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Chelsea and Westminster Swim club or Brompton

(13 Posts)
HafenmelLondon1980 Tue 16-Jan-18 01:51:23

Wondered if anyone has experience or child/children at Brompton Swim club? Have 2 DC in CWSC but a lot is changing and there seems to be some disorganisation or issues with the staff(constant rotation and many old faces leaving and new arrivals). I have also heard a few complaints from some of the parents. Third child has now been offered a place in both CWSC and Brompton. Not sure which to decide on. Location isn't a problem. I am more concerned with the quality of training itself and long term performance.

ohamIreally Tue 16-Jan-18 02:00:56

How awful for you.

HafenmelLondon1980 Tue 16-Jan-18 07:25:08

@Ohamireally very awful indeed. Tough decisions ahead... what can I say, some of these things one might consider petty matter to me. Shocking ha?

NewLondonMom1 Tue 23-Jan-18 15:59:23

HafenmelLondon1980 - We are in the same place. Trying to decide between the two clubs. Do you want to jump on a quick call and share what we know so far?

Isthisonealsotaken Fri 04-Jan-19 15:59:16

Really struggling with CWSC. A lot of disorganization and passing the buck. Trying to hang in there but with other parents dropping out I'm also interested in finding alternatives for some fun competitive swimming.

Athenarocks Thu 14-Feb-19 15:55:00

If I was you I would go to Brompton Bees. CWSC has gone down hill..some of the great coaches have been forced to leave. It's not a pleasant atmosphere. Teaching standard has lowered. It used to be quite hard to get into and a very high quality performance. But now anyone can. It's just like normal centre swim lessons and money!

BM68 Fri 15-Feb-19 15:55:31

Apparently CW is now being run specifically around the chair’s kid. New head coach recruited when their last program was closed down. Very autocratic. No camaraderie, no volunteers. Long standing coaches had enough of the ruination of the club. Younger swimmers paying through the nose for substandard lessons to financially support the handful of swimmers at the top. Coaches and swimmers have already moved to Brompton and other surrounding clubs. I’d suggest you look around.

BM68 Sat 16-Feb-19 13:48:45

Edit. The new CW head coach had her last program cut hence needing a new job. CW didn’t have their program closed.

Athenarocks Fri 22-Feb-19 12:50:34

I've heard even more reports lately. Old very knowledgeable friendly coaches leaving. New coaches coming in. Inconsistent and not approachable or as good. A Lot of family grumbling about standards and fees. And about chairman, basically controls the club. Although they are a volunteer.

sanam2019 Wed 11-Sep-19 10:57:13

wondering if anyone has anything positive to say about CWSW? DCs are not yet at the level to qualify for Brompton SC but would probably have a shot at the Blue Hats at CWSW, I just wonder if it still makes sense to join CWSW to ensure they can train in a proper swimming club and progress than to hope they get to Brompton level with their 30min weekly lessons in a learn to swim school.
If you are looking at Yellow Hats / Blue Hats / Black Hats, is there anyone with recent experience? At least judging by the website, many of the coaches seem to have been around for a long time? And the club still seems to produce plenty of good swimmers (might be a numbers game as well of course), would love to hear (by PM if you prefer) from any club insiders who think it would not be wise to join. Thanks!

Athenarocks Thu 12-Sep-19 06:43:53

Many of the old coaches have resigned due to being forced to and the way that it is now run. The reason why they have produced good swimmers is due to them! The good ones are at The top level. It has recently been chaos in the lower levels due to inconsistency of staff, lack of their ability, control and passion.
Yellows/Blues very disorganised. Blacks at Queen mother have just lost the one thing that was positive about it!. Their coach!
Swiss cottage is a good choice with lower level feeder squad. As Brompton doesn't have this.
Good luck

3kidslater Thu 12-Sep-19 12:24:59

To answer your initial question, anything positive to say about the club ...NO!!!!
Anything positive about this club is from the past, and is in the past.
These comments show you exactly what it is like now.

Don't let the numbers confuse you, yes it's a big club, grown by a couple hundred members in the last few years. That by NO MEANS is a representation of the quality of the sessions or current popularity of the club.

A few years ago, it had some 400-500 members and such a strong performing top end of the club, I remember kids getting swimming scholarships to Ivy League universities, a whole team that went to nationals, regionals, even the youngsters would make a name for the club at counties year in year out, they qualified for the Arena League final too, amongst many other top notch achievements in the swimming world. The club was smaller, but much more successful. Just goes to show it's about quality not quantity.

The few kids at the top ARE good, because of the coaches they HAD (big emphasis there!)

