Longford is part of the Connacht region of Swim Ireland and most of the galas are with the other clubs in this area. A gala offers the chance for swimmers of various ages to achieve an official time for their swim.

Seals and Minnows

You might want to take part in a Fun Gala. This is a gala that helps you to get used to swimming in an event. It may be just with Seals and Minnows or it may also be with other clubs in our region. Fun galas usually happen a couple of times a year.

If it is your first gala the first thing you have to do is just relax. Everyone else will look like they know what is going on but, like you, they only learnt by being in a gala.

Here’s a few hints about what will happen.

You will have already put your name down for the event that you want to swim. When you arrive you will get changed into your gear and have a practice swim before the gala starts. This is called the warm up.

The gala will then begin and you will wait at the end of the pool. One of the people will call your name and put you with the others who you will be swimming with. Girls and boys swim in different events. This is called call up. If you are not sure about what to do ask the person in charge or your coach.

You will then wait in line with the others in your group. This is called lining up. You will then be asked to start your event.

Swimming in a gala is a bit different to other sports. It is not about being first, second or third like in a running race. It is about helping you to get better at swimming while having fun. We usually don’t give out prizes as we know that everyone is trying to do their best.

You will see your time on the scoreboard next to your lane number. This is called getting a time. This becomes your official time when it is confirmed by Swim Ireland. As you go to more galas you may try to get a faster time so you can see the progress that you are making.


As you get used to competitions you need to get to know about A, B and C times. These can be seen on the page called Competition Standards. Please note that there are different times for boys and girls and for different age groups.

These are followed by Division 2 times, Connacht Age Group times, Irish Age Group times and so on until arriving at National Irish times, European times and International times.


  • Swimsuits x 2 (warm up and race)
  • Club Hat x 2 (in case one rips!)
  • Goggles x 2 (in case one snaps!)
  • Longford Swimming Club T-shirts/Sweat Shirt, Sweat Pants (you need to keep warm)
  • Water Bottle already filled (write your name on it!)
  • Towels x 2 (if there for a full day)
  • Flip flops or runners

Do not bring expensive phones, ipods etc.  There is usually a lot of people at a gala and you will spend a fair deal of time waiting for your swim making it difficult to keep track of your belongings at all times. Leaving bags with a family member or friend is advisable.

It is important to look after yourself by eating well and drinking lots of water. Please take tips from the section on Nutrition as you prepare for the gala.

Longford Swimming Club gala fees & gala attendance

We would like to draw your attention to the issue of gala attendance. Please note that where a child has entered a race in a gala, your prepaid €5 (paid by most members last September) contributes to the cost of the gala entry. Please be aware that the club pays the balance of the gala entry fee (where most races cost approx €7 per race), so for a child swimming 3 races at any one gala, the cost to the club would be €21-€5=€16. The norm in other swimming clubs is that the swimmer pays the full gala entry fee, but Longford Swimming Club is happy to bear this expense in the interest of promoting competition.

The issue being addressed here however, is that where a child does not attend, the club is still suffering the cost of the gala entry and this is becoming a substantial expense to the club. Once an entry has been made, the club is charged, and will not be refunded if the entry is cancelled before the race or on race day. Therefore, where a child who has entered a gala and does not attend or swim the races entered, for whatever reason, the parents/guardians will be liable to refund the gala entry cost to the club. This amount should be paid to the club before the next gala. There will be an exception where a child has a sick cert.

Please do not hesitate to contact a committee member should you have any queries in relation to this.