GASC – Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions please do send these in by email – [email protected]

Q. Is there a club website?

The club has its own website. This provides you with information on the club committee, training times, PB times and various events that are currently being organised. The club also have a Facebook account where information is updated regularly.

Q. Do I have to be a good swimmer to join the club?

This depends on what age you are. We are a competitive swimming club and as you move up the squads more is expected of you. Children can join at age 5 years and can learn to swim with the club. Once you have learned to swim you move up into a squad. Swimmers in squads have different requirements. 

Q. What are the joining costs?

Club membership is due each October. The annual fee currently is:

  • £40  For a single member or the first member of the same family

  • £30  For the second member of the same family

  • £20  For the third member of the same family.

Q. What is the SASA membership?

SASA membership is due each February. The cost of this is currently £43 per swimmer. This fee applies to all swimmers and is an Insurance Fee.

Q. How do I pay?

You need to pay membership at the start of October and SASA fees in February. Training fees should be paid by monthly standing order.
Any queries can be directed to the Club Treasurer on [email protected].

Q. What equipment will I need?

To get the most out of swimming, swimmers in our teaching groups need:

  • Swimming costume

  • Swimming hat

  • Goggles

  • Towel

Swimmers in our squads will need (in addition to the above):

  • Drinks bottle

  • Short blade training fins (short flippers)

  • Kick board

  • Pull buoy

  • Hand paddles

  • Snorkle

Q. When do swimmers move between squads?

This usually throughout the year and depends on several things: age, development, success in competition, attitude, attendance, commitment to training and at competition, and the availability of places in other squads.

Q. What swimming kit do you recommend?

Once your children become club swimmers and are in the water more than twice a week you need to think about what they are wearing in the water.

For training

They will probably have worn a LYCRA suit for swimming lessons which will have lasted perhaps 9 to 12 months. LYCRA is very comfortable to wear, nice and stretchy and, for the girls, usually has very pretty patterns printed on it – the trouble is it degrades in chlorine so the more they swim the quicker the fabric will become see through.

For swimming training they need a good chlorine resistant suit or trunks, some of the more familiar brands are Speedo ENDURANCE or Maru PACER. This material will not degrade at all in chlorine, your children will probably grow out of it before it becomes worn. Leaving a chlorine resistant suit or trunks in the bottom of a swimming bag soaking wet for days on end will not harm the fabric, and you'll probably find this happens occassionally!

But do take note – chlorine resistant fabric doesn't stretch so it can't be worn tight, it must be comfortable. Go up a size from the existing suit/trunks and ensure the child is comfortable in it, particularly the girls, making sure they can put their arms up vertically and not feel the straps cutting their shoulders.

For competition

So they come to their first competition – this is when they will need something LYCRA to wear as it is faster in the water. They don't need to go into the top of the range racing suits that cost a hundred pounds and upwards, all they need is something tight fitting to keep the water out and make them feel they can go faster – for the boys, a pair of lycra jammers, for the girls a lycra suit. If these are kept solely for competitions they should last a year. Lycra stretches so if they go down a size it will still be tight after it has stretched.

A range of costumes are available to order at our club shop.


We have a range of goggles at the club shop. It is important that they sit comfortably on the bone around the eye rather than in the eye socket (and they look good!). Proper racing goggles are much smaller and many young swimmers will find them very uncomfortable until they have been wearing goggles for 3 or 4 years.

For the rest of the equipment advice should be sought from the club coach as to which kickboard/pull buoy/hand paddles/fins etc. are generally used by the club. Once they start collecting the necessary equipment a mesh sack to keep it all in is a good investment – this will stop the equipment going mouldy as it allows it to dry after each session.

Q. Can I buy equipment through the club?

Yes, you can buy a variety of swim wear and accessories such as costumes, hats, sweatshirts, club kit bags and so on through the club shop, which is normally open on a Wednesday evening 6–8pm.

Q. What are the club colours?

Club colours are red and black.



