It’s all change in the way we book sessions at South West Swim

IMG_5176Firstly, many many many thanks for all of you who have logged in and created accounts, helped test and even book sessions on our spanking new system.  It has been a lot of hard work in the background over the past few weeks and is a big investment in time and money to make the South West Swim booking experience easier for myself, and more importantly you, in the future.  So for the last 6 weeks or so I have partly reverted back to my old life as an IT professional as I configured, setup, arranged and supported this new project.

The App and website itself is produced by a world leader in applications and booking systems for sport and leisure, called MindBody.  It is very big in the yoga world so you may well have come across the system before in another form.  South West Swim have a tailored package based on the system used by Swim Smooth Perth.  I was shown this system whilst on Swim Smooth training and it looked good, hence where we are now.

The way I have booked your sessions before was hugely time consuming.  As the pool squad numbers have grown it takes longer and longer to compile the monthly fees. Add to this the fact that we have our own endless pool and our busy open water season is just about to start things need to change.  I believe this is the answer and I hope you find it easier too.

The old way
The old way of booking (Squad sessions) involved filling in a monthly form and you telling me if you can make it to the session on a given day, and then working out if you would be better off going PAYG for the month or paying for all sessions for that given month.  From my side this meant a lot of compiling information, invoicing different amounts to different people etc etc.  It also meant that you lost out should something crop up and you could not attend the session.

Booking video analysis and 1-2-1’s was also long winded, as it involved email threads checking availability, or trying to arrange to discuss on the phone with the swimmer so we could book them in.

The systems worked but were very time consuming

The New Way

IMG_5177 I’d like to think we have really come up to date now with the new app and website.  Listed below is some information to make it work for you but I do apologise in advance for any teething problems that we have over the coming weeks as we move all services over to the system from now.

For squad sessions (pool and open water) gone are the days of you filling in a monthly form or booking individual sessions and receiving an invoice to pay from me. It is much easier now as you an log into your account (once created), buy service credits, and then book onto your session.  If you the find you can’t make a session then all you need to do is log back into the app and select cancel.  This will then cancel the session and also offer it to another swimmer who may be on (what we call) the wait list.  In effect ALL of our squad sessions are now on a PAYG basis, or as we are now referring to it (again, thanks to Swim Smooth Perth) is PAYG (BLUK), which means ‘pay as you go, but let us know’.

The same can be said of 1-2-1’s, video analysis sessions and workshops.  There is of course a cancellation policy, like we have always had, but now it is automated.  If you cancel your sessions within the cancellation period then you won’t be charged, if it cancelled outside of this window then a session credit will be taken off of your account.  This will also happen if you do not come to any booked on session, so it is better for you as you will no longer pay for sessions you cannot attend (i.e. if you have always paid by SWS Club method) but you need to remember that you are in control of telling us when you can and can’t come, and within those cancellation windows.

Cancellation Windows

So what are the cancellation windows?  please see the extract from our T&C’s below:

  • 1-2-1 Sessions & Video Analysis Sessions (applies to Open Water, Endless Pool & Traditional Pool Bookings for this service type):
Any cancellations made in the 72 hours prior to a booked 1-2-1 sessions or 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction Session will be charged at full rate. This also applies to no shows for the booked session.  Sessions booked within the cancellation period are deemed as non-cancelable.  By registering for a session, you agree to these terms.
  • Squad Sessions (applies to Open Water & Pool bookings for this session type):
(Note: Updated time window) Any cancellations for booked squad sessions in the 24 hours before the session commences will be charged at full rate, i.e. a credit will be deducted. Please help us help offer everyone a better coaching service by opting out of any session you know you can’t attend prior to the 12 hours before that session. Doing so releases your spot to the wait list and allows someone else to benefit.  This also applies to no shows for the booked session. Sessions booked within the cancellation period are deemed as non-cancelable.  By registering for a session, you agree to these terms.
  • Workshop & Bespoke Sessions (Applies to any workshop bookings based in Pool, Endless Pool or Open Water):

Any cancellations made in the 5 days prior to a booked workshop, specialist session or bespoke session will be charged at full rate unless a replacement swimmer can be sought. This also applies to no shows for the booked session.  Sessions booked within the cancellation period are deemed as non-cancelable.  By registering for a session, you agree to these terms.

First Things First 


I know i have not explained how the system works yet but wanted to put this information as close to the top of the page as possible.
I have seen a few accounts created and those athletes i know wish to book onto certain sessions.  However if you just create an account and not book onto a given session you won’t be booked into the system and could lose the place in the squad of your choice.  Please, please follow the above steps to book onto a session so I avoid getting shouted at at a later date :).

If everybody could use this system from now on that would be fantastic.  I want to try and avoid surprises and overbooking that could start to manifest itself if some people don’t book using the app, as priority will need to be given to those that have booked the sessions online / on the app.

So here we go…………..
How it Works

IMG_5178I will now try to run through the system in a nutshell, I encourage you all to download the app where possible, as it is nice and easy to use and , of course, mobile so you can book, manage and cancel on the move.  I will base my instructions for the Mobile Application which is available for iOS and Android.  The website booking system can be accessed at and follow similar questions for setting up the account and also for booking sessions, cancelling and viewing (please contact me if you are using the web version and get stuck).

