Fancy being the next Michael Phelps or Adam Peaty? Well, sadly you just can’t enter the Olympics! Welcome to the World of competitive swimming.
External, or licensed galas, are where swimmers compete for themselves. Anyone can enter, you don’t (and won’t) have to be selected by the club to compete. Swim England don’t let children compete in licensed galas until they are at least 9. Some operators may have different rules, i.e. a minimum age of 10 or longer races restricted to older categories.
Horwich offer members the opportunity to compete in several licensed galas throughout the year. Most of the galas we enter are aimed at first time or inexperienced swimmers. All galas entered by the club are level 3 galas, aimed at all club members. Emails will be sent out well ahead of the gala dates with entry forms and full details of the gala.
At a licensed meet, swimmers from several other clubs will also be competing. Horwich swimmers will be looked after by our team managers and all sit together. Whilst you are swimming for yourself, we still foster a team environment and our older and more experienced swimmers are there to help also.
From competing in a licensed gala, swimmers will achieve Swim England recognised times which are recorded on the Swim England database (https://www.swimmingresults.org/12months/). The aim is to beat your time at the next gala and improve your ‘personal best’.
Recognised official times will help you enter higher-level galas. Progressing from these open galas (where anyone can enter) are the restricted galas where you have to achieve certain times to enter. There is a formal and somewhat complicated structure but in some order these are:
- Lancashire County Gala (January and February each year) – https://www.swimlancashire.org.uk/
- North West Regional Gala (typically May each year) – https://swimnorthwest.org/
- British or English Nationals (typically July/August each year) – https://www.britishswimming.org/
The times to enter get faster as you progress!
If you have any further questions then there is always a committee member on hand to help or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
In the Association league galas, do I try to get my best time or to win the race?
Association League Galas times are not official times. All that matters in theses galas is the position. However, you should always go for your best time as if you slow down because you are in the lead,
competitors can sneak up on you and take the win!
What are Speeding Tickets?
If you enter a competition perfectly legally with an official or non-official time, then swim and do really well and end up with a time that is faster than the fastest allowed entry, you are issued with a
Speeding Ticket. Your time is still recorded as official but you are not allowed to win medals or trophies, to give other swimmers a chance at the medals. These are most swimmers targets as they
are better than winning a Gold Medal!
What do all the acronyms mean on the results sheets?
These are the common ones.
DNS: Did not Start;
DNE: Did not Enter:
DQ or DSQ: Disqualified,
ST: Speeding Ticket.
What do ‘Short course’ and ‘Long course’ refer to?
Short course events are in a 25m pool. Long course, a 50m pool. You will start out at short course events. There are online converters for short to long course times but by the time you need those
you’ll know everything on this page inside-out!
My time is too fast for an event!
In that case, you can’t compete in that event. This is to ensure that swimmers who are not at the top of their peer group get a chance to win medals against peers of similar ability. If you are too fast you will
need to talk to your coaches to identify higher-level competitions to enter.
Why do I sometimes compete as a 9yr old and others a 10yr old?
Well, it depends on the date at which an event organiser calculates age. For the B & D Mini League it is age on the day of competition.
I don’t have official swim times. What do I put on my entry?
If a competition will accept non-official times (most level 3 and 4 meets will), use times achieved at club gala’s or League competitions and if these aren’t available, ask your coach for a time trial or
estimated time. Results from Club Galas and other meets can be found on the results page.
Need my Swim England registration number, where do I find it?
This is the number given to you by the Swim England and is issued when the club submits your membership details to Swim England, you will find it on the Swim England database (search by surname). This is also
where you will find all your official times from licensed meets.
Why is it important to get official Swim England swim times?
A non-official time will have been recorded by a coach or parent using a stopwatch who may or may not have been trained in timekeeping. An official time will have been taken by at least two trained officials or using an electronic system and will be logged on the Swim England database. Also, many competitions (Levels 1 and 2) require official times for entry.
When can I compete?
Swimmers compete in our Club Galas from the age of six years, but Swim England only permits competition outside the club for swimmers who will be at least nine years old by 31st December in that year. Our nine-year-olds can start competing in the Association Leagues as part of the club team. This is chosen by our Team Managers and the different leagues have their own age criteria, such age on the day or age by a certain date. For Open Meets, the starting age maybe 9, 10 or 11 years, depending on the competition. If you are 9yrs+ and want to have a go, speak to your coach. There WILL be a competition that it appropriate for you!
HELP… my goggles won’t stay on!
Top tip… try securing proper racing goggles under your swim hat