Gala success

Swimmers from the Dolphins and Turtles squads took on Locks Heath Swim Squad in a fun gala at Shirley Pool last Saturday. The Squad form Shirley ran out comfortable winners despite some fast swims from Locks Heath. For many of the Shirley kids it was their first swimming gala and, though racked with nerves, loved the experience. Forty four personal best times were produced by the swimmers, every Shirley child improving their performance for the gala.

Some of the Shirley Swimmers

The sprint gala finished with a real treasure hunt and free pizza slices.

The full results are here

Personal Best times 10 and under

Personal Best Times page 2 10 and over

Picture Gallery

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Races for Saturday’s Gala

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Free Swimming for Schools

Shirley Pool is offering local schools a guarantee to teach all of their children to swim.

A new government initiative to combat a rise in obesity and encourage exercise in young people has given schools an additional £20,000 a year to focus on sport and swimming in particular.

Yet research shows that schools are falling well below the required standard.

The government guidelines state that every child should leave primary school able to swim. Swim England, the National Governing Body for swimming, states each pupil is required to be able to do the following:

  • Perform safe self-rescue in different water based situations
  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres
  • Use a range of strokes effectively, for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke.
Monitoring swimming and water safety in primary schools

Swim England’s Research has consistently shown that only half of pupils meet the required standards, only 34 per cent of Year 6 pupils can perform safe self-rescue and a third cannot swim at all.

Now Shirley Pool is offering to help those school get closer to those goals.

“In the past schools have had little resource to teach swimming with most school pools demolished years ago. This is a great opportunity for the schools to seize the initiative. ” says Shirley Pool’s Luke Perry” We are so confident that we can teach every school child to swim, we will continue to teach them for free until they can”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:

“Swimming is a vital life skill that is proven to boost both physical and mental wellbeing.”

“We are committed to ensuring that every child who leaves primary school is able to swim. This plan will support schools and the sport sector to get more children swimming confidently and learn water safety.”

Swimming and the national curriculum

The popular teaching centre in Kentish Road was first opened in 1974 and has since taught thousands of children to swim in purpose built pools. The pool are offering local schools in Southampton help to work towards the goal of teaching 100% of year 6 pupils to swim.

“I am hoping for an opportunity to discuss our ideas, I think the secret is to start early, year one or two” said Luke. ” Most parents take their children swimming or to lessons from a young age, but there are too many that slip through the net, for a variety of reasons. They are the ones we need to reach”

Government website

Swim England website

Shirley Pool 023 8078 1901

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Saints Swim Team

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STA Level 2 Swim Teacher Course – Book Now!

Shirley Pool is running the STA Level 2 Swim Teachers course this Summer from 12th – 16th August.

The STA Award in Teaching Swimming is the perfect step to begin your exciting career as a swimming teacher and with no previous experience required, you can get started right away. You just need to be at least 16 years of age and become an STA Member

Course Fees:

5 Day course consisting of practical and theory training at £500 per person. Shirley pool members will receive 50% off course fees


Full payment is required at the time of booking, this can be done by telephone using any major credit card: 023 8078 1901. Alternatively, you can pop in to book at Reception.

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Channel Swim Challenge

Please make a donation. All the money raised goes directly to the charities.

A team of swimming teachers form Shirley Swimming Pool are training for one of their toughest challenges yet – Swimming The Channel!

The team not only have to pull their weight across the busiest shipping channel in the world- they are also taking one of their pupils with them.

Southampton GP, Chris Cole, could not swim when he went to his local pool for his first adult swimming lesson in 2010, aged 40.

“All I wanted to do was swim a length of the main pool without panicking. My kids had all learnt at Shirley so I thought I had better have a crack” . Now he will be doing lengths of the channel, with just jellyfish for company.

It is a remarkable story, to go from an adult non swimmer to crossing the Channel in ten years. Chris is modest about his achievements, crediting those who have helped him along the way.

