SwimMark Club

What are Galas?

Galas or "meets" are competitions open to swimmers at different levels of age and ability held under competition rules. There are different levels of Galas from Novice Galas, aimed at the younger competitors right the way up to more serious, national events.

There are other competitions such as the Arena League where you compete against a national leader board and represent the club - a great event to attend. See below for the explanation of the different type of galas or meets.

Galas or Meets are held in two types of pool length, Long Course or Short Course. Long course is 50 meters in length and Short course is 25 meters. Short Course Meets are the most common.   

What Galas do Long Eaton Swimming Club attend?

There are various Galas published throughout the year that the coaches will decide whether our swimmers will attend. They are normally local (in Derbyshire) but, some travel is usually involved and, the distance can vary with some Galas outside of the county.

We have our own internal competitions such as our Club Championships (Club Champs), we encourage all swimmers of age to attend these as its a great environment. It is also a chance to see what competitions are like if not attending formal or novice Galas outside of the club.

Do I need to attend a Gala?

No, there is no pressure to attend any Gala, we are a competitive club with a development programme but its the individuals choice. Most swimmers who attend Galas and competitions really enjoy them. We encourage Club Champs attendance but, its not mandatory!

There are lots of reasons for entering a gala:

  • To see how much progress you have made.
  • To put your training into practise.
  • To stretch yourselves to the limit.
  • To improve your Personal Best times.
  • To achieve qualifying times for other galas.
  • To compete.
  • To learn from watching other swimmers.
  • To represent Long Eaton Swimming Club.
  • To meet new people.
  • To have fun.
  • To win.

The Types of Galas explained

O Junior Galas - Aimed at swimmers from Development and Junior groups - ideal events to experience the competitive environment in a relaxed atmosphere.

O Club Championships - Aimed at all swimmers in the club usually held in July under Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) rules so a little more formal. Times achieved are entered onto the British Swimming database and can be used to enter other meets. 

O League Galas

               (Arena League)

 - As a club, we choose a team to represent Long Eaton and our team is mixed male and female from ages 9+. Its a high standard event made up of teams all over the UK, we currently swim in division 2 of the East Midlands. It consists of 2 rounds and a final, usually held towards the end of the year. If your child is selected, please make every effort to attend, it means alot to the club and team mates. There is travel involved.

               (Junior League) 

- Sometimes called the "Diddy League" - this is a more relaxed competition and as the name suggests, is aimed at the more junior members of the club. Still under ASA rules. it is also a club/ team event and good fun but not at the same level as the Arena League.

O Open Meets - These are competitions in which swimmers enter as an individual, they can be classed as Licensed or un-licensed.

There are different levels and the coaches will try and ensure a good mixture of open meets throughout the year for all levels of swimmers from the more relaxed to the more formal. There is usually a charge to per event to enter of between £5-£8.

The Galas/ Open Meets are swum in heats and seeded against times not age, so you could be in a race with someone much older but, your times are similar. It's great to win a heat but its not important, the focus is on the times. Spectating at open meets usually has a cost too.

O Licensed and un-licensed meets - Entries into un-licensed competitions do not usually have fast entry times, ideal starting point into competitive swimming. Children must be 9+ on the day of the gala to enter. Times achieved at these galas are not recorded on the British Swimming database. So the difference - in licensed meets, the times are recorded and usually have a minimum or maximum qualifying time to enter.

All times achieved at Licensed Meets (there are 4 levels) are included on the British Swimming Rankings database.

             Level 4 Meets - This is the lowest level of Licensed Meets and there are usually no minimum entry standards. Our Club Championships are registered at this level. Times from these meets can be used to enter many open galas and County Championships.

              Level 2 and 3 MeetsThese meets usually have a minimum and maximum entry standard which restricts the fastest swimmers from competing. Swimmers use these competitions to gain qualifying times for County & Regional competitions.

             Level 1 MeetsThese galas are held in Long Course pools and are aimed at the quicker swimmers who are trying to achieve qualification for National Championships. They usually have quite fast entry standards.

o County Championships – a Level 1 event

Long Eaton swimmers compete in the Derbyshire County Championships which are usually held in February over 2 full week-ends.

The qualifying standard is set to ensure that the best swimmers in the County compete against each other. The County times are available on the Derbyshire ASA website. Achieving a ‘County Time’ is a major milestone and something any swimmer should be proud of. This is the focus of the year for some swimmers.

o Regional Championships - a Level 1 event

Galas take place in May; they are always held in a Long Course pool and the qualifying times are quite tough to achieve. 

o National Championships

These championships are held in July and August in a Long Course pool. To qualify, swims recorded at Level 1 meets during the qualification period are ranked for each age group. The top 24 for each event will be invited to swim at British National Age Group Championships.

The best 20 swimmers from each home nation are invited to swim at the Home Nations National Championships. Next stop - the Olympics if your good enough!

Recording the Results

Maintaining good records such as the date, venue, distance, stroke, and time is important, helps with entry forms and a great way to monitor progress. As a club we try and enter the event times for each competitor onto the swimmer profile, accessible as a member. However, this is not always possible but, any best recorded time or "Personal Best" (PB) is available from licensed meets can be viewed on the ASA Swim England website, you will need your Swim England membership number or can search by surname. Alternatively, we have links to your Swim England information and other related websites here....


The MOST important things to remember:


O Winning is not everything

O Compete against your own time, not those around you.

O Eat, Sleep and Swim well!


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