Q. What does Gala Terminology mean?

Most galas that the swimmers enter are chosen by the coaches. These gala’s will be found on Team Unify and displayed in a folder on club night at our club desk. Prices for each gala are set by the club hosting the gala and swims are paid for on an individual basis.

There are different types of galas that the swimmers can be entered for.

Q. What does age on 31st December mean?

Most galas are run for swimmers of different age groups such as Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Open. If a gala is run on an 'age on 31st December' basis, it refers to how old the swimmer must be on the 31st December in the year of competition. It does not necessarily mean the age of the swimmer on the day of the competition. Thus under 12 on 31st December 2017, means no older than 11 on that date and so the swimmer must be born in or after 2006. Similarly, Under 11 on 31st December 2077 means no older than 10 and so the swimmer must be born in 2007 or later. Some events are 'age on the day' and this is self explanatory.

Q. What does U12, U14, U16, Open mean?

Most galas are run for swimmers of different age groups such as Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Open though some galas refer to 11/U (11& Under), 13/U (13&Under) 15/U (15&Under) and Open. They all mean the same thing.

Q. How are teams selected for galas?

Most galas have a relay at the end of the session. Swimmers are chosen by the coaches to enter the relay event. (The club pay for swimmers to enter the relay).

Q. How do I find out what times I have achieved?

After each gala or club event, individual times and positions of each swimmer will be displayed on the Swim Scotland website. Times are also updated on the club website. These times usually appear 3 to 4 days after the gala.

Q. What is a PB?

PB stands for Personal Best. It is the best time an individual has achieved for a particular stroke at a given distance. The club does its best to record swimmers times and PBs though swimmers are encouraged to keep a log book if they can.

Please remember that swimmers cannot get PBs every time they swim and sometimes they achieve significant PBs one week which they might not be beat for several competitions. This can be down to numerous things but for all swimmers there are troughs and plateaus as well as peaks and certainly the former should not be viewed as a lack of effort either in competition or training.

Some of the more experienced swimmers may be told that the expectation at a certain Meet is PB plus 2%. So if a PB was 50 seconds for a swimmer this would mean the target time is 51 seconds i.e. 102% of the existing PB. This does not mean that the swimmer should try any less hard nor would the coach expect them to but because for instance they might be in heavy training for another competition a few weeks hence or at a certain point in their training cycle and are therefore tired the coach may set what he considers a more realistic target for the swimmers. Naturally if they gain PBs at that meet everyone is delighted.

Q. What do you mean by a logbook?

Some swimmers find it useful to keep individual logbooks to record their own times. This helps swimmers maintain a record of individual progress; encourages personal achievement.

You can keep these in a diary or on a computer spreadsheet. Sometimes it is a good idea to keep a note of your training sessions and what sets you made to record your improvement. Ask your coach!

Q. What competitions can I enter?

The Fife leagues run four times per year and all squad swimmers who achieve target times are entered into these events. All swimmers are expected to enter our twice yearly club championships. This is the opportunity for you to compete with your team mates and also achieve an official time for other events you may enter. These times will be very important, as when entering any gala you will be asked to submit times for each event, the club championships are the starting block to achieve your first entry times to build on. Your coach will advise you on events you should enter according to your age and ability.

We would advise you to record and update your times after you swim at a gala. Every gala will sort swimmers based on their entry time. Entering an up to date time will place you in a more competitive heat for your ability.

Novice Galas

These are designed for swimmers new to competition. The criteria is usually that swimmers enter on the basis that either there is a time restriction or they have not been placed first in a swimming gala this is to give all new swimmers the opportunity of experience in competition with similar swimmers and obtaining times to be used in future galas.

Open Galas

Many clubs, hold an open gala. Any swimmer can swim in an open gala, the majority of swimmers that enter these meets are looking to achieve a district/national time, before entering check that you meet:

a) the age requirement;

b) the qualifying time for the events you wish to enter.