The learning squads at the club are financing the training of the top squad, and so the whole learning side of the club is oversubscribed and coached by people with little knowledge or passion, unlike it was some 2/3 years ago and beforehand.

Teachers and coaches of sports clubs ought to be specialists. This club had that, that's why they were so popular, and it was difficult to get in. Now they employ anyone, and there's no difference in the club's sessions and the centre's own ones. They even use the centre's coaches/teachers. And have increased the numbers in the squads but have no helpers, which is worrying for the younger swimmers.

I've had 3 DC come through that club, the first 2 were years ago and the last one more recently.

My youngest had the most passion and couldn't wait to get in the club, having seen their older siblings at training week in week out, having THE BEST time.
Unfortunately, my youngest joined just a short while before everything changed, and so we've sat and witnessed this once great community and family orientated local club crumble, whilst us, it's members, are lied to, and that will never sit well with me. 😡🤬

My child had experienced Blue Hats at Holland Park and at Queen's Mother's. 10/10 would NOT recommend. 😂

At Holland park (closed session - parents sit outside, can't actually see what's going on other than through the little circular window in the door when you paste your face to it, much like THAT scene from Jurassic Park) there were over 20 children of differing abilities crammed into 2 lanes, some couldn't stand at the shallow end, no lifeguard (I'd understand for the older squads, but anything can happen when they're still learning, surely that should be covered?!) And here's the best bit, ONE COACH...to 20+ swimmers...again, I'm sure this isn't recommended with learners. It's definitely not safe!
When my older 2 DC went through Blue hats there were never that many children, and always more coaches....and the price was much lower!

The experience from Queens Mother's was actually worthy of several complaints, (although there's no point contacting anyone from the staff, the Director and Chair seem to completely ignore legitimate concerns and complaints from their members across all sites, in an effort to pretend the issues don't exist and portray themselves as being really successful 😒) the coach just kept shouting at the children, being really obnoxious, her attitude and body language stank, no feedback to kids or parents, confusing explanations, awful demonstrations (which my DC mirrored in the water and got told off for doing wrong, but no help as to how to fix it), and with what clearly seemed like little experience working with children - then we found out that she was apparently the main coach for the Learning Programme "coordinator of development squads", even though she admitted to having no actual teaching qualifications. Apparently she has coaching ones (which, according to the governing body for swimming, in no way helps the part where children are LEARNING...so why she had been put into this position boggled the brain), she has no experience as a competitive swimmer either (which wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't the first line of the biography she has on the website), and has never studied or gained any experience in sport, or dealing with children...🤦‍♀️
With people like that in charge, it's no wonder children can't walk properly for days after an entire session with fins on their little feet. It's worrying, not to mention detrimental to their development (I actually spoke to a Doctor about it).

Would also say not to trust what you read on their website, it's biased at best and in-keeping with the theme of "just tell everyone what we want them to think even if it's not true, to make ourselves look like we know what we are doing".
I mean, they've advertised themselves as "West London's most reputable club", and if your family is new to all this, you'd probably believe it, but for me who's been part of it all for many years, it's quite sickening to be honest! And really humiliating when it's a talking point of parents from other clubs like Ealing (also west London, much bigger than CW, and much more successful at every level).

Most of the coaches in the important squads are new, some of the old faces who are on the website barely work there any more (some not at all), and you're unlikely to see them, until your child gets side tracked into a non competitive squad. I think there's literally a handful of coaches who have been there for more than 2 years. Rumour has it even the Director has been applying for jobs elsewhere, obviously with no success!

Other than the main coach (Suzi? I might be wrong) who has worked with the Reds/Oranges/Yellows on Saturdays since I can remember, there isn't a single other coach left in that club who I'd happily pay to teach my DC. Unfortunately I don't know if she does Blues still, and even if she did, there's no guarantee you'd get her as they slot kids into whatever space there is rather than what's most convenient for the parents.

My youngest asked to quit this club, said they "love swimming, just not here any more". And it's a shame, my child isn't the first, won't be the last! It broke my heart a bit, knowing how excited they were to finally be part of it, after everything they'd seen, only to experience it's downfall.

I don't know where you are based or how old your children are, but there are a few clubs around with Learning Programmes. Or you could always get group lessons at a centre or swim school until your DC is a bit more proficient, then aim for a club.
Try Camden, Brompton, Ealing, Barnes, Leander, I've recently heard that Eaton Square have started their own club too, which will be aimed more at primary aged children, off the back of how many of their students had dropped out of the CW swimming club.

Good luck! Hope that helps somewhat! Didn't want to PM, in case it also helps someone else! Do let us know what you decide to do!

sanam2019 Fri 13-Sep-19 12:11:41

thanks so much for the feedback, very clear! will PM you.

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