“If I can learn to swim, anyone can. It was scary and felt embarrassing but once you’ve taken the first step it gets easier. “

However, his team mates have dubbed him the Eddie the Eagle of swimming and nominated him for the Adult Swimmer of the Year award. If the relay swim goes well, Chris will attempt a solo crossing in 2020.

Looking after him will be his mentor, swim teacher Ashley Christopher , a seasoned campaigner, with a solo crossing under his belt already, ” Chris has made the transition from lessons and now swims every weekend in the sea with us, even in the winter”

The England Channel is considered to be one of the most iconic sea swims in the world, with swimmers travelling from every continent to attempt it. More people have climbed Everest than swam the Channel.

Shirley Pool Seadogs will attempt to swim the Channel as a team of 5, each swimming for an hour at a time, aiming to raise £10,000 for two local charities: The Countess Mountbatten Cancer Hospice at West End and the homeless charity, Society of St. James while conquering swimming’s Mount Everest.

Please make a donation. All the money raised goes directly to the charities.

Leaving from Dover’s Shakespeare Beach, and as the crow flies the distance is 21 miles but due to the tidal current the swimmers normally cover over 30 miles. So the quicker they swim, the less distance they have to travel. The experienced boat pilot will try to land the final swimmer on Cap Gris Nez, France. If they are too slow and miss the Cap the team can expect to swim for another few hours.

This swim will have multiple challenges that include starting in the dark and ignoring the 16c sea temperatures without wet-suits.There will be swarms of jellyfish as well as flotsam and jetsam to swim through. Bouts of sea sickness from unpredictable weather and all the time trying to cross the busiest shipping lane in the world. The Seadogs hope to complete the crossing in under 15 hours.

To qualify for the event under the British Long Distance Swimming association rules, each team member completed a two hour non wetsuit swim while the sea water in the Solent was less than 16 degrees. Chris Cole did a six hour qualifying swim at Dover.


Swimmers- Chris Cole, Dave Perry, Luke Perry, Steve Hansford and Ashley Christopher.

Reserve Swimmer- Natasha Bye-Brooks

Steve Hansford (59) is an experienced open water swimmer and a regular with the Seadogs from Shirley for some twenty years

Head teacher at Shirley Pool, Luke Perry (30) is the youngest of the Seadogs but is a veteran of the sea and no stranger to being wet. A beach lifeguard and volunteer coastguard, when he is not teaching Luke spends his spare time surfing.

Natasha Bye -Brookes started sea swimming last summer and is absolutely hooked. “It is cold, but I go whenever I can. I love it!” Natasha is a former teacher at Shirley Pool and started swimming there as a child under the original head coach, Frank Perry. Natasha is first reserve for the Channel team.

The oldest member of the team is pool owner Dave Perry. “The channel swim is a challenge I never thought I would get involved with, I prefer the warm pool water. But they are worthy causes and I am proud of Chris’s progress. It just shows what can be achieved if you stick at it”

Chris talks about learning to swim

Please make a donation. All the money raised goes directly to the charities.

Ashley on the Shirley Pool & the solo channel
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Gala Results

Thank you to all the swimmers at the gala on Saturday. It was a lovely event and, although we had less swimmers than Winchester, the Shirley swimmers were faster. A lot faster. Our twenty kids swam 37 personal best times (PB’s) between them to win the gala by 29 points. You can see the list of swimmers (PB’s) here and the full gala results here.

The team sheet for next month’s gala v Locks Heath on Saturday July 13th is on the board now, please check your diaries and indicate availability. There is also an email coming out to all Dolphins that you can respond with a positive.

This will be the last gala before the summer. Club Championships will be next in the Autumn, so make this one if you can. The gala is quick, over before 7pm.

Personal Best Times (PB’s) are a great way to monitor progress in stroke technique and stamina. They also qualify the swimmers to receive ASA Speed Awards

Part of the revised Swim Club programme will include speed testing and the opportunity to order those badge and certificates. You can find the criteria here.

