West Sussex prep school opens elite swimming academy

Pupils at Windlesham House School to receive elite training in open water swimming and water polo and will compete locally and nationally in line with Swim England

Swimming offers a multitude of benefits for children. Aside from keeping the blood pumping through our bodies and brains, which is essential for development, those children who live active lives are reportedly happier, healthier and smarter.

But swimming is not just about encouraging good physical health, there are benefits to mental wellbeing too.

Swimming can give children an immediate emotional boost and is great for inspiring body confidence and self-belief, both in terms of athletic ability and social skills. When it comes to overall health, there is no better sporting activity than swimming. From heart health to circulation and building muscle, swimming challenges the body and helps to release endorphins, which also induces feelings of happiness.

“From heart health to circulation and building muscle, swimming challenges the body and helps to release endorphins”

In many cases, the skills developed through swimming are also very transferrable to the classroom and to everyday learning. Anything that supports wellbeing and happiness will undoubtedly have a profound effect on a child’s capacity to retain information and, indeed, their approach in class. It’s true that after a swimming session, pupils may appear more alert and able to focus more intently in lessons. This transfers to academic studies, too, because even though swimming is an individual sport, it does teach self-reliance and also encourages children to push boundaries to achieve their individual goals. It’s a great form of self-motivation and certainly equips children with those vital preparation skills ahead of important exams.

Elite training facility

Windlesham House recently opened a new Swimming Academy for talented pupils to receive elite training, to compete on a national and local level. Selected pupils will train up to six days per week with a variety of expert coaches within the Windlesham sports department and also Worthing Swim Club. Through the Academy, pupils will develop technical, physical and psychological skills in line with Swim England’s Optimal Athlete Development Framework.

The children will also learn how to play water polo to a professional level as well as take part in open-water swimming in the sea, during the warmer months, and scuba diving. As well as developing vital life-saving skills, they will each receive classroom-based theory lessons and gain qualifications as they progress in the sport. The school has also introduced sports conditioning sessions to aid the children’s fitness levels.

Emma Spybey, head of swimming


Emma Spybey, head of swimming at Windlesham House School, oversees swimming across the school and is responsible for the swimming teams and leagues who compete locally and nationally, as part of the Swimming Academy, she said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of our first Swimming Academy. We are fortunate to have fantastic facilities onsite within which to train and also to be close to the coast for open water training. We are looking forward to coaching our talented and passionate young swimmers as they embark on their exciting aquatic journeys.”

Swimming scholarships

Each year, Windlesham also offers a swimming scholarship and scholars will also be invited to join the Academy. Applicants must already show a talent and passion for swimming to be considered. Children across all year groups are able to swim every week as part of its Swim Squad. Worthing Swim Club train weekly at Windlesham and in line with the Swim England Scheme, the school also runs an awards system for progression in swimming for all of its pupils.

Ms Spybey added, “We’ve had lots of national success within the IAPS community, and we are keen to continue improving. The Swimming Academy will allow us to continue that training at an elite level.”

The school has a new state-of-the-art, five-lane swimming pool onsite, which was officially opened by five-time Olympic swimmer Mark Foster, who represented Great Britain in the Olympics and World Championships, also swam for England in the Commonwealth Games. The 25-metre pool has six lanes and features the latest energy-saving technology and water-filtration system. Prior to the opening of its new pool, the previous swimming pool at Windlesham House School was built over 80 years ago, and even launched the swimming career of Olympian swimmer Duncan Goodhew MBE, who was a former pupil at the West Sussex school.


You might also like: Sustainable solutions for the national swimming pool crisis

Leave a Reply

Send an Invite...

Would you like to share this event with your friends and colleagues?

Would you like to share this report with your friends and colleagues?

You may enter up to three email addresses below to share this report