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. 

The weekend of 23 – 24 March saw not only the start of spring, but also the start of the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) Lifesaving Sport calendar with the National Speed Lifesaving Championships, affectionately known as Speeds. 

This year’s event was not only one of the largest events in Speeds history with over 550 competitors taking part, but the competition was held in the impressive Sandwell Aquatics Centre that was purpose-built for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022. 

This central venue provided the perfect backdrop for this year’s Speeds event with a 50m Olympic-sized pool, 25m dive pool and 1000 spectator seats. Such a venue will no doubt have provided competitors with inspiration for next year’s Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships, which are set to be hosted by RLSS UK in Swansea (more to follow!).  

In addition to a new venue, the team were also able to debut a new livestream this year, hosted on the RLSS UK YouTube channel. This amazing opportunity allowed parents, relatives and fans of Lifesaving Sport around the UK, Ireland and further afield to watch all the action as it happened – including friends and family of the Norwegian Lifesaving Club that was taking part. We have already received some wonderful feedback about it:  

“Thank you for wonderful games and streaming options for us who were not able to be there. It was really good layout and commentators. It was so cool to be able to follow our athletes travelling from Norway” 

The live broadcasting of the competition added an extra dimension and obviously had a significant impact on the competitors who really raised their game, with many posting personal best times and lots of RLSS UK Speeds records being smashed!  

“I couldn’t make the event in person due to commitments with other children. The YouTube stream meant that I could watch my son win his first medal - absolutely amazing”


Events got underway bright and early on Saturday morning with the 50m Manikin Carry and eagerly awaited Super Lifesaver. The ever-talented Emily Robson from Loughborough University Lifesaving Club took first place in both events, and even achieved a Silver medal in the 200m Obstacles that followed! The Gold medal in the Open category of Super Lifesaver went to Sam Lawman, who represented team Race Pace in their debut at Speeds 2024.  

The morning’s events came to a close with the popular Pool Lifesaver Relay, which was won by RASCALS, closely followed by Loughborough Students and Belfast Olympia. 

On Saturday afternoon, we saw the hotly-contested Line Throws become a highlight with Ruth McDougall of Belfast Olympia winning gold in the 12.5m with an impressive time of 13.43. The Open category saw Martin Schofield of Crawley Town Life Saving Club achieve an amazing world record time of 8.84! 


On Sunday, the 100m Rescue Medleys started the afternoon session on a high, with Sam Lawman achieving a British Record in the Open and Amaia Lopez achieving a British Junior Record in the Female event.    

The afternoon also saw a brand-new event launch with the 50m Manikin Tow for 12-14s and 60+. Martina Vaagnes took the female Gold medal home to her club in Norway, and there was a triple celebration for team RASCALS in the Open category as their athletes Riley, Tobias and Harry came in first, second and third place!  

Speeds 2024 came to a close with the brilliant Medley Relays. Loughborough came in first for the females, and Race Pace topped the podium for the Open.

There were many amazing performances throughout the weekend and full results and records will be available on the website soon. If you came along to the event, we’d love to hear what you thought, so please do complete our feedback form

RLSS UK would like to thank the event organisers, staff at Sandwell Aquatics Centre and our amazing Officials and volunteers for their support and assistance. A special ‘thank you’ also goes out to the fantastic network of athletes, coaches, team managers, parents and supporters who attended. Without all of you, RLSS UK Speeds would not be possible. 

"Our first lifesaving event and such a positive experience. My son had lost some of his enthusiasm for swimming and lifesaving has given both him and my daughter renewed purpose and confidence. Competitive but a much friendlier, team atmosphere. You could feel that within the spectators as well. Thank you so much."