How do I become eligible to swim in a Masters competition?

If you wish to compete you need to be registered as a Swim England member Category 2 (£36.55 a year) and join a club. Black Country n Potteries Masters membership is £25 per year £15 for new members after 1st July. Club fees help to cover entry fees for relay events.

What do the different Swim England membership categories mean?

Swim England member categories relate to the level of competitions that swimmers are eligible to enter.

Category one (Club Train) members are eligible to compete in low level meets:

  1. Club events, providing the competitors are all members of the club promoting the event. 
  2. Inter-club competitions providing the event does not include more than eight clubs. The participating clubs must be invited by the promoter to take part in the event. The promoter has supplied the conditions for the event. The whole event takes place in one pool on one occasion and does not form a series of events, the results of which are aggregated or considered together to decide the eventual winner. 
  3. Closed county events providing the event is open to members of clubs affiliated to a single county or to members of clubs affiliated to a group of two or three adjacent counties. 

In order to compete in all other ASA or British Swimming Masters events, including open meets, District/Regional events and National events members must be fully paid up category two (Club Compete) members. 

Category three (Club Support) is not applicable to competitive swimmers, but officials and some club roles may require a category three membership.

Swim England membership fees:

BCPM membership and Swim England registration fees are published on our Membership page. https://blackcountrynpotteries.co.uk/membership/

Are there any membership restrictions if I am already a member of a swimming club?

No restriction on number of clubs you can join. You usually pay Swim England fees though the club you joined first. Then pay club fees to every club you join. It’s up to you who you compete for. YOU are boss, YOU decide who you swim for and when; it is not a problem. Within a single competition i.e. Staffs Masters you must enter relays and individual events for the same club.

How do I make sure Swim England have my correct details and preferences?

It’s a great idea to check through your personal details on the Swim England website.  You should visit https://www.swimmingmembers.org go to activate your Online Membership to create a log on, then update your preferences. If you require help call Swim England on 01509 640727.

How long do I need to be a BCPM member before I can swim in a competition for them?

Once you’ve paid and sent through your details to the Membership Secretary it can be several weeks before being processed, if you are in a hurry ask for speedy processing which takes 3 to 4 days.

Who do I inform I’m interested in swimming relays?

When BCnP has enough members competing at a meet, we will look to enter relays. We have a relay coordinator who will contact members for relay entires; all you need to do is share your age (as at 31 Dec) and times (if you have them) for your 50 free, fly, back and breast. We make every effort to offer everyone wishing to join a relay chance to race. 

Swim England Rankings

Swim England run a website showing all results from every meet each year (https://www.swimmingresults.org/). These results feed into the national Decathlon and Rankings tables. The Decathlon is an individual and team competition (4 swimmers per gender) based on ten swims per swimmer within a set formula (see below). Times are converted to points. Points are displayed in an individual and team rankings list. Anyone who is a member of a number of swim clubs can nominate one of their clubs for rankings. It is not necessarily the club you pay Swim England fees through (which is the first club you joined). Each year any of your swims wherever and whenever … even if you actually swam for another club or county team, would be recognised by Swim England Masters on their Decathlon and Rankings tables through your nominated ranked club.

How do I change my ranked club?

Individuals can change their ranked club through the Online Membership System (OMS). Go to www.swimmingmembers.org to access your details and update your ranked club. 

Top Ten British Rankings 

These are compiled for all events and all age groupings each year. Here is the link: https://www.swimmingresults.org/masterseventrankings/

Decathlon Competition

For more information go to: www.swimmingresults.org/mastersdata/decathlon/

How the decathlon competition works?

The Masters decathlon competition is a points-based competition. You accumulate FINA points as you complete in different events throughout the year from qualifying events (see stroke ‘groups’ below). To complete a full decathlon you need to compete in 10 qualifying events throughout the year, but scores are updated continuously based on events as you complete them so you don’t have to complete all ten to get a decathlon ranking at the end of the year.  You can see how you, your team mates and your club are doing at the Masters decathlon site linked above.

