The Head Coach determines which events the Club will enter throughout the year, and this can vary from squad to squad. Details of upcoming events are in the ‘Events’ section of the website, along with details of which squad(s) the event is aimed at, and dates by which the entry forms must be submitted.

A summary of types of galas is listed below. Please note that there are very different age rules for each type of competition.

Internal competitions (Level 4 or Novice Galas) 

Maidenhead Marlins organise internal galas each year. They are promoted under Swim England Rules and licensed at Level 4. The results of these galas are uploaded to the Swim England Rankings Database. It is necessary to have your times recorded on this database in order to enter ‘external’ competitions. Therefore, it is very important for swimmers to enter these galas. Swimmers complete entry forms (from the 'Events' section of the website). Promoters' conditions (ie the competition rules) are available on the website. If in doubt as to which events to enter, seek advice from your coach. Minimum age for  level  4 competition  is 9.

External competitions

Open (or ‘Licensed’ Meets)

Open meets are attended by swimmers from many clubs. The host club ‘promotes’ the meet according to a set of rules, known as promoters conditions,which are licensed by Swim England to ensure that the correct rules are adhered to.  Currently, licences are graded at three levels: Swimmers select events they wish to do but must only enter events which they are eligible fo. If you need advice to help decide which events to enter the swimmer should dicuss this with their Squad Coach.

Level 1 licensed meets

This is the highest level Open Meet competiion.These are always Long Course (50m pool) and have very strict entry criteria with lower qualifying times. You have to be faster than the qualifying time in order to enter.

Typically, the youngest age group is 10

Level 2 licensed meets

These are the same as Level 1 meets, but held in Short Course (25m) pools.

Typically the youngest age group is 10

Level 3 licensed meets

These can be either long or short course and usually have both Upper and Lower qualifying times. The coaches select the most appropraite  level 3 galas for the club to attend and these are published on the Events Calendar on TeamUnify & Ondeck.Swimmers must enter these through MASC only & are strongly discouraged from independently entering other available competitions.

Typically the youngest age group is 9

League events (Thames Valley Junior and Arena League)

These are different from Licensed Meets.  No entry forms are required. The Head Coach picks the team according to the League rules. Team lists are posted on the Events page of the club website. Swimmers are expected to check this regularly and email confirmation of availability by the requested date. Please note that it is a club expectation to be available for all league galas for which you are selected.

Swimmers are advised on the night which events they have been selected for.

Thames Valley & Arena Junior League is for 9 – 12 year age groups. Arena League is 11/u, 13/u, 15/u and Open age groups. These are hugely exciting events and it is an honour to be asked to represent your Club!

Invitational Meets

The club is sometimes invited to attend ‘invitational’ meets at another club.  These are generally aimed and novice swimmers and give good opportunities to take part in a first competition and get over ‘first race nerves’ in a friendly environment. These are similar to league galas and are selected according to the rules laid out by the host club. The coaching team select the most appropriate swimmers and publish the team list in advance. Swimmers need to confirm availability by the closing date. Swimmers are advised on the night which events they have been selected for.


County Championships

Promoted by the Berks & South Buckinghamshire ASA

Full entry information and Promoters’ conditions can be seen at:

Relay selections will be made by coaches in line with League Galas

Regional Championships

Promoted by the South East Region

Full entry information and Promoters’ conditions can be seen at: www.southeastswimming

Relay selections will be made by coaches in line with League Galas

National Championships

Promoted by Swim England / British Swimmiing National Events Office

Full entry information and Promoters’ conditions can be seen at:

Relay selections will be made by coaches in line with League Galas

Entries to these competitions is online directly with the organising body

Entry forms

Entry to most meets is via the 'Events' section of the website.  All members of swimming clubs need to be registered with Swim England.  In order to be able to take part in licensed meets you will need to ensure that your swimmer has a Category 2 registration (this can be easily checked on the Swim England website).  

It is your responsibility to read the promoters’ conditions (there is usually a link to this on the Eventspage).  Otherwise, a quick internet search will take you to the host club where this can be found.  Once you  have checked which events you have qualified for and wish to enter, then fill in the entry form.  Please note the following:

Entries must be accompanied with full payment (including the admin fee)

All incorrect entries will be rejected


If a meet is very over-subscribed, some entries may be rejected (generally those closest to the qualifying times). If this happens, the meet entry co-ordinators will contact you(another reason why contact details are so important)and will obtain a refund of the event entry fee (but not the admin fee). No refunds are given if you decide to pull out of an event after acceptance.

Gala Information – what to expect

League events

Swimmers must arrive in time for warm up (or in time to catch the coach to the gala if applicable).

Coaches will inform the swimmers which races they are doing

Swimmers must wear Marlins swim hats

It is suggested that expensive race suits are not worn at this type of gala

A drink in a sports bottle is required

As the gala lasts only 1.5 – 2 hours, no food is necessary

All swimmers must stay on poolside until the results are announced

Open meets/championships

Always arrive early enough to park and be on poolside 15 minutes prior to warm up for the session.

Warm up is often the incorrect term for the session prior to the events starting. There is often a long gap between warm up and the first race of the session. However, it is an important opportunity for pool familiarisation and last minute race technique practice.

Warm up is different at each meet; therefore swimmers must check warm up arrangements prior to setting off for the gala. These can be found in the promoters’ conditions.

MASC purchases passes for their coaches to be on poolside to look after the swimmers. No parents are allowed on poolside during a competition.

At this type of meet, swimmers are put into heats based on entry times(this is why it is very important to enter the correct current personal best time on the entry form).

Swimmers must report to the designated marshalling area in good time for their heats. Swimmers should see their coach for last minute instructions on how to swim the race before going to marshalling.  Swimmers must also report to the coach for a post race debrief.

If you choose not to do an event, a withdrawal form must be submitted prior to the warm up time (in some cases fines for not withdrawing are levied).

Most events are Heat Declared Winner, although sometimes there are finals for either age groups or simply top 8 swimmers all ages.

Results are available usually 10 – 15 minutes after the completion of the final heat and will be displayed at the meet.

If medals or awards are earned by the swimmers these need to be collected from the “medal table” on the day – there is no scope for them to be sent out after the event.

There are presentations at championship events.  Swimmers who are being presented must arrive in full Marlins kit.

What to bring:

Warm up costume

Racing costume

Swim cap (Marlins), racing goggles.  Suggest swimmers wear swim hat, goggles, second hat on top

Swimmers must wear suitable club clothing, including appropriate poolside footwear.

A drink in a suitable drinks bottle

Leave your large swimming bag and packed lunch and outdoor clothes in a changing room locker or with parents; they take up too much space on poolside.

Food and drink during open meets

Your swimmer may be on poolside for most of the day, so they need to keep refueling with small, easily digestible snacks, rather than big meals.  Hydration is just as important, so ensure you provide plenty of water and encourage your swimmer to keep sipping during the day.  Bring plenty of food with you, and remember that swimming pools are always boiling, so it may be a good idea to have a cool bag in the car with additional supplies.  For younger swimmers it is best to ration the food throughout the day to avoid them eating it all within the first hour!

Food suggestions include complex carbohydrates for ‘grazing’ throughout the day, eg small portions of:

Rice salad

Muffins (sweet or savoury)

Bread, pitta bread, bagels

Pizza (without fatty toppings)

Rice cakes

Breakfast cereals or cereal bars


Who runs the meets

The host club appoints a team of Swim England qualified swimming officials. These are all volunteer officials.

Priority is often given to accepting swimmers from clubs who supply officials. It is therefore in your interests to become a qualified official and volunteer to help at meets in order to guarantee acceptance