Competitive Swimming - Meets / galas


A "Meet" is a swimming gala where swimmers compete against swimmers from other clubs, and aim to improve their skills and swimming times! Meets are different to club galas as you are not swimming as part of a team but as individuals under the Club’s name.

Open Meets provide the opportunity to see how a swimmer rates against other swimmers, potentially from a much larger range of competitors. Open Meets are hosted by many swimming clubs and, as the name would suggest, are ‘open’ to all swimmers who qualify.  Open meets are also categorised into ‘licensed’ and ‘unlicensed.' This distinction refers to whether the meet has a licence from the Swim England, who impose certain conditions for a meet to be licensed such as the requirement for officials to be qualified.  Details vary depending on whether it is ‘unlicensed’ in which case there are normally no qualifying times – but the times achieved in the meet then aren’t entered onto the Swim England Rankings, which is important for those seeking to attain County Championship qualifying times.

Licensed meets fall into 4 classes:

  • Level 1 meets will expect entry times to be converted to an equivalent 50 m pool time if set in a 25 m pool.  Times recorded can be used as entry times for National & Regional Championships. Qualifying times will be used.
  • Level 2 meets are held in 25m pools, so you need provide times for 25 m (you may need to convert from 50 m pool times). Times recorded can be used as entry times for National & Regional Championships. Qualifying times will be used.
  • Level 3 meets can be held in 25 m or 50 m pools. Times recorded can be used for County or District qualification (and Level 1 & 2 meets). Qualifying times will be used plus ‘upper limit’ times (‘not faster than’).
  • Level 4 meets are relatively uncommon, and have been redefined for 2012 by the ASA to be for just one club entry (e.g. club championships,or invitational meets where up to 8 clubs are invited).

The qualifying times for licensed meets reflect the different standards (fast for Level 1 and 2, not so fast for Level 3), and Level 3 meets will also have a ‘not faster’ than time.  Some meets will issue ‘speeding tickets’ if you still manage to exceed the ‘not faster than’ time set. 

Depending on your squad you will be invited by e-mail to attend different levels of meets. You then need to talk to you coach to discuss which races you should consider entering. There is a fee payable to the hosting club for each race entered. Open meets are not compulsory, but give swimmers an opportunity to race any stroke and distance, (taking into account the coach’s advice) and get a time for that race.

Open meets can last a full day, a weekend, or even longer (may include a Friday night). Each day is divided into 2 or 3 sessions, with a warm-up at the beginning of each session. Each session will consist of a number of events.

Meets held in 50m pools are usually called ‘Long Course' (LC) meets, and 25m pools ‘Short Course’ (SC) meets.

County Championships

Oxford and North Buckinghamshire’s (ONB) Country Championships are held in early Spring each year.  These Championships are run in the same way as open meets, but are only open to swimmers living in Oxford and North Buckinghamshire. To come first in an event means on that day you are the best in the County. By entering the ONB County Championships and designated open meets you have the chance of obtaining the qualifying times needed to enter the ASA South East Regional Championship and the ASA National Championships. These qualifying times can be found below, or by talking to your coach.

County Champs Provisional Qualifying Times 2024

Club Championships

Our Club Championships are an annual event (in the Autumn) which replace the normal (Thursday) training session for the four weeks that they run for. The Club Championships give our new swimmers the opportunity to experience competition in a familiar environment; gives all swimmers the chance to improve on their Personal Best, & of course all the club’s trophies are up for grabs for the fastest swimmers in the different age categories. Only Club members participate.  Swimmers can enter as many or as few races as they like.


Banbury Swimming Club is a member of the Chiltern League.  Unlike Open Meets, we compete as a team in the league and if you are selected for a team event, members are expected to represent the club.  For young or new swimmers these galas offer an excellent opportunity to experience a external competition environment.

Log books

Every time you swim in a competition it is a good idea to write down the date, stroke, distance, time and whether it was a PB in your log book. This is useful as if you wish to enter open meets you will need to submit times for each race entered.