Your points tally is calculated from your best scoring events in each of the six stroke ‘groups’

  • Group 1 Freestyle 50,100,200, 
  • Group 2 Distance Freestyle 400, 800,1500.
  • Group 3 Backstroke, 50,100,200, 
  • Group 4 Breaststroke, 50,100,200, 
  • Group 5 Butterfly, 50,100,200, 
  • Group 6 Individual Medley 100,200,400
  • Plus your second highest score in four different groups to make up the decathlon of ten events

Here is an example – provided by our club Secretary, Kath Tunnicliffe – from 2017 to show how it works: https://www.swimmingresults.org/mastersdata/decathlon/index.php?swimmerid=10263&y=2017

Yellow are qualifying swims from each category, green are the best in four different groups that make up the decathlon.

There is a complicated formula for points, it’s based on the world record =1000 points and an ageing factor. You can use this site to work out the points you score for your events: http://www.leandersc.com/page/masters-decathlon-calculator/4301

Inter Counties Championship 

Am I eligible to swim for Staffordshire if selected for the Inter Counties Competition in November?

Black Country n Potteries Masters is a Staffs afflicted club. Here is the criteria for Inter Counties selection.

County Representation criteria

Category 2 Swim England Member in year of competition and a “member of a County team shall be a member of a club within that county.”. From the rulebook:

8.a.      Swimmers who are members of more than one club in different counties, are eligible to compete for the County in whose County Championship they competed in during the year of competition. Swimmers eligible to compete for either an English County team or a representative Scottish District or Welsh Area team shall be free to select for which team they will compete.

8.b.      Any swimmer whose eligibility is not determined by 8.a shall be eligible for selection for the County to which their club, of longest unbroken membership, is affiliated.

Claiming records

If you break a County or Regional record at a competition you need to claim the record within ONE MONTH of the event, providing details of your result. 

Staffordshire County records are available here https://www.staffsasa.co.uk/county-records.html. To make a claim, use the Masters Record claim form here https://www.staffsasa.co.uk/masters-record-claim.html

West Midlands Regional records are available here https://westmidlandswimming.org.uk/masters-records-3/.  Download and complete the records claim form available here https://westmidlandswimming.org.uk/masters-records-application-2/ 

You should also advise the club secretary of any records you are claiming. 


Don’t know where you’re going….Setting goals

It’s really important to set goals AND it’s really important to SHARE them….. Where would you like to be in 12 months time? Exactly the same, more Masters, open water, triathlons, fitter, etc. whatever you want to aim for!

I live near Wombourne. What training opportunities are there?

  • Wombourne Leisure Centre Black Country Triathlete Saturday 3.30-5pm
  • Wombourne Leisure Centre Black Country Triathlete Wednesday 8.00-9.30pm
  • Wombourne Leisure Centre Public and Adult Swim sessions 

Black Country Triathletes allow ‘guests’ to swim for £5. (Hint – best not to stress you are really only really interested in swimming). Their sessions are with a coach and have a wide variety of adult swimming standards. They are very friendly.

Opportunities near Bridgenorth

One of our BCPM members, Phil Carpenter, runs an excellent masters training scheme from Bridgenorth pool. https://sssa.co.uk/

Is gym/resistance/toning exercise/land training important to improving strength and fitness in the pool.

Yes. It’s also possible to do this with limited equipment and from home at times to suit. 

There is an excellent programme HIIT High Intensity Interval Training on the Swim England website but you do need to be a member to access it.

In the meantime, we suggest you download the Just Swim app via the Swim England website; a free app which gives a lot of ideas and support.

Other topics

Not sure I would be able to commit to a position in the club but I would be prepared to help others if needed.

All members will be asked to help create a masters swimming network throughout our area. This means understanding what local opportunities exist for Masters in your area. Encouraging anyone you meet to get involved in Masters and handing out promotional club info to anyone who might like to be included on the mailing list. The Secretary runs two mailing lists. One is for newcomers to the sport, the second is for those who swim Masters with local clubs and might be interested in joining BCPM.