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. 

Daniel Woodthorpe RASCALS

Head Coach at R.A.S.C.A.L.S

Daniel Woodthorpe is a 39-year-old Head Coach at Ripley Amateur Swimming Club and Lifesaving (RASCALS). He has been involved with the club for most of his life, having started helping on poolside and coaching 23 years ago, and training there as an athlete prior to this.  

I started competitive swimming when I was 11 years old with RASCALS in Derbyshire. I competed at county level and I also took part in the RLSS UK Nationals and SERC from the age of 12, coming away with a number of individual and team national medals. In 2007 when I finished my swimming career, I took up coaching full-time.” 

The content of Daniel’s coaching sessions varies depending on the time of year and any competitions that are on the horizon. He believes that “if you are a proficient swimmer, it will give a firm basis for success”, so his sessions are swim-based, incorporating lifesaving skills into the sets. 

During his time coaching, Daniel has nurtured a huge amount of talent and success and describes having been fortunate over the years to have worked with exceptional athletes.  

“I have coached multiple individual national medallists and champions at the RLSS UK Nationals, SLSGB Stills, Welsh Nationals and RLSS UK’s Speed Lifesaving Championships.” 

He continues “I have also coached a number of swimmers who have been selected to represent their country at the RLSS Commonwealth’s and at the ILS World and European Championships. 

“Alongside my role as RASCALS coach, I also have the pleasure of being the GBR pool coach. I was the GBR pool coach at Worlds 2022 with two good medal relay performances achieved by the exceptionally talented athletes.” 

Daniel is keen to encourage more people to the sport and urges anyone interested to find their nearest club and get involved. 

“Whatever your age, level or ability, lifesaving sport is fun and inclusive. It offers many disciplines: traditional rescues, beach and ocean events, pool events, so there is something for everyone”. 

His top tip is “Don’t limit your expectations. All of those at the top of the sport started in the junior ranks and with hard work, dedication, support from their club and coaches, there is no reason why you can’t go on to achieve the same.” 

Lifesaving sport is unlike any other sport I have been involved with. It is exciting, varied, physically challenging and whilst clearly competitive, all of those involved in the sport are friendly, happy to help others and supported by thousands of volunteers across the country. 

“Lifesaving sport offers an opportunity to make lifelong friends, develop moral character and a care for others alongside sporting prowess. It’s a sport I loved as a child and when I look back provided me with some of my proudest competition memories.”