Children 3 and up




The Rainbow Awards are bright, cheerful and motivating. They are designed to give young swimmers, aged five and older, the incentive to develop their swimming abilities and stamina.

This comprehensive collection of distance awards ranges from five metres with a buoyancy aid (Puffin) through to 5,000 metres. This range of awards is designed to motivate children to swim longer distances by increasing the distance gradually over the 19 Awards in the series. This helps young swimmers to develop their confidence, ability and stroke techniques along the way.

The Puffin Award and the Rainbow Awards have been very carefully designed to test, encourage and give swimmers the confidence to achieve their goals.

The Next Step
We would encourage attainment of the Rainbow Stroke Distance Awards following successful completion of the Rainbow Distance Awards.




The National Plan for Teaching Swimming (NPTS) is an all-inclusive programme which takes the non-swimmer from his or her first splash to developing confidence and competence in the water. The National Governing Body for Swimming, the ASA, has produced a national syllabus for aquatics, in order to equip learn to swim providers with the training and tools to deliver a multi-aquatic, multi-skill programme.

The swimmer’s journey through aquatics following the National Plan for Teaching Swimming will result in the development of a wide range of skills. These skills, are a jigsaw of pieces and when put together result in a competent, confident and safe swimmer who has the skill base for developing technique in a wide range of water based sports.

National Plan for Teaching Swimming Awards (Stages 1-7)
The NPTS programme continues to thrive and enjoy a huge success. It has been adopted by a vast number of local authorities, public pools, schools and clubs, ensuring that the ethos of raising the national standard of swimming teaching has been, and continues to be, implemented throughout the country.

The National Plan Awards have been designed to complement the updated National Plan for Teaching Swimming syllabus (2007 edition). As a result of completing all of the outcomes for each stage detailed within the syllabus, the National Plan Awards have been created to reward the swimmer for their effort and achievement within each stage.

National Plan for Teaching Swimming Awards (Stages 8-10)
Once the swimmer has developed the core range of skills required to be confident, competent and safe in water through stages 1-7, they can progress onto stages 8, 9 and 10. Stages 8-10 gives pupils the opportunity to develop skills from all aquatic disciplines: competitive swimming, diving, synchro and water polo.




With this range of awards, pupils are challenged to achieve specified targets using a wide range of skills and stamina proficiently. Throughout this scheme all strokes should be in good style. This implies that the stroke is easily recognisable as one of the four major competitive strokes but does not necessarily comply with ASA law. The strokes should be co-ordinated, smooth, and efficient and completed without undue stress.