All swimmers will be qualified in the ASA Competitive Start Awards, ensuring not only their competency from diving blocks but also their ability to race dive safely in shallow water. The times they achieved last Saturday were from starting in the water. These times will be significantly reduced by using a racing dive.

Training for competition swimming remains at the heart of the Dolphins swimming club.

The aim is to increase speed through technique.

Swimmers will continue to be trained in high quality technique, gradually increasing distance, developing stamina through skills, drills and speed work.

Children will aim to acquire classic swimming technique that will last a lifetime.

We now have a large amount of water time, after school and at weekends at our disposal. And lots of lovely teachers and coaches. We have opened up the sessions to all “squads”, so you can swim as often as you like. Obviously the more you swim, the more you pay, just let us know.

Shortly we will nominate two sessions that will alternate between only Water Polo and Surf & Rookie lifeguard, most likely Monday 7pm and Friday 6pm

We will also publish the schedule of sessions. The aim is that if your child only wants to take part in technique training sessions, they can. If it’s just lifesaving, again they can pick those sessions. If you are only available once a week and want a taster of all aquatic disciplines, thats fine also. HUGE flexibility to meet the demands of todays modern child.

The only shift in emphasis is that kids will have more opportunity to race in Aquathons, Duathlons, Triathlons, Pentathlon, Open Water swims, Surf Lifesaving and Water Polo competitions, AS WELL AS swimming galas.

Our aim is to be the best Junior Swimming Club that we can be, offering as many children as possible the chance to realise their potential, wherever that may be.

David Perry

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Extra Sessions for Dolphins

Once children have mastered the 4 strokes and are competent divers, they can join the Dolphins Swimming Club.

From July the focus of the club will be more diverse with swimmers introduced to Junior Surf Lifesaving, Rookie Life-guarding, Open water swimming and Water polo.

The main emphasis will remain on training classic strokes over increasing distance and children can attend between once and four times per week.

There will be regular weekly dedicated sessions for Rookie, Surf Life Saving & water polo, with special Saturday session for synchronised swimming.

The coaches also plan to give opportunities to try Open Water swimming, Junior Triathlon as well as our Annual Club Championships (November) and interclub galas (June 15th & July 13th). The water polo competition is on June 8th. The extra sessions are detailed on the link below

Thanks to all the swimmers signed up for the home gala against Winchester next Saturday at 5pm. The team sheet is below.

PLEASE, if you signed up, turn up. There is nothing worse than scrambling around on poolside trying to fill spaces in races. Treasure Hunt and pizza slices afterwards.

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Teacher Changes

Teacher Changes

There have been some changes happening in our teaching schedule during the past month; we appreciate the importance of teacher continuity and have reached a positive conclusion going forwards. Our Beginners teacher and a firm favourite with the kids, Babs, will be taking on Thursday evenings in the small pool.

Poolside will see Head Teacher Luke stepping into many of the Turtles and Butterfly classes as a direct replacement for Hugo, running them alongside deputy head AJ, and Jacob. They will be bringing in a revised schedule, including some exciting additions to the programme such as Rookie Lifeguard and surf lifesaving.

These three experienced coaches will be taking over the running of the Dolphins under the direction of the club’s founder, MD David Perry. Also helping will be the Dolphins National Swimmer and STA level 1 Coach Isabella Fraser Corbridge. Between them, they will be implementing a new and diverse swim programme for the club, preserving the legacy of developing wonderful swimmers since 1996. 

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Gala Team Sheet

Thank you to all the swimmers taking part in the gala on June 15th with Winchester City Penguins. A team sheet has been prepared and is available to view below. The gala starts at 5pm and will be completed before 7pm. Spectators are welcome. There will be a small charge for adults. Admission onto poolside is via the changing room foot baths and no shoes are permitted. It will be very hot and wet! After the races there is a treasure hunt for swimmers and pizza slices on the bus. We still need help with timekeeping, please volunteer

Team Sheet Friday 14th

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