The training squads are geared towards competitive swimming and we enter or hold a number of competitions throughout the year. One thing that often confuses the parents of young new members is the minimum age rule. This means that swimmers must have reached the age of 9 on the date of the competition in order to enter an individual event in an externally run event. This is an ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) rule NOT just a club rule. Swimmers of ANY age may enter internally run competitions and we run a number of these throughout the year. Please refer to the ASA web site for more information.
These are the main types of competition:
Internal Competitions: The main Club Championships are usually held in the autumn over three evenings and all club members are encouraged to take part. In addition two further rounds are held for the 400m and the 800m/1500m which is mainly for Challengers and above. For swimmers nine and over this is an ideal opportunity to gain county qualifying times for the County Championships which take place early in the following year. In addition we hold a 50m sprint and novice gala which is usually held in July. These meets are licensed at Level 4.
Open meets: These are held by individual clubs and they are Licensed by the ASA. Level 1 and 2 are the highest grades, Level 1 meets are held in a 50m pool, Level 2 in a 25m pool. Level 3 meets will have maximum (‘not faster than’) entry times for each event. In L1 and L2 meets there will be a minimum entry time. Times achieved at L1 and L2 meets can be used as an entry time for the National championships. Level 4 meets are internal meets and the times can be used for entry to L1, L2 and county championships.
The Newbury Open Meet is usually held in November at Northcroft Leisure Centre. There are maximum (not faster than) times for this event which correspond approximately to Regional qualifying times. It is licensed level 3.
Age group Championships: There are three basic levels namely: County, Regional (South East Region), National. Qualifying times are required to enter each of these events. County championships are usually held in the spring and qualifying times can be downloaded from the Berks and South Bucks web site. All of A squad plus a number from B squad and Challengers reach the level to enter the county championships each year. Times achieved at county championships can be used as entry times for Regional and National Championships. Newbury are in the South East Region and these Regional Championships are usually held over May/June. Qualifying times (which are regularly reviewed) are somewhere between County and National qualifying times. The majority of swimmers in A squad have reached Regional standard plus a few from B1 squad. Times achieved at these championships can be used as a qualifying time for the National Championships. The National age group and Youth championships are held in the summer, usually at end of July to the beginning of August. If you achieve the qualifying time to enter the Nationals you are probably in the top 30 or 40 in the country – or at least very close. Over the last few years Newbury has sent between 1 and 6 swimmers up to the Nationals each year. During that time we have had a national champion, two bronze medallists and a number of final placings.
Leagues – We are currently entered in The Thames Valley Junior League (12 and under) and The Arena National league (Everyone) with the youngest age group being 11 and under. In league galas the emphasis is on team rather than individual performance although there is obviously a link between the two. Teams are picked by the coaches and for both the National and The Thames Valley league the basic aim is to pick the best team possible. Swimmers are informed well in advance of the event and the dates for these events are published in Diary of Events. So if you are picked please make every effort to attend.
ASA/Competitive Start Awards – This award is given to swimmers who have demonstrated that they are capable of safely executing a racing dive from starting blocks at the shallow end of the pool. All swimmers are expected to have achieved this level by the time they enter the Challengers squad. Sessions are held every month on Friday morning to teach and assess this award, see your squad rep for details.
Internal Competitions and Monthly Time Trials and testing are important, particularly if you have not swum in galas before. It enables you (and us) to see the effect of all that training and above all we need your time. We choose teams on the basis of recorded times so if we don’t have your up to-date time you are unlikely to be chosen for league galas – NO TIME…NO SWIM!