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.

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About University of Bristol Swim School

University of Bristol Swim School offers a range of group and individual 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. 

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 10 week block-booking or 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. 

Mini Water Polo

In these sessions you will build your confidence in the water and improve your swimming ability, all whilst playing a game of water polo in our Teaching pool. These sessions will focus on teach the water-polo backstroke, how to control the ball in the water, and stay vertical using the eggbeater kick. Session ratio is 1:10.

  • Wednesday at 18:00 - 18:30 Beginners
  • Wednesday at 18:30 - 19:00 Improvers

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 will take place across two lanes in the Main 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 Pool. Session ratio is 1:12 

Rookie Lifeguard

Rookie Lifeguard promo image

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, 19:00-19:45
  • Who can attend: Swimmers at Stage 6 or above

How to become a Rookie Lifeguard:

Sign up online. Direct debit of block-booking payments available.


Holiday courses

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

Christmas - No Holiday courses

February Half Term - Dates to follow

Easter - Dates to follow

Spring Half Term - Dates to follow

Summer - Dates to follow

Courses run Monday to Friday with a 30-minute swim session taking place every day.

lead-in - swim lessons adult 650x265

Adult lessons and courses

Adult Beginners

All about gaining confidence to enter the pool safely. It also covers 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.

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-200m. Group ratio 1:6

Group lessons

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

Book a block of 10-weeks of consecutive lessons £85.30


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 Swim Facebook page.

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 which aren't answered on this page, please do let us know

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