Stirling Swimming Club

General Competition Guidance

Stirling Swimming is a competitive swimming club and swimmers are actively encouraged to participate in appropriate galas throughout the year. There are different levels of meet available to swimmers depending on their age and experience. Our coaching team select the meets we will attend through the season and invites to participate are sent out via Team Unify.   

Competitive swimming is categorised by both stroke (breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle) and distance (usually 50m, 100m, 200m, although freestyle also has 400m, 800m and 1500m).  Competitions are either held in a 25m pool (Short Course (SC) Competition) or 50m pool (Long Course (LC) Competition).  There are also Medley events that comprise all 4 strokes (fly, back, breast, free) and is run as 100 (SC only), 200 and 400m events. 

The main classification of meets are categorised below:

Club Time Trials/Grand Prix

These are informal sessions run internally by the club and they are particularly important to junior squads as this is one of the few instances where swims will be guaranteed regardless of age, experience, or ability.  It is also highly unlikely that swimmers will be disqualified in these events, but instead they may receive useful feedback on any technical issues with starts, turns and stroke technique as they gain valuable race experience.  Times from these events may also be used as guide times for entry into externally run meets that do not require accredited times. 

Club Championships

The Club holds its club championships once per year normally in November/December.  The Club Championships are open to all competitive swimming members of the club.  Swimmers are encouraged to enter all events in all strokes and take an active part in the championships.  Medals are awarded to top 1-3 places in each event for specific age groups and there are additional awards for top boy/girl in each age category. 

Novice Meets / Unaccredited Meets

In a similar fashion to our own time trials/grand prix events, these types of meets are predominantly aimed at junior swimmers, but instead of being internally run for their own club the host club opens the meet up for other clubs to enter.  These meets are normally conducted under level 3 or 4 licence conditions which indicates that swimmer disqualification is less likely for technical infraction and swimmers should receive feedback from the technical officials where there have been errors in technique. Level 3 and 4 meets are not granted accreditation which means that the results do not get passed to British rankings as official times. 

As these meets are open to more than one club there is the possibility that events may be oversubscribed (too many entrants for events).  Meet hosts need to follow strict timings for all sessions and so if events are oversubscribed, they need to remove swimmers from the event – this is usually referred to as scratched.  This can be very frustrating to young swimmers, and their parents/guardians, when they have been looking forward to competing.  This is unfortunately an experience that all competitive swimmers will have at some stage. 

When a meet is oversubscribed, it is entirely up to the meet organisers how they decide who gets to swim, though this will usually be detailed within the meet information provided by the hosts. Scratches are usually made based on a swimmer’s entry time and in most cases, the swimmers with the slowest entry time, or no entry time (NT), will be rejected and not get the opportunity to swim. However, occasionally, at this level the cut-offs are performed from the fastest entry times to ensure that swimmers with slower times and no times get the opportunity to compete and improve or gain first gala experiences.

Forth Valley Junior League

The Forth Valley Junior League (FVJL) is an annual junior swimming league a with swimmers competing in a variety of team relays and individual events. This is an excellent opportunity for new and inexperienced swimmers to try out competitions for the first time. There are 12 member clubs involved from across the Forth Valley, with 6 heats held throughout the year. Each of the heats is held at Xcite, Bathgate and has two sessions on the same day with 6 clubs taking part in each session. Points are won at each heat and will determine the clubs placing in finals in December with the top 6 clubs competing in the A final and the other 6 clubs in the B final. Each of the member clubs must host/run one of the 12 sessions throughout the year.  Coaches will check availability with our junior swimmers to select the teams ahead of heats. 

Graded Meets

These meets are developmental events to allow swimmers an intermediate step between early competition and district/national events.  Graded meets are usually run as level 2 accredited meets and so results are submitted to British rankings.  At this level, disqualifications will occur for technical infractions on stroke technique, starts and turns and so are suited to swimmers who are able to perform all four strokes confidently over the appropriate distances. However, these are ideal meets for developing swimmers as there are consideration times set which swimmers must be slower than to enter, preventing entry to the top-level swimmers.

There are also ‘too fast’ cut off times for each age group in relation to the results at the meet and any swimmer exceeding these times is given a ‘too fast’ award.  Medals are then awarded to the fastest swimmers within each age group below the cut-off time for each event. 

Open and Age Group Meets

Open meets are open to anyone to enter providing they meet entry consideration times.  They can be either age banded or open to all ages.  Normally run as either Level 1 or Level 2 accredited meets, disqualifications will occur for technical infraction and these meets are best suited to more experienced swimmers who are able to compete confidently in all distances. Medals are normally awarded to the fastest swimmers in each age band.  Some events are heat declared winners (HDW) and others may have heats and finals.

District Championships

Scottish Amateur Swimming Association (SASA) is divided into four districts and Stirling compete within West District together with around 50 other affiliated clubs.  West District host several meets through the competitive calendar to cover all events in both LC and SC pools.  These meets are targeted for our more experienced swimmers as there are usually minimum consideration times that need to be faster than for entry.  District meets normally have a minimum entry age of 11 and this is defined as age as end of year (31st Dec) rather than age on last day of competition for other types of meet mentioned above. 

National Championships / International Meets (hosted by Scottish Clubs)

These meets are at the very top end of domestic meets available to competitive swimmers. They are usually Level 1 accredited meets and may have both consideration times (CT) and qualification times (QT).  The times used for entry purposes for these meet are nearly always requested to be from results achieved at accredited meets (level 1 or 2 licence).  Where there are QT’s listed for a meet an entry faster than or equal to this time will be automatically accepted with no risk of being scratched.  There are separate Age Group Championships and Open Championships at this level.


Information on some of the meets available for the club to enter can be obtained from

West District Website is