Introduction to Competitive Swimming
As a swimmer progresses through the club structure, then more of the following information is relevant. The most important thing for newcomers to grasp is that it is vital to compete and get times in a variety of events.
There are many different levels of competition, which when you are new to the club or first reach competing age can all seem quite confusing. This guide is designed to provide an introduction to galas you may come across.
Most swimming galas require competitors to be 9 years of age by the last day of the gala. There are exceptions to this; internal galas such as time trials and club championships are open to all swimmers who are able to complete the events. There are also sometimes galas specifically open to 8 year-olds.
Beverley Barracudas SC is a competitive swimming club and we encourage children to compete as we believe it is one of the key ways to help swimmers to become faster and better. It’s essential that swimmers make every effort to compete for several reasons:
- It gives swimmers experience of competition and putting their skills into practice.
- It provides swimmers with their times which are a clear marker of how they are progressing.
- It provides coaches with vital information to enable them to assist the swimmers to set goals and targets to work towards.
- It gives swimmers a sense of achievement and ability to test themselves.
- It shows the coaches how swimmers cope with a competitive environment.
- It assists with promotion through the club’s group structure.
- To achieve qualifying times for other galas.
- A chance to learn from watching other swimmers.
- A chance to meet new people and have FUN!
The competition programme is developed by the coaching/teaching team with the support of the Gala Secretary. We always try to publish this as early as possible to allow parents to plan in advance for the competitions their swimmer is involved in.
The programme is reviewed regularly throughout the season to ensure we are meeting the needs of all of our swimmers regardless of age or ability. It is not good practice for swimmers to compete every weekend and we will always try to ensure the competition programme supports this principle.
Our philosophy and policy for competing:
- Winning medals and trophies is not always the main goal. Even if a swimmer finishes first, but has swum poorly in comparison to past performances, they will be encouraged to do better. A swimmer’s improvement is the primary objective.
- All the coaches teach the swimmers to behave appropriately whether the swimmer has a good or bad swim. Respect for officials, congratulations to other competitors, encouragement to team-mates, determined effort and mature attitudes are examples of behaviours praised by the coaches.
- Coaches will offer positive feedback of a swimmer’s performance. They will offer coaching tips to further improve a swimmer’s performance.
- Warm up’s and swim downs are an essential part of gala attendance, swimmers must always follow the coach’s direction with regards to these.
- Swimmers must always attend galas prepared and with the correct clothing and equipment.
- Swimmers must always comply with the Club’s Code of Conduct.
Entering Competitions and Events
The Competition Programme indicates which squads should be entering which galas. If you think that your swimmer should be entered for a gala then please speak to the squad coach/teacher.
When a competition becomes available the information is entered into the club’s computerised system. From here the Competition Secretary produces a report for each squad which shows what swims each swimmer is eligible to enter.
Regional Championships etc.
All swims must be paid for at the time of entering the competition via the squad reps.
Swimmers must not enter galas that the club are not attending and must not enter any events which have not been authorised by the coach/teacher. This includes poolside or late entries.
Entries will only be accepted from swimmers who are registered as category 2 with the ASA, and have passed their competitive start award.
If parents or swimmers have any queries these must be directed to the coach/teacher.
Levels of competitions
Time trials – The first event that most of our swimmers will enter will be a time trial held only for Barracudas Swimmers. Time trials are scheduled into the competition programme as and when they are needed. Swimmers are grouped by ability, not age, so your child may be swimming against someone much taller. Don’t worry about this as it’s intentional.
Time trials are a great opportunity for swimmers to compete in events they haven’t done before so they get a time which can then be used for future gala entries.
Open Galas – any swimmer can swim in an open gala with the majority of swimmers entering these galas looking to achieve a county, regional or national qualifying time. There are various levels of open galas:
- Level 1 – aimed at swimmers looking to achieve National Qualifying Times. These require a qualifying time before entering and are Long Course galas (take place in a 50m pool)
- Level 2 – aimed at swimmers looking to achieve National Qualifying Times. These galas require a qualifying time before entering and are Short Course galas (take place in a 25m pool)
- Level 3 – aimed at swimmers looking to achieve Regional Qualifying Times. Requires a qualifying time to be achieved before entering.
- Level 4 – A gala where a swimmer can achieve a County Qualifying time or times for level 3 galas