A guide to Open Meets, Galas and Time Trials.
If you want to know more, please just ask a coach or committee member!
How do Galas and League Competitions differ from Open Meets and Time Trials?
In League competitions and many Galas, you compete as part of a Redditch team against other clubs. In an open meet and time trial you enter as an individual.
An Open Meet is the only way for you to get qualifying times as an individual to be able to enter County, Regional and National events. It’s a way of measuring yourself against others, improving your Personal Best times and maybe even winning medals!
A Time Trial at the club are races swum under competition rules to gain a time in a given stroke and distance. These help to introduce swimmers to galas/competition, help to gain up to date times for gala selection and highlight areas of improvement for a given swimmer to the coaches.
Redditch enter teams for several different Leagues including the Diddy League, Mercian League, PGL, Worcester Winter League and the Arena Laegue. During the year we also take part in several friendly gala’s against other local swimming clubs. The dates for these events are listed on the Redditch website under “Fixtures”. For League competitions and galas the coaches choose the team based on age and the level of the competition etc. An overriding factor is generally to choose the fastest team suitable for that event.
An e-mail will usually be sent to all swimmer's parents and a notice will also go up on the RSC notice board with details of the date and venue for all those who will be required to confirm their availability (or otherwise). Being picked for the team is always great but if you are not picked for one competition, please don’t be disheartened. You may be picked for another at a different time of year or as you progress through the club.
For team events, the Coaches will allocate certain races to those selected so it is very important that, once you have committed to being part of the team, you do not change your mind. If you are sick, you need to let the Coach responsible know as soon as possible so that a reserve can be found. Galas and Leagues are great fun and team spirit is the number one priority. The Coaches ask that you please make yourself available if selected.
What do we need to bring to a gala/open meet?
Please note that all swimmers will be required to stay with the team at all times and and not sit with their parents. They are also requested to remain until the end of the gala (except in exceptional circumstances).This is good for team spirit but will also ensure that no races are missed and any inured swimmers can be substituted. If they need to leave poolside for any reason, they should tell the coach or team manager where they are going.
For open meets, swimmers will be required to stay with the team at all times and not sit with their parents. For open meets only, parents may collect their children promptly once they have finished all their races for the day and sign out with the coach/team manager. If parents are not going to be present for the competition, it is their responsibility to ensure that poolside staff are aware.
In accordance to Child Safeguarding Policies, photography and filming at open meets, galas and time trials is strictly forbidden. (Occasionally at some meets photography passes are available, but under special arrangement with the organisers).
Some open meets will have an official photographer and will give you the opportunity to purchase some fabulous action shots!
Redditch team photographs may at times be taken in accordance to your club consent form. If for any reason you do not wish your child to be included please inform the poolside staff.
Open Meets - the fineprint !
You don’t need to be invited to enter Meets by a coach. If you would like to try competitive swimming, just keep an eye on forthcoming Meets listed on our website under Fixtures (or the club noticeboard) for entry details. If you are not sure then please speak to your coach, who will help you decide if a Meet is suitable.
At the supported meets included in our competition calendar, the club provides Coaches and/or Team Managers to support and supervise the swimmers and we stay together as a team.
Competitions or Meets are classified as "open" or "closed".
An Open Meet, as the name implies, is open to all and usually hosted by another swimming club.
Closed competitions are for selected groups only e.g. West Midlands Regional Age Groups, Worcester County Championships and our own Club Championships.
Competitions are targeted at different standards of swimmer and are designated a level between 1 and 4. Redditch enters Meets at all levels so that all our swimmers have a chance to compete at the right level for them. Licensing/Grading System The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) licenses Meets at levels 1 (highest) to 4 (lowest).
- A Level 1 Meet will have minimum qualifying times and is broadly aimed at swimmers aiming for Regional or National Qualifying Times (NQTs).
- Level 2 Meets have minimum qualifying times and upper limit times; these are aimed at those looking for Regional and County qualifying times (QTs).
- Level 3 Meets typically have upper limit QTs (swimmers may not enter if their times are faster than the specified QTs) and are aimed at County and Club swimmers.
