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We are thrilled to introduce our new Head Coach, Craig Oliver, who has stepped into a pivotal role at the City of Oxford Swimming Club (COSC). Craig's journey in the world of swimming has been a remarkable one, filled with dedication, expertise, and a deep-seated love for the sport. As we embark on this exciting chapter, let's discover Craig's vision for our club.

A Journey Rooted in Passion

Craig's journey as a member of the swimming community began in 2001 when he joined the ONB (Oxfordshire and North Buckinghamshire) swimming ranks. Those early years were not just about learning to swim; they were about forging lifelong connections and unforgettable experiences. Weekends were spent alongside fellow swimmers from Oxfordshire, including COSC swimmers. Together, they participated in a wide range of events, from intercounties to open meets and Championships. Little did Craig know that these shared moments would lay the foundation for his future in coaching.

From Swimmer to Leader

Over the years, Craig's swimming prowess transformed into a passion for coaching. As his coaching career advanced, he seized the opportunity to lead the ONB team as Head Coach during camps and competitions. This experience allowed him to guide swimmers from various teams within the organization, honing his leadership skills and deepening his understanding of the sport. It was during these formative years that he developed his belief that a club is not just a team but a tight-knit family united by a shared love for the water and a collective pursuit of athletic excellence.

Fostering a Culture of Inclusivity and Support

One of Craig's core values as a coach is creating an environment that prioritizes inclusivity, support, and growth. At COSC, he is committed to ensuring that every member can thrive both as athletes and individuals. This commitment extends to nurturing a culture that encourages teamwork, sportsmanship, and unwavering dedication to the craft of swimming. Craig firmly believes that success in the pool is not just about individual achievement but also about the collective strength of the team.

Setting Ambitious Goals

As your new Head Coach, Craig brings a vision of propelling COSC to new heights of achievement. Setting ambitious goals, both individually and as a team, is at the heart of this vision. Craig understands that it's through pushing boundaries and striving for excellence that true growth occurs. Under his guidance, COSC is poised to reach new milestones and make a lasting impact on the swimming community.

Swimming as a Lifelong Journey

Craig Oliver recognizes that swimming is not solely about competition. It is a lifelong journey that instills valuable life skills such as discipline, resilience, and character. Swimming transcends the boundaries of age and offers opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. It is a sport that challenges both the body and the mind, teaching swimmers to persevere through adversity and celebrate their achievements, no matter how big or small.

Craig's Impressive Qualifications

Craig's credentials as a coach are nothing short of impressive. He holds ASA Level 1 & 2 Certificates for Teaching Swimming, ASA – UKCC Level 3 Coaching Swimming, Sports Coach UK Good Practice and Child Protection, First Aid in Sport Certificate, and Safeguarding & Protecting Children certifications. Moreover, his extensive coaching background, including his role as the former Berks & South Bucks and Oxon & North Bucks Chief Coach, highlights his deep commitment to the sport and its development. Craig has also been a part of prestigious programs such as the England Programmes Phase 1 & 2 Coach and the UK Coaching Focus Program, further enriching his coaching expertise.

Charting a Course for Excellence

With Craig at the helm as our new Head Coach, COSC is poised for an exciting journey ahead. His dedication to fostering an inclusive, supportive, and growth-oriented environment, coupled with his extensive coaching experience and qualifications, positions our club for success. Together, we will set ambitious goals, push our boundaries, and create lasting memories as we continue to build on the rich legacy of the City of Oxford Swimming Club.

Calling all young swimmers aged 7 to 10, the City of Oxford Swimming Club is thrilled to announce open sessions for you to join our competitive swimming club. If you're eager to improve your skills, make new friends, and experience the excitement of a real competition, now is the perfect time to jump in and join us.

When: Saturday 27th May 2023 from 13:30

Where: Leys Pool and Leisure Centre, Pegasus Road, Oxford, OX4 6JL

Our open sessions are designed for swimmers who are comfortable with the basics and ready to take their swimming to the next level. To be eligible for these sessions, participants must be able to swim 25 meters of front crawl, backstroke, and breaststroke. This ensures that everyone joining the team will have a solid foundation to build on, as we work together to develop even stronger swimming techniques.

Open Sessions for 7 to 10 year olds.