There are various levels of galas aimed at different levels of swimmer. This can be indicated by the designated level if the gala is licensed and the qualifying or consideration times. In general:

Level 1 – National standard (requires qualifying times). Aimed at swimmers wanting National qualifying times.

Level 2 – Regional standard (requires qualifying times). Aimed at swimmers wanting Regional qualifying times.

Level 3 – County standard (requires qualifying times and usually has upper limit times).

There are also Level 4 and Grade B & C galas, which have upper limit times.

Qualifying times mean you have to have swum faster than this time to apply for entry in that event. You cannot enter an event if your time is faster than the upper limit time. Entry times are required to enter open meets.

Open Meets have different types of events from Sprint (50m and 100m events) to 200m, and 400m events, and at some 800m and 1500m. The youngest age group at these is 9 years (as laid down by the ASA), but some open meets start at 11yrs and under, depending on who the host club is aiming the Open meet at. Age is as at the date of the gala.

Graded Open Galas – Age 9+

The difference in a graded open gala and the above, is that graded opens are aimed at swimmers who have not achieved national times There will be an upper time limit, usually a district time, should a swimmer exceed this time they will I be given a speeding ticket!!

Time Trials

This type of gala is designed to enable swimmers to race against swimmers of similar ability. Swimmers swim in either a A, B or C banded race.

Q. What does 'licensed meet' mean?

Licensed meets are Open meets which have been sanctioned by the SASA as being either a Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4 meet. To be licensed the meet organisers have to meet certain criteria imposed by SASA.

The most obvious benefit of licensing is that all times recorded will be shown in the National Rankings. Consequently if a swimmer needs to prove a time for entry into a certain meet he/she can do so by reference to the National Rankings which is open to everyone to see. This is particularly important for qualification into Regional or National Events where qualification can only be achieved at certain levels of meet eg. for Regional events only times at Levels 1, 2 or 3 meets are acceptable.

The criteria include the following:

  • Pools used for licensed meets should be a minimum of 25 metres long.

  • Electronic timing must be used for meets at level 1, 2 and 3.

  • Anti-turbulence lane lines, starting blocks and turning flags must be provided.

  • Adequate provision must be made for swimmers to warm up.

  • Ages shall be at the last day of the meet/series of meets.

  • A maximum of 7½ hours swimming can take place in any competition day.

  • The minimum requirements for officials at each level of meet.

So far as the events be included in any Licensed meet are concerned 100m events for 9 year old swimmers are not permitted, except 4x25m Individual Medley.

Level 1 and 2 meets must have a minimum set of qualifying standards which is set down by the ASA. No upper limit time is required. Level 1 and 2 meets are generally aimed the higher level of swimmer such as National and Regional qualifiers.

Level 3 meets require upper limit times and qualifying times while in Level 4 meets upper limit times are required (except for Club Championships) and no lower qualifying time is required. Level 3 meets can attract a wide spectrum of swimmers. The upper limits are usually set at or about the national qualifying time for each age and event so that faster swimmers are generally excluded. The qualifying times can vary widely, which can enable inexperienced swimmers to compete. Level 4 meets are intended for either Novice events or Club Championships to enable those meets or championships to proceed as Licensed events with the minimum of red tape.

Level 1 Meets must be held in a 50m pool and must include at least one distance event of 400m or over in each age group and sex. Entries are not acceptable on a first come-first served basis. Level 2 meets must be held in a 25m pool. Level 3 meets can either be in a 25m or 50m pool and Level 4 must be in a minimum of 25m pool.

Q. What times can I use for entry into Open meets?

When filling in a form to enter an Open meet it is important to be careful to ensure that the time entered is a valid time. The only time that is acceptable for most Meets is an official time. This can either be a time recorded at a Licensed meet, which is recorded in the National Rankings or a time recorded by the official timekeeper at an unlicensed meet such as a team gala. After most team galas the club receives a result sheet and these times can therefore be validated. Sometimes especially in Novice events it may be acceptable to enter an estimated time particularly if a swimmer has no previous time for that event, but this is only rarely the case and should be done in full consultation with swimmer’s Squad Coach.

