Swimming Lessons and Courses

We have been delivering swimming lessons for over 20 years, providing a positive learning environment for children and adults to develop their swimming ability.

View the Autumn term swimming pool timetable

Lane swim and casual swim sessions available 7 days a week

Quick links

About University of Bristol Swim School

University of Bristol Swim School offers a range of group lessons for both juniors and adults, from beginner to advanced ability. We also offer short-term swim courses that run during school holidays. All of our programmes are based at the University Swimming Pool located at our Clifton campus. 

Our lesson programmes continue for 49 weeks of the year, breaking for two weeks at Christmas and one week at Easter. 

You do not need to hold a University of Bristol Sport membership to join our programmes, however we do offer a Junior Membership option for our under-16 visitors. 

For general enquires contact us

Junior Swim Lessons

University of Bristol Swim School follows the Swim England Learn To Swim Stages 2-7 to structure our swim programme. The progressive stages form part of a national syllabus for learning to swim, for primary school age children, and ensure that your child learns how to be confident, competent and safe in the water.

Our Swimming Pool features a Teaching Pool and Main Pool. Swim lessons take place across both pools and lesson location is dependant on the swim stage.

  • Stages 2–4 group lessons – Teaching pool
  • Stage 5 group lessons – Main pool
  • Stage 6 group lessons – Main pool
  • Stage 7 group lessons‌ – Main pool
  • Stage 8-10 (Swim Fit and Rookie Lifeguard) – Main pool

Lessons take place week day afternoons from 16:00 onwards and Saturday mornings.

Junior swimming lessons are available on a Direct Debit basis.

Lessons booked on a Direct Debit will be able to access all benefits associated with our Junior Membership

Junior Acquatic Sports

Join us outside of your lessons for a fun and friendly sports session. 

Junior Swim Fit (9-12yrs)

Aimed at Stage 8 – 10, these sessions are for anyone who has completed Stage 7 wants to develop their stamina in the water. You will learn lane etiquette, how to use the lane clock during swim sessions and will develop skills in dive work, starts and turns. Sessions take place in the Main 25m pool. Session ratio is 1:8.

Teen Swim Fit (13-17yrs)

Aimed at Stage 8 – 10, for teenagers wanting to continue to swim without the competitive swim club environment. A 45min session to develop stamina in the water, learn lane etiquette, how to use the lane clock, develop skills in dive work, starts and turns. Sessions take place in the Main 25m Pool. Session ratio is 1:12 

Rookie Lifeguard

Child wearing a yellow shirt with red writing reading "Rookie Lifeguard" standing in a pool and putting on swimming goggles, seen from behind.

University of Bristol Swim is the only provider of the RLSS Rookie Lifeguard course in central Bristol. Rookie Lifeguard is a swim programme developed by the Royal Life Saving Society, in partnership with Swim England. The Bronze, Silver and Gold stage awards ensure children have good knowledge of pool and sea safety, and have learned rescue and resuscitation techniques.

  • Course type: Continuous
  • Date and time: Monday, 7–7:45 pm
  • Who can attend: Swimmers at Stage 6 or above

How to become a Rookie Lifeguard

Sign up online. Payment via Direct Debit.

Holiday courses

We offer short-term intensive swim courses during school holidays for juniors looking to kick-start the learn-to-swim journey or progress their swimming ability.

Confirmed dates for 2023:

  • Monday 13th to Friday 17th February 2023
  • Monday 3rd to Friday 7th April 2023
  • Monday 10th to Friday 14 April 2023
  • Monday 29th of May to Friday 2nd of June 2023
  • Monday 24th of July to Friday 28th July 2023
  • Monday 31st July to Friday 4th August 2023
  • Monday 7th August to Friday 11th August 2023
  • Monday 14th August to Friday 18th August 2023
  • Monday 21st August to Friday 25th August 2023
  • Monday 28th August to Friday 1st September 2023
  • Monday 23rd October to Friday 27th October 2023

The course will run Monday to Friday with a 30-minute swim session taking place every day. Please register your interest through our form.

‌Adult lessons and courses

Adult Beginners

Beginners is about gaining confidence to be safe in the water. It also teaches the ability to move around the pool and achieve the basic core aquatic skills. Including entries, exits, buoyancy, balance and aquatic breathing. Building up to swimming independently over short distances (5 to 10 metres). Group ratio 1:5. Lesson takes place in the teaching area depth 1.2-1.5m

Adult Improvers

By this point you’ll be able to swim independently, the focus of these group lessons are to improve stroke technique for Frontcrawl, Backstroke and Breaststroke. Building confidence to swim distance 100m. Group ratio 1:6 Lesson takes place in the teaching area depth 1.2-1.5m

Adult Improver Plus +

Lesson takes place in a lane in the 25m main pool, Group ratio 1:6. Aiming to build staminia over longer distances and stroke technique. Introducing aquatic skills such as streamline, diving and turns.

Adult Group Lessons





18:00 - 18:30
Beginner Wednesday 19:00 - 19:30
Beginner Saturday 08:30 - 09:00


18:30 - 19:00
Improver Wednesday 19:30 - 20:00
Improver Plus




Pay monthly by direct debit £28.60 per month with pro-rata joining amount for the first month

National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ)

Royal Lifesaving Society logo NPLQ

The University of Bristol Swimming Pool is a course provider of the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) Pool Lifeguard training course. The NPLQ is the most awarded, internationally-recognised, lifeguard qualification in the UK and Ireland.

Course requirements: Participants must be 16-years of age at the date of the final assessment and comply with all pre-requisite swim skills outlined by the RLSS.  

Courses run throughout the year. Course dates will be published on the RLSS website and promoted via the University of Bristol Sport Instagram page.

Confirmed 2023 NPLQ dates:

  • February 13th to February 18th
  • May 29rd to June 3rd
  • July 24th to July 29th
  • August 21st to August 25th
  • October 23rd to October 27th

Free swimming during pregnancy

Download and return our Free Pregnancy Swim application form and email to sports-members-admin@bristol.ac.uk. Please scan a copy of your NHS prescription exemption card as proof of eligibility. No membership required.

Contact us

If you have any questions about our Swim Programmes, please let us know via our online form.

Edit this page