment.

Attendance Registers

Swimmers (and parents) should be reminded about the need to record  attendance at training sessions.   This is not just an admin peculiarity, it has two separate but equally important functions:

1.   When considering training group movements regular and recorded attendance is a criteria that is taken into account.

2.  Even more importantly, this is a health and safety issue.   In the case of an emergency requiring the pool area to be cleared, it is necessary to have a full and complete listing of everyone attending training at that time.

This is yet another thing to remember before the start of training but hopefully everyone will understand why it is necessary to record attendance at each and every session.

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