- Level 4 Meets may have QTs in the same way as Level 3 meets, but they have more freedom in terms of using electronic timing and qualified officials.
Some Meets take place in a 25m pool and are called Short Course. Others will be swum in a 50m pool and are called Long Course. When first entering Meets, it is probably best to stick to Short Course Meets.
Meet requirements usually include qualifying times and sometimes a separate list of slower consideration times. If qualifying times are stipulated, only swimmers who have achieved those times or faster are able to enter that event.
There will always be an “Age as at” date given in the entry details (often the last day of the meet, but sometimes may be age as of 31st December of that year). This dictates what age group you will be competing in. Swimmers can only compete from the age of 9 in England (8 in Wales).
Heats are seeded and swum according to entry time, irrespective of age. Usually the winners of the age group will be those that have swum the fastest in the heats (Heat declared winner HDW). Sometimes that fastest swimmers will swim again in a final to determine the overall placings.
The top three positions in each event and each age group (and sometimes the top eight) usually receive an award eg a medal. The age groups are often single year age groups (especially for the younger swimmers), and sometimes double eg 10-11 years.
Open meets - Entry Procedure
The procedure for entry is the same for all meets.
*You must fill out all the information requested as otherwise it could cause delays in processing and submitting the entry forms. - The swimmer’s ASA number is required. This is a wholly numeric reference (ie 123456), and can be found on the swimmer’s ASA registration card, which all swimmers should have. The number will not alter from year to year so please keep the card in a safe place.
Only enter events permitted for your age. Include your “personal best times” (PBs) in the box provided against each event to be entered. You can find your PBs on https://www.swimmingresults.org/individualbest/. PBs should include the full time, down to hundredths of a second eg 3.02.45 and not just to the nearest whole second or tenth of a second). Times used on entry forms must have been achieved at a Licensed Meet (an official ASA accredited meet), not in training, at club time trials, in a gala or league competition (i.e they should be from this website)
Some Meets require times achieved in a 25m (short course) pool and others in a 50m (long course) pool. If you have a PB achieved in a short course pool and you are entering a long course Meet, you can convert your PB. There is a conversion tool on our County/Regional/National info page and also on http://www.pullbuoy.co.uk/times.
If you do not have a PB time for that event (maybe it’s your first Meet?) then you can put N/T (ie “No time” )but only when no qualifying time is required. Otherwise ask your coach about entry times- occasionally an educated guesstimate may be allowed.
**Closing Dates: The Redditch closing date is always earlier than the meet closing date, and is set to enable us to process all the information and return it to the meet organisers in time; if entries are late then the date may be missed and all Redditch entries would be rejected.
Some meets operate on a first come, first served entry basis, and in these cases entries need to be in well in advance of the organisers stated closing date to try and ensure our entries are accepted.
Some meets are ‘Qualifying Times’ Competitions. The meet organisers have to limit the entries which is done through qualifying times. If the meet is oversubscribed, swimmers with the slower entry times may be rejected or "scratched" from that event. Those entering with consideration times have to wait and see whether their entries are accepted or rejected. Lists of scratched entries are usually available on the relevant organisation’s website, and the swimmer’s coach will be informed in advance of the meet. The fee for a scratched entry is refunded via our treasurer.
Meet programmes for open meets are sometimes available for sale at the venue - and if not will be available to print off prior to the event from the websites. Please check the meet details to make sure you are prepared ! They list all swimmers in each event in order of seed time, and provide general information about the event. They are very useful if only to work out when your child is likely to be swimming and schedule comfort breaks and trips to the café accordingly!
There is usually some form of electronic timing in use at meets. Timekeepers provide backup in the event that the system is not operating.
The results of each race will be shown on the electronic display board, but they have to be ratified by the referee and declared so by the announcer before they are deemed "official". There may be disqualifications for the infringement of technical or stroke rules, or the electronic timing may not have been operating correctly (eg a swimmer may not have touched the pad hard enough to trigger it).
Official results are usually posted on a noticeboard at the event, and successful entrants can then collect medals from the poolside desk.
The results would then normally be posted on the host club or organisation’s website within a couple of days, and then also on the official British swimming websites (https://www.swimmingresults.org/showmeetsbyclub/?).