Payment for services

If we think of payment for services as buying a ‘Credit’ it makes it easier to think about.  For example, if you purchase 5 pool squads sessions this puts 5 sessions into your account, so you now have  5 pool squad credits to ‘spend’.  These credits remain in your account until the session is attended or cancellation outside of a cancellation window occurs, then it will be spent.  So you could use these credits over a 7 week period if you wish, as long as you cancel sessions in good time to ‘keep’ the credit on the account (I hope that makes sense).  If you have booked 5 sessions in advance and wish to book another session you must either purchase more credits, or cancel out of a pre booked session to ‘free up’ a credit.

When your credits are running low, or due to expire (if an expiration date applies) then the system should email you and tell you about it.

When booking a session you will be promoted to buy services and be presented the options for that service.  To top up credits please go to “buy services’ on the app or to the retail section of the website, then select services.  You will then receive a list of options and session packs for you to purchase.

There will also be a direct debit option available on a rolling basis for pool squads, further details to follow when I am happy with this setup.

Squad Membership (UPDATE:This process is under review due to some inherent limitations)

Another great feature of the new system is that I can manually allocate squad membership to those who swim with South West Swim squads every week.  This means I can allocate you a place on EVERY session you currently attend so that your place is guaranteed and you do not loose it.  This means you need never miss a session due to it being fully booked, but it does mean that you will need to be on top of the cancellation process and cancel out of any sessions you can’t make.  We can offer this facility on all purchases of our 25 or 50 session PAYG (BLUK) Pool squad sessions, or our 12 session Open water PAYG (BLUK) squad sessions.

Please discuss with me to arrange if required.

Lake squad swimmers will also get a form asking if they wish to be listed as a squad member in a similar way.  For regular lake squads this could be beneficial as our session number are lower due to safety and learning considerations.

Stop waffling about payments, tell us how to get on the app

IMG_5179OK, so sorry for the dull bits but it is a major change in how we go about charging and booking and turns the whole process on its head.  so here is the good bit you get to play with………….

Downloading the App and creating an account

  1. Download the app from:
    Apple iOS –
    ndroid –
  2. Create your Account on the App by selecting:
    Log in > Create Account
    Enter first name / last name as asked and select ‘create account’.
    on the next screen ALL fields are mandatory (the app does not tell you this).  Leaving a question blank will fail the account creation process.
  3. this will create your account in our system
  4. from here you can browse all our sessions and book on
  5. to book either navigate to the desired section (Group Classes, One to One Sessions, Workshops)
  6. select the required session, read about it and select book class / book multiple
  7. if book multiple was selected you get the opportunity to select multiple dates to book.
  8. on either option you will then be promoted to ‘buy services’
  9. select the pricing option you want to buy and follow the checkout procedure
  10. You should then be booked onto the session
  11. There is some additional information that also requires filling out, however MindBody are advising if this can be incorporated into the app sign up.  If not you may receive an additional mail at some point asking to update your information online (website).

You can also buy services first or update your credit at any time.  If you already have credits then you can select the classes you want straight away without further prompts to buy.

To view your booked classes or to cancel a class
Sign into the app and select ‘my classes’ from the menu (note: ‘My Classes’ is for Squad sessions, for 1-2-1, video analysis and workshops look under ‘My Appointments’).  You will then see the list of all the sessions you are booked into.  If you cannot attend a given session then select ‘cancel’ you will be taken out of the class, charges or non charges will depend on the cancellation time and the policy in force.

Swim Credit interchangeability

Sadly, due to different price points of our services it is not possible to use pool squad session credits for lake squad sessions, and vic versa.  If there is a demand for this from our regular dual lake and pool squad members I will see if I can tailor a package to accommodate it.  Please let me know if this is of interest.

Pool Squad Pricing

For those casting an eagle eye over the App and online booking system you may have noticed that the prices for our pool squad sessions has risen slightly.  Our prices have stayed the same since the pool squads started and will now be reviewed every April, as this is the time pool hire costs are usually reviewed by our suppliers*.  I have tried to make the prices as competitive as possible and the more session credits that are purchased the cheaper the price per session.

For your reference the price of a normal public session swim at Milton Road is £5.30.  If you have any questions or concerns other our new pricing please let me know.

*In the event of our hire charges rising we may need to review pricing structures earlier than April, we will try not to do this but do reserve the right to do so.

Holding or Reserving sessions

Due to the way the system works all of our sessions are operated on a ‘first come, first booked process’.  We can no longer hold or reserve sessions for individuals.  The only exception for this is when we are creating a bespoke or club booking, that are outside of the normal booking procedures or windows.  In this instance the desired session(s) will be made unavailable and a new bespoke workshop session added to the system ready for the booking process.
As the system is fairly easy to use we have found that there is no reason for us to hold slots, and it also makes it impossible for the athlete to book the actual session if we do hold a particular time.

Payment compliance and payment card storage.

Previously all our transactions have been done via Paypal, this will no longer be the case (online retail currently an exception until that is switched).  From now on the MindBody App will use ‘NETBANX” & “PaySafe” which is part of a company called Optimal Payments PLC.  All transactions are secure and South West Swim do not  store credit card details on our systems, this is handles by the third party (as is the case with our PayPal transactions).  ETBANX & PaySafe are fully PCI compliant.  If you have any further questions around this area please drop me an email at


So that is the new app in a nutshell and feel free to start using it to book your sessions for our April Pool squads from NOW.   We have used it in a staged release for 1-2-1 sessions, workshops and lake squads to great success.  

It it were not the middle of the day I would be tucking into a celebratory whisky right about now as this officially makes the system live.  As with all IT projects I expect there to be some teething problems, but please let me know about these so i can resolve / put your mind at ease.
Nothing is impossible………….just like our Swimming!
Any issues please get in contact with me and I hope all of the above makes some sort of sense.