What to do, When to do it, Why to do it!!!


Where are they?

Galas / Meets, or swimming competitions are run all over the city, province and country. They are broken into different categories to ensure the right people are racing each other.

Level 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Most of our athletes will participate in levels 1-3.

In order to qualify for level 4+5 meets, times must have been achieved at a registered level 3 gala.


When are they?

Swim Ireland issues a calendar every July/ August for all the competitions for the following season. This, however, is subject to change, so the calendar that is issued by the club is also subject to change.

As part of the licensing of competitions, there are a number of restrictions, so even though athletes may qualify and enter on time, some entries may be rejected at a later date. As a result, the club may source another gala.


Who Are they for?

Terenure Swim Club is a competitive club. All swimmers in the club are expected to compete, at competitions that are relevant to them. This may be a fun club gala, or at a National level in the hopes of qualifying for an Olympic Games.


How will I know when to enter a gala?

Keep an eye on the events section of the Teamunify site or OnDeck app for upcoming galas.

Your swimmer should talk to their fellow squad swimmers about events they are entering.

Your swimmer will hear from the coaches about upcoming events.

You will receive an e-mail directed specifically at your squad to consider entry to a gala.

If your swimmer is not sure which events to enter, he/she should talk to the coach.


How Do I Enter?

Entry is very straight forward. Using the On Deck app…

  1.  Open the app
  2. Click on “Events” in menu
  3. Select the relevant gala, And select declare
  4. Select your swimmer
  5. Select “Yes Please”
  6. Then select the events you wish to enter by clicking on the small box on the left hand side. (If qualifying times are needed, you will only be able to select events you qualify for.
  7. “Save Changes”


Your Team Unify account will be charged by the treasurer after the head coach has approved the events.


I’m Entered, now what?

Relax, the coaching staff and gala secretary do the rest. Your job as a parent is to assist your child in being prepared mentally. Plenty of sleep, good food and positive reinforcement is required.

Please remember that “Personal Best” times are irrelevant. “PBs” are a nice marker or indicator of improvement, however they are not the only sign of progression. Delivering skill under pressure is more important.


I’m racing next week, What do I do? Eat more carbs? Rest rather than train? Go on holiday or Gaeltacht?

Change Nothing! It is the coach’s job to manage the athletes leading into competition. We will not rest down before most competitions as there is no need. If you have a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy balanced diet, you need not change a thing. Some competitions are also used as training days. Racing tired can be very beneficial long term.

Don’t skip training.
Don’t change your diet.
Drink a little more, Hydration is very important!


Its race weekend…. I’m not sure what’s happening.

  1. Write a checklist of what’s needed for the day at the gala.
  2. Pack your bag for the next day.
  3. Include your snacks, your packed lunch and copious amounts of fluids, checking off the checklist as it’s packed.
  4. Bring multiple pairs of swimming togs. Ideally one for each race & a spare. 
  5. Bring 2 towels, 2 spare hats and flip flops for on deck.
  6. Bring club hat, shorts and t-shirt and hoodie if you have them.
  7. Pack skins if advised by your coach.
  8. Make sure you have something dry to go home in. Club gear usually gets wet in between races. 
  9. Ensure you know the warm up time for the gala. Set your alarm accordingly. You need to arrive at least 30 mins before the warm up time to change and complete a dry land warm up.
  10. Put everything in the car ready to go in the morning. Tomorrow its business time. No faffing!


Its race day, what do I do?

  1. Wake up early enough to have a relaxed breakfast, both swimmer and parent.
  2. Have a drink (Avoid caffeine), maybe a multivitamin and leave with plenty of time to be relaxed and no rushing… there is a chemistry reason for this.
  3. Arrive at the pool and find the coach.
  4. As a group start your dryland warm up and continue the dryland for at least ten minutes prior to getting into the water for a pool warm up.
  5. In the pool warm up, try not to stop. Keep moving to get warm. Unless you are warmed up, there is NO NEED TO DIVE. If you’re not warm, you can’t dive and sprint, and doing so may cause injury. Sprints can be done in the warm up as HVOs or Speed Bursts (The swimmers should know what these are!)
  6. After the warm up, go and relax. PARENTS: You relax also, nerves can be quite high, for both child and parent. Chill out, it is only swimming!!!
  7. If a team manager (parent allocated as team Manager for that day) is available, make yourself known to them. They will have the heat sheets available. Please find out your event start times and the heat and lane you have been allocated.   More experienced athletes are more aware of times etc but younger athletes should seek out the team manager who will usually write the event/heat/lane data on their hand as a reminder.   Swimmers should go down to line up for their event well in advance of their race but the organisers will usually call the event, so keep an ear out! 
  8. Pre-Race, swimmers should talk to the coach about 20-30mins prior to racing. Get a race plan, trust the race plan.
  9. 20-25min, pre-race dryland warm up should be done.
  10. 20min pre-race, Line up.
  11. Execute the race plan.
  12. After the race, speak to the coach for a debrief. PARENTS, your job is to support the children. Not to coach. Leave that to the people trained and paid to do that! Your job is to put a realistic yet positive learning spin on any result.
  13. Go Home, or repeat #6-#11 if more races ahead.
  14. PARENTS, an app called Meet Mobile can be very useful on race day. It details all events, the order of them and the entrants and the times. It might save you the cost of a programme. It won’t have all galas on it but will have any Leinster and/or Swim Ireland meets.


What to eat?

Don’t change what you normally eat for the sake of a race or two. Stick to what you know, the amounts you usually eat and the frequency you normally eat. The only change would be a little extra snacking. High sugar fruit after a race to help replenish glycogen is good, light carbs also help through the day.

  • Juicy citrus fruits
  • Popcorn
  • Sandwiches
  • Rice cakes
  • Smoothies