Swimming Club

Basic Meet Info

We seek to answer all those tricky questions that new & old parents have about how the Club runs and galas are entered…
The Competitive Meet

The competitive aspect of swimming, the meet, can seem like a daunting and confusing prospect for those new swimmers & parents. However, once you’ve experienced a couple you will quickly get into the swing of things, and there is always help at hand.
Your coach & Team Manager is the definitive point of reference for matters relating to meets, and, as with every other aspect of the club’s activities, there are plenty of people who have been involved in competitive swimming for many years who will be happy to advise you. JUST ASK!
Competition Types

Competitions are classified as “open” or “closed”.

An open competition, as the name implies, is open to all, whilst closed competitions are for selected groups.

For the majority of competitions, the club attends and stays together as a team, but the swimmers will be competing as individuals against other individuals. Usually the top three positions in events receive an award.
Why different Meet Levels?

A Level 1 meet will have minimum qualifying times and is broadly aimed at swimmers aiming for National Qualifying Times (NQTs).
Level 2 meets have minimum qualifying times and upper limit times; these are aimed at those looking for good Regional qualifying times (QTs).
Level 3 meets typically have upper limit QTs (swimmers may not enter if their times are faster than the specified QTs) aimed at Regional and Club swimmers, but also certain meets designed to encourage swimmers with no times and who are starting out in their swimming career.
What is short course/long course?

Short Course (SC) – a 25m pool
Long Course (LC) – a 50m pool

What does QT, CT, UCT, NT all mean?

Qualifying Time (QT) – the time that must be achieved to enter the event in a gala.
If the gala also has Consideration Times (CT) these are usually slower than the QT and swimmers may enter the gala.
The meet programme however will firstly be selected from the swimmers who have achieved the QT for an event. Only if there are then places available will swimmers with a CT be entered to the event.
For example – 3 swimmers who are 13 on the date of the gala
Swimmer A has a PB for 100 Freestyle of 1:04.05
Swimmer B has a PB for 100 Freestyle of 1:10.21
Swimmer C has a PB for 100 Freestyle of 1:15.85
If in a gala pack for 100 Freestyle the Qualifying Time (QT) is 1:07.23 for 13 year olds but the organisers have also set a Consideration Time (CT) of 1:11.05 then swimmers A & B above can enter but swimmer C may not as they have achieved neither the QT or the CT. Swimmer B may have his entry accepted to the gala but only after all those swimmers who have entered the event with a QT have been given places.
Upper Cut Off times (UCT) are usually found in level 2/3/4 galas. Where UCTs are published swimmers may enter where their PB for the event is equal to or slower than the published UCT. If their time is faster than the UCT then their entry will not be accepted.
Galas which permit No Times (NTs) are the first step in competitive swimming for new entrants. These are usually Level 4 meets and will allow entries for swimmers who do not have any qualifying times, there are also usually UCTs associated with NT galas.
Time Conversions

Some meets require times achieved in a 25m (short course) pool and others in a 50m (long course) pool. There are tools available to convert between the two, in the event that the swimmer has only the “wrong” type of time.
Traditional comparative performance tables are accessible on the British Swimming website. There are also online conversion tools on pullbuoy.co.uk & swimmingworldmagazine.com, although their results do vary and should be taken as a guide only.
Age Groups

Most competitions will organise swimmers into age groups for awards. Sometimes these are single year age groups, sometimes double, with awards presented for the top swimmers in each event in each age group. Heats can be spearheaded according to entry time, irrespective of age.
UK competitions run on a system called “Age on Day”, which means that the age group a swimmer enters is their age on the final day of competition. If a competition runs over several weekends, then the age is on the last day of the whole competition.

In addition to individual age groups, competitions may also be split into:
Age is up to 14 for girls and boys.
Youth is from these ages to 17 for females and 18 for males
Senior is all ages above these.

Meet Programmes – are available for sale at the venue, listing all swimmers in each event in order of seed time, and providing general information about the event. They are very useful if only to work out when your child is likely to be swimming and schedule comfort breaks and trips to the café accordingly!

Results – There is usually some form of electronic timing in use at meets. Timekeepers provide backup in the event that the system is not operating. The results of each race will be shown on the display board, but they have to be ratified by the referee and declared so by the announcer before they are deemed “official”. There may be disqualifications for the infringement of technical or stroke rules, or the electronic timing may not have been operating correctly (e.g. a swimmer may not have touched the pad hard enough to trigger it).
Official results are usually posted on the walls after the events and are often available on the host club/organisation’s website via Live results Meet Mobile.
National Rankings
All the results from licensed meets are forwarded to British Swimming which maintains the ASA National Rankings Database. This can be accessed on the British Swimming website via the link on the MEMBERS page.
Each swimmer in all of the age groups, for each stroke and distance, for long course and short course are listed.
Why does the Club Champs have ages at the end of the year?

It was always done this way historically as The Champs never fell on the same date & in the past the dates have varied by several months (between September and November).
It is a point which is discussed regularly as there are always parents who will feel it is unfair.
Ages are set at end of year for consistency so that swimmers don’t swim the same age group for two years. This has always been deemed the fairest and most consistent way

Attending a Gala/Meet

Make sure that you arrive for the coach or at the pool in plenty of time.
Report to the team manager on arrival

Poolside Rules

• Warm up in your lane as instructed, keeping to the same direction as others in the lane and alongside to those in the next lane. DO NOT dive in, a swivel entry is fine. After the warm up dry yourself and wrap up to keep warm.

• Keep quiet at the start of each race, then cheer and give your team as much support as possible.

• Keep the edge of the swimming pool clear so that officials can walk up and down freely.

• Do not wander about during a gala. If you must go anywhere inform your team manager first.

• No eating during the gala.

• You will be called for your race approximately two events beforehand (usually by an appointed club volunteer), and given your race instructions. If you don’t understand please ask for more details.

• At the start of the race remember which stroke you are swimming and which turn/s if any.

• On finishing the race stay in the water until instructed to get out. For team relays you must get out of the pool as soon as you have swum your stroke, but remember that you must not impede a swimmer from another lane when leaving the pool.

• Stay on poolside with the team until the gala is finished so you can fill in for anyone who may fall ill or be injured, and also to support the rest of the team.

• At the end of the gala check that you have everything before leaving poolside, and again in the changing rooms.