Representing the Club

Horwich is a competitive club and as part of this, we compete in local, regional and national leagues.  This gives our swimmers the chance to compete for the club as opposed to personal times.  There are a mixture of leagues, races and formats.

We compete in the following leagues:

  • Bolton & District League
  • Manchester & District League
  • M56 League
  • National Arena League

Each league has different age cut-offs, formats of races, number of races, scoring systems and to complicate things further uses different dates to calculate the age of swimmers!  Don’t worry though our experienced team managers know all the rules, well Gareth and Liz do!!

The Bolton & District, Manchester & District and M56 Leagues are primarily aimed at our junior swimmers.  The Manchester & District league has two different formats with one being a relay only league (great fun for the swimmers!).  The National Arena League is for swimmers aged 11 and over.  Look out for our Commonwealth Medallist Emma Saunders dragging herself out of retirement every year to compete (and normally win!!).

Our team managers will normally select the team to compete two weeks before the fixture date.  Becky will then text the parents to inform them of selection and ask for confirmation.  We understand that sometimes you can’t make it.  Don’t worry we don’t hold this against you!  Please just let us know as soon as possible so we can select another swimmer.

We are very successful as a club but we do not prioritise winning over being a supportive team.  No swimmer, no matter what has happened in their individual race, has ever let the team down.

If you are asked to represent the club make sure you bring a spare T-shirt and drink with you to the event.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be there for the whole day / weekend?

No. You’d be wise to look at the programme for the event at the same time as choosing the races you’d like to enter. You might find that your favourite events are not only in different sessions but on different days! Many of the swimmers who compete regularly will be at most if not all of the sessions in an event but this might be a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated.

How many races should I enter?

All swimmers are different and react differently to competition. Some want a gentle ease into competitions and might only enter a couple of races. Others are better suited to getting on with it and prefer to keep up the momentum by swimming 2-3 races per session. There is generally a lot of waiting between races….

Which races should I enter?

Usually, swimmers start with 50m races in each stroke. This tends to be followed by 100m IM, then 200m races. Check with your Team Manager/coach

Which competitions should I enter?

You won’t know how fast you are compared with swimmers from other clubs until you compete against them. If you will be at least 9yrs old on the last day of a level 3 or 4 events, then you will generally be eligible to enter. Whilst submitted entry times are required, these do not have to be ones recorded at another competition, and can simply be your PB from a club gala or even a time trial. It is important that submitted times are as accurate or, if they have to be estimated, as realistic as possible, so if you don’t know a time ask the Team Manager or Coach. In most cases, your time will have been recorded.

What do Swim England Cat 1 and Cat 2 memberships mean?

Swimmers who want to compete in ‘Licenced’ galas or Open meets MUST be a category 2 member. Normal membership and swimmers who only compete in internal club galas or Association galas need only be a Category 1 member

How long will the gala last?

Million dollar question!  The Bolton & District and Manchester & District galas are normally done in an hour and a half.  The M56 and Arena Leagues can go on a little longer, give yourselves two to three hours for both depending on technical issues (longer if at Macclesfield!!).

What do swimmers need to bring?

Normal swimming kit, costume/trunks and goggles.  No need for a kit bag, we won’t use any of this in warm up.  Bring an extra towel so they can use the alternate to wrap up between races.  Also an extra set of ‘poolside clothes’ (loose fitting t-shirt and shorts normally) along with flip-flops for poolside.  If you have Horwich kit then this is the time to wear it!

Do we need team kit?

No.  We don’t insist anyone wears a team kit.  If you want to then great.  If you feel more comfortable in your own clothes/cap etc then fine, no pressure from us ever.  Just make sure you bring goggles!

My swimmer isn’t swimming their best stroke, why?

All leagues have a restriction on the number of individual swims you can do, normally two.  It might be that your ‘best’ stroke is say freestyle, but you’re also the fastest at the other strokes too.  The gap between times might be nearest on freestyle and therefore the alternate swimmer is selected here.  We will also try to mix up swims to allow swimmers to compete across different events.  No junior swimmer should be labelling themselves as a particular expert in any one stroke.  There’s also the matter of Butterfly.  No one really wants/likes it, but someone has to do it!

My swimmer is only 9 but competing as a 10 year old, what’s happened?

They joy of different age at date rules!  Some leagues operate on an age at day for swimmers (easy!), some age at end of 30th September (no idea why…) and some age at the end of the year (makes some degree of sense!).  It could be you compete as a 9 ear old one day, then as a 10 year old, depending on the league.  You may also have to ‘swim up’ an age if no other swimmers are available, or you’re simply that good.  Ask Eleanor, Neve, Grace and Amelia who have all competed as open age swimmers before they turned 13!!

 My swimmer is nervous and doesn’t know what to do

Don’t worry, they’ve all been there.  The more experienced swimmers will help settle nerves.  The team managers will make sure they know exactly what to do.  And if all else fails Gareth is really good at arguing with officials!

What should parents expect?

Apart from a packed, hot gallery!  Each league will charge spectators for entry.  This is to cover pool hire costs.  Normally its around £2 but can vary up to say £5 depending on the league.  You will be given a programme which will list the races.  Please support your swimmer and all the Horwich swimmers.  It helps if you sit with a parent you may know/recognise to aid team spirit!

What happens at a team gala?

It varies!  We compete as a team against 3 to 7 other teams depending on the league.  We sit together as a team and our team managers look after all the swimmers.  Swimmers will be told of their individual races at the start of the gala and sent to the correct ‘starting point’ well ahead of time.

How are teams picked?

Our team managers will use the Swim England database, our own club championship times and coaches reports to pick the best teams possible.

HELP… my goggles won’t stay on!

Top tip… try securing proper racing goggles under your swim hat

If there are any other questions please ask Gareth or Liz, don’t worry about anything!