Lifesaving Sport

The Royal Life Saving Society UK is the National Governing Body for pool-based Lifesaving Sport - a sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation. Lifesaving Sport is the only sport whose skills are first learned for humanitarian purposes.

As showcased in our new promotional video, Lifesaving Sport is a competitive and dynamic international sport, with a variety of fun and challenging activities that take place in and out of the water at swimming pools and the beach. It is also an important vehicle to engage young people in lifesaving and support drowning prevention. 

Heather Watson

Heather Watson’s lifesaving journey kicked off at Heanor Lifesaving Club where she competed as a Rookie and at her first RLSS Nationals. At the age of 13, she moved to RASCALS where she continues to train and compete now.

From Rookie to international competitions, Heather’s talent has seen her regularly complete at RLSS, SLSGB and Welsh Nationals – as well as having represented Team GBR and Team England at European, World and Commonwealth Lifesaving competitions.

One of Heather’s competition highlights included getting to compete at the International Life Saving World Championships in 2022 and placing her in her first international B final, before going on to compete at the Youth European Championships in Poland and making her first international A final. Here, she described feeling “honoured to be given the opportunity to act as vice-captain.” On her experience, Heather fondly recalled: “It an amazing opportunity to race against some of the best athletes in the world.

But Heather’s drive and success did not stop there. In 2023, she went on to compete at the RLSS Commonwealth Championships in Canada. Up against older athletes, Heather became Commonwealth Champion in the individual SERC, as well as earning Bronze medals in both the 100m Tow and 200m Super Lifesaver events. She also captained the national SERC team who achieved a gold medal, whilst Team England finished in overall silver medal position.

Speaking to her achievements, Heather said: “I came away from the Commonwealth Life Saving Championships in Canada with six medals, from relays and individuals alike. I was also really pleased to achieve long awaited personal best times at this competition – earning myself two National Record times too!”

When asked the best thing about getting involved with Lifesaving Sport, Heather said: 

“I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of competitive lifesaving – especially the sense of community and the opportunities to travel and compete around the country and world. I also particularly enjoy teaching Rookie sessions at Rascals and supporting younger athletes starting out on their lifesaving journey. Lifesaving sport is a fun way to build your fitness whilst meeting amazing people along the way!” 

Fresh from competing at the Speeds Championship in Sandwell, Heather is preparing for the remainder of the season of UK Lifesaving competitions – training six times a week in the pool alongside land-based training, including yoga and strengthening exercises.

She set two new UK records at Speeds; achieving an incredible time of 00:58:48 in the 100m Manikin Carry with Fins (15-18 years) and as part of team RASCALS in the 4 x 50m Pool Lifesaver Relay so we can’t wait to see what she goes on to achieve next!