What can you expect from the open sessions at the City of Oxford Swimming Club? Here's a taste of what we offer:

  1. Expert Coaching: Our experienced and passionate coaches are dedicated to helping young swimmers enhance their skills while fostering a love for the sport. They'll provide personalized guidance and feedback to help your child reach their full potential.
  2. Fun and Friendship: Our competitive swimming club is not just about winning races; it's also about building strong friendships and creating lasting memories. Your child will have the opportunity to connect with like-minded kids, learn the value of teamwork, and share in the joys and challenges of swimming together.
  3. Fitness and Health: Swimming is an excellent way to stay in shape and maintain overall health. It's a low-impact, full-body workout that helps improve cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and strength. By participating in our open sessions, your child will be on the path to a healthier and more active lifestyle.
  4. Competition Experience: As a part of our competitive swimming club, your child will have the opportunity to test their skills against other swimmers in a supportive and exciting environment. This will help build their confidence, resilience, and sportsmanship – valuable life skills that extend beyond the pool.

So, if your child is ready to dive into the world of competitive swimming and experience all the fun and excitement it has to offer, join us at the City of Oxford Swimming Club's open sessions for 7-10 year olds. We can't wait to welcome you to our team.

For more information about our open sessions please contact us below.

Author: Leni I

Following the end of ONB Counties; Oxford swimmers attended Wycombe Dual award meet to kick off the long course season. The weekend was very long but everyone swam very well collecting a total of 59 medals!

Session 1 got off to a flying start with a tough event for the boys: 400 IM. Ethan B set the bar high, winning gold and finishing second overall. The rest of the session featured a range of races covering 50m, 100m and 200m distances. Flo S, James L, Rosie L and Allie G all achieved gold in their events and Leni I won the 50m breast event overall.

The winning streak continued the rest of the day. Session 2 and 3 featured another 12 gold medals. Amal J, Flo S and Leni I achieved another two golds each in the afternoon and were joined by Mia L, William D, Joseph T, Reece M, Rosie L and Ethan B. A special mention to Ethan who swam a rapid 100m breast, winning the event overall.

Day 2 started with Flo S tackling the 400m IM: another great swim placing her first. The Boy’s 200m Breast was successful across the board with Oxford winning 5 golds in this single event; well done to Andrew T, Joseph T, Jacob S, Jack L and Ethan B for their amazing performances. Ethan B achieved a second gold in the 200 IM followed by Oliver R who also won his 200 back. Leni I finished session 1 with a great 100m fly winning the event overall.

The success continued into the afternoon with Leni I, Jacob S and Jack L all achieving their second gold of the day. Finally, the weekend came to a close with the girls 200m free featuring an amazing swim from Mia L, winning her the gold.

The gala was a fantastic opportunity for the swimmers to test their fitness and technique as they make the difficult jump from a 25m to a 50m pool, it was a valuable opportunity and a very well run gala. A huge thank you to Dan, Richard and David along with all the team managers who sat through the very long days to support us!!

Fins are an incredibly useful piece of equipment for both coaches and swimmers. They can be used in a variety of sets and sessions, whether as an aid for developing technique, a tool for speed, or supporting a swimmer developing their strength and fitness. However, what fins should you invest in? Below I have a put a link where you can find suitable fins but for now please see the below pictures as we talk about the differences in fins.

The blue Arena fin in the left picture is much more suitable for training purposes. Why? Well it is much shorter in length. The longer fin in the image on right have often been said to generate more speed/ power. But particularly for younger swimmers the larger fin can also be rather strenuous and hinder movement. Working against its original goal of aiding a swimmer. The much longer fin can still be used, but swimmers using this style of fin have said their turns, both tumble and touch are restricted, and often their kicking technique morphs negatively to over compensate moving a large surface area. The smaller fins although they potentially don’t produce as much force, will not restrict movement, will support the swimmer as they practice steady technique and will still aid in their speed.

Arena Powerfin Pro - Blue (

I hope this guidance helps some of you when picking out your swimmers first or next pair of fins.


First Weekend

During the first day of the ONB County Championships 2023, the COSC Boys took to the water first in the 10- 12 and 13- 14 Medley and Freestyle Relays. We saw a large amount of personal best times, both individually and as a team. With relays take overs on point as swimmers have been practicing how to step into the dive!

COSC secured its first two medals of the Championships well done boys! X 2 Bronze Medals

Second Weekend

For the second weekend of County's we had some fantastic results from Cam, Mia and Oliver in the 800m Free! All 3 swimmers were COSC’s first individual competitors, and each secured large personal best times! Well done you three!

It was then over to the girls 10- 12 year old relay teams! Where both the Medley and Freestyle teams finished 4th! The girls narrowly missing out on medals!

Lastly for the day, the girls 13- 14 year old Medley and Freestyle teams took to the water and successfully added to the clubs medal total. With x 1 Bronze and our first gold of the championships.

Third Weekend

COSC swimmers took to the pool for 400m Freestyle and 400m I.M! More medals and personal best time were achieved. But more importantly a lot of valuable lessons were taken away. Competitive sport is not always about the highs. But learning from the lows and how you can use those lessons going forward. 400m swimming can be challenging but can bring vast amounts of experience.