Times recorded by parents in the stands or even by the coaches on poolside are not official times. Only the official timekeeper can see when exactly a touch has been made. Relay splits cannot be used as entry times except the lead off legs of a freestyle or medley relay. Please remember that putting in a time faster than a swimmer’s PB is unlikely to help a swimmer unless this has been specifically agreed by the coaches where for instance a swimmer has not swum an event for some time and other circumstances indicate that he or she is capable of going significantly faster.

The Entry Secretary will enter the times for all entries being made by the club.

Q. What does 'short course' mean?

Events held in a 25m pool.

Q. My name is on a result list but has DQ by the side, what does this mean?

Unfortunately many competitive swimmers are DQ'd sometimes, this means disqualified. At the end of a pool will be time keepers, recording a final time achieved by the swimmer, by the side of the pool walking up and down are judges. If a judge feels that the swimmer has not touched properly performed a stroke incorrectly or false start ie. entered the water before the starter gun/whistle this will result in a DQ.

The club results reports note cases where a swimmer has been disqualified and, where possible, includes details of the reason for disqualification. The fact of disqualification is usually indicated on results pages by annotating the result with 'DQ' or with a more specific disqualification code.

If a swimmer is disqualified then he will be given no time on the results. Any time recorded by the timekeeper will not be treated as an official time and cannot be used as a qualifying time for any event. This a bit akin to goal in football being disallowed for offside in that although the ball crossed the line no goal is counted in the actual score.

Q. Why does the official time on the results sheet differ from that recorded by the timekeeper?

At a meet where there is no electronic timing (AOE) such as the Club Championships the only official times are those decided on by the referee having first considered the time recorded by the timekeepers. The placing recorded by the finish judges and the referee and approved by the referee take precedence over the manual times of the timekeepers and as a result it may be necessary to adjust the times to fit in with the placings. Often one will see two or more swimmers with official times which are identical but this does not (unless the result sheet specifically states) mean that the swimmers finished tied with the same time. It merely means that the manual times recorded by the timekeeper showed the swimmer who finished ahead of the other as having a slower time – so in order to make sense of the placing the difference between the times is averaged so that the faster swimmer will be placed ahead of the slower swimmer albeit with same time.

Q. What types of officials are there?

There are 5 basic levels of qualification for a technical swimming official:

  • Timekeeper: Competent with a stop watch and able to act as a Chief Timekeeper at an event.

  • Judge: Knows the laws of the various strokes and is able to place the finishing order of an event.

  • Starter: Nice loud clear voice with the ability to settle the swimmers and start them fairly.

  • Race Results: Knows how to determine the result of a race using electronic timing. Qualified to act as a Deputy Referee.

  • Referee: Responsible for running the event safely and fairly.

There are also other 'non-technical' officials such as recorders and announcers. These do not require any particular qualification, but are still vital for the successful running of an event and include:

  • Announcer: Reads out safety announcements prior to gala and theen announces each race and any other information as directed by the referee. Poolside job.

  • Recorders: Record results of each race from slips provided by judges. Normally two recorders required, with both writing down results and cross-checking them throughout the evening. Poolside job.

  • Runners: Throughout the gala getting results sheets from the recorders and displaying them in the gallery, behind the spectators.

  • Door Money and Programme: Man a table in reception area to give out programmes and collect fee per adult spectator. For some galas there may also be raffle tickets to sell.

  • Door Sign In/Registration: For certain galas, including Club Championships, swimmers need to register that they have turned up to swim. Minimum of two people required, one to sign in boy swimmers and another the girls.

  • Marshalls/Whips/Stewards: To make sure swimmers know what and when they are swimming (from lists provided) and guide them towards the starting blocks at the appropriate time.

As a club we cannot function without the support of the parents. During our club events it is important to have as many parents as possible assisting at these events. Please contact a member of the swimming club committee if you are able to help.