Competitions Explained

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Your first swimming gala
– Different types of competition: Open Meets and Galas

Your first swimming gala
Their first chance to represent the Club in competition can be both exciting and a little bit scary for our younger swimmers (and their parents!) – we’ve all been there!  So here’s a few tips on how to prepare and what to bring etc.:

Kit bag should include

  • 2 towels (one for poolside and a dry one for the changing room after),
  • swimming costume,
  • favourite goggles (2 pairs if you have them – in case one snaps!)
  • club “B” hat
  • team t-shirt or hoodie to keep warm between swims (available from Bromsgrove Sports, just off the High Street if you haven’t got one)
  • flip flops / pool-side shoes

No food, chocolate or fizzy drinks should be brought onto pool-side, but you should bring a drink (squash, or an isotonic sports drink) and have some rice cakes / dried fruit etc. Sugary sweets are not advisable.

Please arrive at the pool no later than 15 minutes before warm-up starts and report to the Team Manager (we usually have a male and female representative from the Club managing the team on pool-side and they are usually identifiable via a familiar face or a club t-shirt).  The team manager will tell you which events you are swimming in and which lane the Club has been given to warm-up in.

After warm-up, make sure you get dry and keep warm until your first event.

Stay with the team for the duration of the gala (unless previously arranged to leave early); only leave pool-side to visit the toilet… and always tell the team managers where you are, and come back as quickly as you can. All swimmers should remain together poolside at the end of the gala to hear the final results and to get any feedback from the coaching team.

When it is nearly time for your race, the team manager or coach will send you to the starting blocks. Unfortunately, the rules in most galas are such that the coach or manager can’t come with you… but if you are really worried, then talk to the manager and he / she will help you out.  More often than not, there will be other team members at the starting blocks waiting for their races – so you should find that you are with someone you know from the Club.

When it is NOT your race, stay quiet and still for the start – but by all means cheer your team mates and friends on once the race is under way.

Above all – enjoy yourself!!!  Once the first gala is under your belt – you won’t be able to wait until the next one!

Different types of competition

Swimmers can swim competitively in two types of competition:

Galas

These are Club team events which can either be a League Gala or  a Friendly/Trophy Gala.

The Club competes in several leagues and we rely heavily on swimmers to be available for the League events especially – please make every effort to be available if selected.  The stronger our teams, the more chance of winning and of being promoted to higher Divisions and competing against the bigger Clubs.

Galas are usually held in a local(-ish) pool on Saturday evenings, and swimmers are selected by the Coaches to swim particular events for the Club.  Warm-up times are usually 5.30pm – 6.00pm and the events usually finish by about 8.30pm – 9.00pm.

Gala dates are on the Club noticeboards and also in the Calendar on the website.  Team sheets will be put up 2 – 3 weeks in advance of each gala and swimmers are expected to inform the club of their availability no later than the Thursday of the week prior to gala date.

Selected swimmers will usually be given a note by the coach, and/or the teamsheet will be up on the Club Noticeboard and/or you will be notifed of selection by e-mail.

Open Meets
These are non-team competitions hosted by a Club e.g. Worcester that is “open” to swimmers from any other club to enter.  They are typically “graded” with qualifying times i.e. swimmers having to meet a minimum standard (faster than time X) while sometimes the ability of swimmers is restricted to a maximum standard too (no faster than time Y)

There will be wide range of events to choose from e.g. 50m Freestyle to 400m Individual Medley with swimmers not limited to how many races they may enter.  This is what makes Open Meets so popular as they provide an excellent opportunity to swim lots of races – whereas at a normal gala, you may just get two or three 25m/50m/100m swims for the team.

They are usually over a whole day – or even a weekend, and are great fun especially if we have a good squad of swimmers attending… hence the Club starting to promote Open Meets more nowadays.  However, you won’t always HAVE to attend the full meet – it depends on which events/races you enter.

The Club will target a number of meets – and entries for these should be made via the club.   i.e. hand in your completed entry form to your coach or a committee member with the cheque made payable to Bromsgrove Swimming Club (rather than the hosting club). 

There will be other meets that the club will not specifically target, but you are perfectly at liberty to enter these independently.

The calendar has details of all/most open meets coming up locally.