History of ESSA

The English Schools Swimming Association was formed in 1949, initially organising swimming and diving championships for pupils in secondary schools.  Over the years water polo and synchronised swimming championships have been added to the list, and for the past ten years the team championships have been extended to primary schools.   Added to the full domestic programme there are also internationals competitions both in swimming and water polo.  ESSA is a member of the International Schools’ Federation and competes in both the World Schools’ Games and European Games.

ESSA’s organisation was based on 12 divisions (or regions) and control of all events is in the hands of the ESSA Council.  This band of volunteers meets regularly to plan competitions and set rules.  Each division has control of its own competitions and there are a large number of events held throughout the country.

Apart from organising championships ESSA’s function is to promote the teaching of swimming in schools.  Most members of Council are or have been teachers and understand the problems facing teachers of swimming.  One of the schemes ESSA runs to encourage the  teaching of swimming is the Dolphin Trophy, a learn to swim scheme for primary schools.  ESSA has links with the ASA, Lifesavers and the STA.

ESSA became a charity in May 1981.  Prince William agreed to become our Patron in May 2007 and the ESSA are part of the Pirnces’ Charities Forum.

In 2010 the ESSA Council agreed to move from 12 to 8 Divisions.  This became operative in September 2011.

Working together with the ASA for the benefit of School Swimming

Registered Charity No. 282020