Mikey brought home COSC’s first Silver Medal in the 13 years 400m Freestyle! Breaking the 5 minute mark for the first time (and swimming an extra 50m for good measure).

Finally, the 13 year old boys managed a 1, 2, 3 in the 400m I.M! Joseph taking the Gold, Elijah Silver and Mikey Bronze!

Medal Total:

4 Bronze
2 Silver
2 Gold

By Coach Kate

December has been a very full month for the Rising Stars swimmers and coaches.

swimming event in amersham

On the 3rd of December nearly all of the Rising Stars swimmers, aged from 8-10, competed for Team COSC in the Amersham Novice Gala, a fast-moving team event with lots of relays. Three coaches and 27 swimmers all arrived in good time to have team talks, a pre-pool warm up and a run through of the relay order. Coach Jess controlled the flow of swimmers up to the starting blocks and calmed any pre-race nerves. Coach Joseph and I were stationed at either ends of the pool to observe the starts, turns and finishes. And a huge thanks to the volunteer parents who supported the event as officials and team managers. 

It was a brilliant night, lots of first-time racing for the younger swimmers, and for all it was their first go at relays and medley relays. I was so impressed with the team spirit and energy from all of our swimmers - they clearly loved it. It would be very difficult to pick out our shiniest stars but Anna, Emma and Kailuo all swam up an age group, Vera smashed her fly race and Carlo, having finished the last leg of a medley relay, had to get straight back onto the block for the squadron relay. I think every swimmer would have a proudest moment from this gala even if it was just racing for the first time. 

We were all particularly proud of their behaviour and politeness on poolside, they were a credit to the club! We came a very respectable 5th place with lots of PBs (and a few DQs...) but lots of happy faces at the end of the day.

Then a week later, many of our Rising Stars swimmers competed alongside our Age group swimmers at the COSC Development Meet on 11th December.  

And finally, we wish all the best of luck to Coaches Joseph and Megan as they move on from COSC. 

Joseph, Meg and I all began our journey with Rising Stars at pretty much the same time. Joseph was just back from finishing his biology degree at University and Meg was beginning her final year at school. Rick Hall (our then Head Coach) rounded us all up and very convincingly persuaded us to reform and rebuild the Rising Stars Programme: Joseph with Gold, Meg on Bronze and I had Silver with an overview of the whole programme.

It has been one of my greatest pleasures to work with them both and all the wonderful swimmers who have passed through our hands over the last eighteen months - the warmth and care that they have invested in this programme will live on, as Meg has begun her University degree in Nottingham and Joseph is about to move to Kansas to begin his career as a scientist. 

Joseph has been my right hand always - ‘no problem, Kate, how can I help?’ Endlessly hauling lane ropes, sensitively dealing with swimmers’ tears and pre-race nerves, and always encouraging any of 

my slightly mad cap plans on how to keep the sessions fun and lively.

Meg has been an equal part of creating Rising Stars and what it has become. She returned last night to coach a blinding water polo session, culminating in a riotous match of The Coaches (Joseph, Meg and Rosie Leveson) vs The Whole of Rising Stars…

The best of luck to two of my finest Stars as they move on to other projects and I will look forward to welcoming the next intake of Rising Stars coaches as we silently build our team of water polo players for a reunion & rematch possibly next Summer!

Learning the rules of relay takeovers is a key element for Officials doing their Level 1 training, but we don’t get many chances to see relays in action. On Saturday 26th November, COSC hosted a relay seminar to hone the skills of our officials in relay takeovers and get some all-important competencies signed off. 

A special thanks to Referee Karen Underwood for running the session, to Coach David and the AGS1 swimmers for letting us practice with them, and to some of COSC’s J2 qualified officials for volunteering time on a Saturday morning to mentor the trainees. 

Alongside COSC trainees, we also welcomed trainees from other local clubs: Kidlington & Gosford Swimming Club, Wantage White Horses Swimming and Banbury. It was lovely to see our friends in white from other clubs and to help build up the cohort of trained officials across the County. 

Seven trainees attended the seminar and observed 24 takeovers of free style and medley. It was intense and long, but the swimmers were really patient and willing to practice with us. Some even agreed to deliberately mess up a few take-overs to let us see what a foul take-off looks like! 

Why not join the COSC team of officials? 

Everyone that you see in white at a swimming competition is a volunteer; most knew almost nothing about swimming when they started training. Becoming an official requires training – you have to do on-line courses and poolside practical assessments - but you get amazing support from fellow volunteers and we are a really friendly bunch! 

