All club training sessions and events must follow the Swim England Policy below.

FINA’s guidance related to the minmum depth required for racing entries in swimming has been amended and should now be 1.35m. This follows a health and safety review conducted by the international governing body for swimming.

We have set out answers to some commonly asked questions below. If you have any other questions please email

Minimum diving depths FAQs

Is there any difference between a racing dive and a competitive start?

No, there is no difference, these are the same thing.

We have a pool which is less than 1.35m at both ends, how do we start a race?

To comply with the new regulations, swimmers should start a race in the water if your pool is less than 1.35m at both ends.

We have a pool which is less than 1.35m at both ends, how do we coach racing dives?

You need to coach competitive starts in a minimum depth of 1.35m, so you need to find an area of the pool which meets these requirements. We would recommend that all clubs conduct a competency evaluation of any new member and their ability to perform a dive start in water of 1.8m. We would then recommend that all clubs follow the Swim England Competitive Start Awards to ensure that swimmers are able to safely perform a dive start from a block. Further information on the Competitive Start Awards is available here.

If you are a swimming teacher or coach who would like to upskill their knowledge on competitive starts, there is a CPD available for you to book on to. To find out more, click here.

We have a licence for a competition which takes place on, or after, 1 September 2023. The entry depth is less than 1.35m. Can we still host the competition?

All competitions on, or after, 1 September will need to comply with the 1.35m minimum depth requirement if swimmers intend to start using racing dives. If your pool does not comply with the requirement, swimmers should start in the water.

The starting blocks are positioned at the end of the pool which is less than 1.35m. How do we move them?

The blocks will need to be relocated but how this is done will differ for each venue.

If I take part in competition overseas with shallow diving, will I still be insured?

International competitions delivered by FINA recognised bodies must also be 1.35m depth, so members will be covered by insurance at these competitions.

Our local council is building a new pool. What influence does Swim England have to ensure that this will be deep enough for club training or competition purposes?

If we continue to practice diving into a shallow pool even though we have done a risk assessment, will our insurance be valid if an accident occurs?

The risk assessment is a mitigation we have put in place until 31 August 2023. From 1 September 2023, you must apply the minimum depth of 1.35m.

Where can I find the FINA regulations on starting blocks?

The FINA Facilities Rules can be found here.

Will there be any guidance for meet promoters and referees regarding the change and what should be shared at the competition?

The minimum depth guidance is available for all to view.

Will our license now be revoked for our competition?

Working with the regions, contact will be made with all current licence holders for competitions to ensure they are aware of the gudiance. Those competitions who do not comply with the 1.35m requirement will need to adapt their delivery.

FINA regulations refer to diving off starting blocks and not the poolside, therefore, why do we have to change?

FINA regulations stipulate a minimum start/finish depth of 1.35m when diving from starting blocks.

We are no longer able to assess swimmers for the Competitive Start Awards due to the required depth. How can we support those swimmers to take a meaningful part in competitions?

We would recommend that you secure time in a pool with the required depth to complete the assesment. This could be done by a group of clubs facing the same challenge and share the costs.

What is a ‘freeboard’?

Freeboard is the area from the pool water to the pool deck.

Who decides whether swimmers have reached the standard of the Swim England Preliminary Competitive Start Award?

Click here for information on which teachers and coaches are able to teach and assess the Competitive Start Awards.

The document says the changes are ‘recommended’. Does this mean we don’t have to comply?

If you are an organisation affiliated with Swim England, you are required to comply with the guidance.

Is there any guidance for clubs on how to add the minimum depth changes into their risk assessments?

Each risk assessment is individual to the club, so it is difficult for us to provide definite guidance on the content of the risk assessment. We would recommend that you conduct a competency evaluation of all swimmers in water of 1.8m to avoid the risk of injury. This assessment should highlight to coaches and the swimmer what skill development, if any, is needed. The coaching team need to asses that a swimmer is able to perform a shallow dive and this needs to be clearly explained in your risk assessment.

Coaches need to be aware of how to asses that copentancy and we strongly recommend that they complete the Competitive Starts CPD. More information on this can be found by clicking here. For more information on the Swim England Competitive Start Awards, click here.