Swim School

Ardingly Active Swim School aims to give children & adults a foundation for learning to swim and to develop skills that enable confidence & safety in the water, in a fun-friendly & safe environment.

Adults & Kids • All ages & abilities • ASA Level 2 teachers • Small Groups


The Ardingly Active Swim School is run by 4x Swimming World Champion Karen Pickering MBE. Karen made her international debut in 1986 and went on to win an incredible 35 Major Championship medals & 38 National Titles as well as competing in 4 consecutive Olympic Games. The 2002 Commonwealth Games saw Karen gain two gold and a silver medal in front of her home crowd, a career highlight that was crowned when she was given the honour of carrying the English flag at the Closing Ceremony. To read more, Click Here.


New Term Update

We look forward to welcoming back parents, new & existing swimmers. If you have any queries regarding your class or are looking to start classes, please contact swimschool@ardingly.com.


The Michaelmas term is 13 weeks long and the dates are as follows:

Start date:  6th, 7th, 9th & 10th September.

No swimming: 21st, 22nd, 25th, 26th, 28th, 29th October & 1st & 2nd November (October Half-Term Break)

Last lessons: 13th, 14th, 16th & 17th December.

Swim School T&C’s

Upcoming Courses

Michaelmas Term: Dates stated above.

Please contact swimschool@ardingly.com to book.


Swimming Ethos

Swim for life Inspiring a love of the sport.

Water safety – Teaching skills that can save lives for life – Inspiring a love of the sport.

Individuals  – Adapting lessons to suit each swimmer.

Motivating – to be the best you can be



Learn to Swim


The learn to swim awards are divided into progressive stages (1-10). They make up the core, national syllabus of learning to swim for primary school aged children. they are designed to reward your child for their development of the essential aquatic skills they need to be confident, competent and safe in the water.

Once the swimmer has developed the core range of skills required to be confident, competent and safe in the water (stages 1-7) the swimmer may then have the choice to take part in Fundamental Sport Skills, (stages 8-10) in competitive swimming or lifesaving. We also offer Rookie Lifeguard Courses, Fit-n-Fun, Aquatic Helper Courses or Distance Badges.

Each of the Learn to Swim (stages 1-10) has a list of clear outcomes that need to be completed in order to gain each award.

Bump to Baby


This is a rolling course. Mums can start at any point during their pregnancy and will move from the ‘Bump’ to the ‘Baby’ group when they are ready to return after having their child

As well as having gentle fitness swimming and de-stress drills in the pool mums-to-be will learn:

  • How to safely get in/out of the pool with baby
  • How to hold baby in the pool
  • What baby should wear in the pool
  • How to change baby on poolside
  • When baby can first start swimming

These classes will give mum confidence ready for bringing the baby to their first lessons and a chance to meet other mums-to-be

Mums will get used to the pool, changing rooms, parking, etc so the only thing that will be different is they will have their baby with them.

Parent & Baby/Toddlers


Babies can be taken swimming from birth, they do not need to have completed their injections as vaccinations are not ‘live’ anymore.

You don’t need to be able to swim to enjoy time in the water with your baby. These classes can help build confidence and having a teacher present and other parents around for support can help the parent & therefore baby relax.

Our teachers are trained to understand the different needs of parents and babies and the lessons will include fun, simple, progressive activities with songs and toys.

As well as being a wonderful way of bonding with your baby there are many benefits to parent & baby swimming;

  • Gives baby focused one-to-one attention from the parent
  • Skin to skin contact for bonding which also releases endorphins
  • Improves appetite and sleep
  • Freedom of movement in the water that a baby otherwise wouldn’t get
  • Develops motor control, agility, coordination and balance
  • Develops fitness & strengthens muscles, ligaments, hearts and lungs
  • Develops social stimulation, accepting other adults and children
  • Stimulates awareness & alertness
  • Helps with learning to share & take turns
  • Fun & enjoyable and is a great introduction to regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle

Most importantly these classes are a pathway towards learning a life skill and developing a love of water that hopefully will last for life.

Health & Safety Update

In Parent & Baby/Toddler classes or if your child is not yet potty-trained/prone to little accidents we require the children to use the ‘Double Nappy’ System.

The double nappy system means a swim nappy (reusable or disposable) must be worn with a neoprene nappy over the top creating a double layer of protection and therefore reducing the risk of leakage. This system is designed to help avoid any accidents in the swimming pool and to therefore prevent class &/pool closures.

Please do not put your child in a normal nappy as they are only designed for soaking up a small amount of liquid and not for use in water.

The purpose of the neoprene nappy that goes over the swim nappy is to form a tight seal around the child’s thighs & tummy so that leaks are contained. Please make sure it fits (it may feel a little snug at first) if it is too big it will not do its job.

Swim nappies are only designed to hold solids, not urine so if your child is suffering from diarrhoea (or has been suffering from diarrhoea in the last 48 hours) you must not let your child swim for health and safety reasons.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Adult Fitness


Swimming is one of if not the best all-around form of exercise so why isn’t everyone doing it?

The main reason is that many people only know how to swim one stroke at one pace. They don’t know how to use equipment or the variety of skills and drills you can do in a session to get a great workout.

The Karen Pickering SWIM Tech & Fit course at Ardingly College Swim School is a fun but challenging programme that will educate the swimmer about all the ways you can use swimming to tone up and get fit whilst also improving stroke technique and skills such as starts and turns.

The sessions aim to tone up the body, improve cardiovascular fitness, increase lung capacity and perfect strokes and skill technique. Over a term, the KPSTF programme will have an emphasis on improving a particular stroke or skill such as turns but general fitness will be a priority throughout the course.

KPSTF courses are suitable for people that can swim 400m or more and for those who exercise at least once a week. The non-impact nature of swimming makes this programme ideal to complement sessions in the gym and makes a great additional or alternative work out with a much lower risk of injury. It is also ideal for additional recovery or cardio work out for those who play other sports.

Yoga/Swim Class

New for 2023

From January, Ardingly Active Swim School are pleased to announce the addition of Yoga/Swim classes on Thursday evenings.

This will be an hour-long session, with 30 minutes of poolside yoga and 30 minutes of swimming. All equipment will be provided, however if you do have your own mat you are welcome to bring this along.

The session would consist of Iyengar Yoga, alignment, stability, strength and mobility work, and breath work. The swimming would be developing an understanding of body awareness within the swim stroke, building and developing strokes to become efficient, effortless and bringing in our breath awareness.

The sessions are open to all swimmers who can comfortably swim 25 meters.

Private Lessons

Private 1-2-1 or 2-2-1 lessons can be booked. These are ideal for children or adults who need to build confidence before joining a group, swimmers who need a little more attention or those who need to work on a specific weakness in a stroke.

The lessons are bookable by the term or in a block as agreed in advance with the Swim School. Missed lessons cannot be refunded although where possible we will find an alternative slot.

For more information, please contact swimschool@ardingly.com

Class Information
  • Ideally, we would like all swimmers to wear a hat and goggles.
  • For new Parent & Baby/toddler group swimmers please check the website for details of the pool temperature and advice on what your child should wear in the pool.
  • Spectators, please take your shoes off before entering the poolside.
  • We no longer require a parent to be in the water for Ducklings classes. If your child is more comfortable with you being in with them that is fine and please note that the instructor may feel that it would be beneficial and may ask you to accompany them.