As one trainee put it: “swimming competitions can be hot and boring when you are just sitting in the stands watching. But as an official you learn about the rules of swimming, and you have to focus. The time passes so much faster!”   

We urgently need more officials. The more officials we have, the fewer sessions each person has to do, which means we can all get to watch our own swimmers compete from time to time. 

Maco, the COSC Officials Coordinator, is really happy to talk to anyone who is interested in becoming an officials: [email protected]

Are you a qualified swimming coach or teacher and looking for the opportunity to join a dynamic team? Our new Head Coach, Richard Beard, is taking up his role with the City of Oxford Swimming Club in early December and is looking to grow his team.

COSC is going from strength to strength, rapidly expanding at the youngest and oldest ends of the club, with plenty of scope for the growth and development of our competitive and fitness cohorts in between.

We’d love to hear from qualified candidates for the following roles:

Age Group Coach

We are recruiting a full-time qualified coach to help with our Age squads, working closely with our Head of Age, David Treadell. The job advert is live with a closing date of 17th December.

Apply Now

Swim Teacher

Under the leadership of Helen Thornton and Caroline Gibbs, our Swim School is making great progress and we are currently seeking a qualified swim teacher

Download More Information

We are also keen to bring in more trainee helpers so do get in touch if you are interested in starting or advancing your training as a swim teacher.

Rising Stars Coach

To help our young swimmers make the transition from swimming lessons to competitive swimmer, we are looking for a part-time assistant coach to work alongside our Head of Rising Stars, Kate le Fèvre.

Rising Stars Bronze Job Description

Rising Stars Gold Job Description

Finally, we’re always keen to hear from qualified or trainee coaches who want to work with us on a casual or voluntary basis. Get in touch and we can start a conversation about what you are looking for and what COSC can offer.

You’ll be working alongside our energetic existing team of permanent, casual and volunteer coaches, helping to take forward the club’s plans to build a supportive and inclusive environment, where swimmers of all ages can thrive.

By Eleni Ioannou and Ethan Bird (Youth Squad)

The season was kickstarted for several of COSC’s performance youth swimmers with the South East Winter Regionals Meet which took place at the new pool in Winchester on 5th and 6th November. COSC swimmers had a total of 10 race entries each in separate events. 

In the first session Ethan Bird was first to race in the 100m Breaststroke; he swam brilliantly, ranking in the Top 10 Under 16 swimmers. Lachlan Middleton and Alfie Bone competed soon after in events 100m Butterfly and 400m IM respectively. Later on in session 2, Eleni Ioannou wrapped up the day in the 50m Butterfly event. 

Going into Day Two of the competition, rested and refreshed, Ethan Bird pulled off another Top 10 result in the 50m Breaststroke, setting the bar high. Lachlan Middleton - 200m Butterfly and Imogen Duffen - 50m Freestyle also raced the same morning both achieving personal bests. Session 3 ended with Ethan Bird’s 3rd event of the meet: the 200m IM. 

Finally, the last session featured another personal best from Lachlan Middleton in the 50m Butterfly; alongside Ethan Bird who swam a brilliant 200m Breaststroke achieving a Silver medal and a Winter National qualification time!

Overall a great competition and well done to all the swimmers who competed.

Then on the 20th of November, four youth performance swimmers departed for Guilford to compete at their annual level 2 meet. 

Sunday started off early with Ethan in the 100m breaststroke heats. With a quick second 50, he finished just off his personal best to come away with a bronze medal in the 16 year olds category. COSC continued brightly with Leni and Imogen stepping up for the 50m freestyle. Fast and ferociously, the girls finished with power as they both came away with large PBs (27.8 and 29.0) and placed highly in their respective age groups. As the session came to a close, continuing the trend of fast swimming, Lachie exceled in the 50m fly, narrowly missing out on the podium. With a brilliant underwater off the turn, Lachie returned swiftly to ease into 1st in his heat.

In the afternoon session, Lachie dominated the 100m fly heats and finished 1st in his age group to bring home gold and secure a place in the open final (which he later did not swim); more importantly he swam a 59.03 (PB) to take him under the minute barrier! Ethan followed along in his 50m breaststroke to secure second place in his age with a 0.14 seconds personal best. As the gala came to a close, Leni swam another brilliant PB in the 50m backstroke (32.64) with amazing underwaters to round up a successful weekend for Oxford with lots of PBs and strong skills on display.

This was the last gala for the youth swimmers being led and coached by Craig Gibbons. From all of the youth squad and COSC, we would like to say thank you for your time on poolside at galas and hard work behind the scenes to help the swimmers; we wish you luck for the future. 

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