Which gala for me?
Galas are advertised at different levels and with different descriptions. When you know what each term means it becomes easy to work out which gala is right for your level, but until then, it can be a mystery of letters and numbers!
The coaches and committee encourage ALL our swimmers to compete at Holywell meets, this not only gives you familiarity that can help you swim faster, but it also helps support YOUR club, so when the Valentine meet, Holywell Summer Sprints, our club champs, and the Geoff Drew meet packs come out please enter and support your club, all is explained below. Top meets in Wales for us are Regionals, the Welsh Easter Nationals and the Welsh Short course championships so aim high when you set your season goals.
Long course (LC) or Short course (SC)?
There are 2 pool distances that Holywell ASC compete in on a regular basis. Short course pools are 25m and long course pools are 50m. Wales have two long course pools, one in Swansea (Welsh National pool) and one in Cardiff’s (International pool). All of the top events such as the British National qualifiers and the Olympics are held in long course pools. . We have many short course 25m pools throughout the country, and competitions are regularly held in these pools throughout the north region at venues such as Holywell, Wrexham, Bangor and Llandudno.
To run a licenced meet the club has to send their meet conditions and payment to their governing body, Swimmers times from the gala will be entered onto the British swimming rankings.
Swimmers of any age can compete in unlicensed meets, for example the Urdd school gala. The rules for these galas can be determined by the organising group for the event and no licence is required, Swimmers times will not be accepted by British swimming rankings
What level of event?
Level 1 Meets (L1).
All L1 events are held in LC pools (see above).
Level 1 meets are intended for swimmers competing at high level such as the Welsh Nationals or British Championships and must use electronic timing systems. To enter, swimmers must have obtained the Qualifying Times (QT) for the meet, this does not necessarily guarantee the swimmer entry into the meet as it could be oversubscribed or the meet organisers could use a first come first served basis. If the level of entries are low, the Consideration Time (CT) can be used. Times are nationally set standards. As a club, we send swimmers to Level 1 meets. The minimum age is 10 years if age as at 31st December, or 9 years if age on the last day of competition.
Level 2 Meets (L2)
This is the highest level meet held in a Short Course (SC) pool. To enter, swimmers must have obtained the Qualifying Times (QT) for the meet, this does not necessarily guarantee the swimmer entry into the meet as it could be oversubscribed or the meet organisers could use a first come first served basis (get your entries in early), if the level of entries are low in the meet Consideration Time (CT) can be used, these times are nationally set standards. The main aim when attending meets is to improve your personal best (PB) time and to achieve a qualifying time for higher level meets such as our Regional Championships, swimmers can also achieve a Welsh National qualifying time at a level 2 meet. The minimum age is 10 years if age as at 31st December, or 9 years if age on the last day of competition.
Holywell ASC run a level 2 meet in January, the Valentine meet.
Level 3 Meets (L3)
Level 3 meets can be held at LC and SC pools, they have upper qualifying times, as well as lower qualifying times, L3 meets can also include swimmers who do not have a time (NT) and this will be stated in the meet pack. If you are faster than the cut off time, you will not be allowed to enter as the cut off times restrict the very quickest swimmers from competing, this allows other swimmers to have an opportunity to shine at a Gala. Holywell run two level 3 meets, the Summer sprints held in July, and the Geoff Drew meet in October. In the past, we have run the Geoff Drew as a graded meet, read about graded meets later. There are no rules that state a level 3 galas have to have an electronic timings system, however. Holywell do use an electronic timing system. There is a minimum age of 9 years old, but Club championships are also L3 meets and allow 8 year olds to swim.
Level 4 Meets (L4) – No longer exist
Regional development meets
Development meets are unique in that they give the opportunity for 8 year olds to get a taste of a gala, unlike all other levels that have a minimum age of 9 or 10 years old for entry. Typically within North Wales there is a development meets throughout the year held at Holywell, Wrexham Bangor and Llandudno, we can also go into England to swim in this type of meet.
Some meets will also be advertised as graded meets, for example our Geoff Drew meet has AA and B Grade and is a Level 3 meet’. The ‘AA and B’ refers to the fact that there are two levels of competition going on, with different time levels for each grade. So you will need to be slower than the AA Grade cut off times in order to enter. Additionally, if you are slower than the ‘B’ grade then there is a second set of medals and awards available for those swimmers competing in that category. If, on the day, swimmers swim faster than the cut off times then rather than getting a medal they will be awarded a Speeding Ticket.
If you are unsure about how to enter your child into a gala, please feel free to ask.
Coaches and committee members will be happy to assist you in working out which gala to enter, how to enter, what event to enter, or whether you should put an entry in at all.
Once entered into a gala each swimmer will be issued with a Gala letter a few weeks before the gala. The letters will have a variety of information.
• Events the swimmer has entered (once entries have been accepted, a check sheet is posted on the notice board, please check to make sure your entries are correct)
• What the swimmer needs to bring
• Warm up times (these will also be posted on the notice board and website) – these often change during the week before the meet
• Contact details of the coaches at the meet.
• Along with any other advice and information needed for this gala.
Galas are divided in to two or more sessions – morning, afternoon and sometimes evening. At each Gala there will be an advertised Warm Up time for each session. It is important that all swimmers arrive pool side 15 minutes IN ADVANCE of the warm up time so they have sufficient time to stretch and report to the team manager.
Food and drink at galas?
Food for the gala should consist of fruit, especially bananas, Soreen loaf cereal bars, pasta, rice and plenty of drinks (non-fizzy) such as cordial but preferably water. Please ensure that you do not bring chocolate, crisps or fizzy drinks. Make sure clear bottle tops are removed and placed in the bin, they can fall in the water and present a choking hazard! Best practice is to use a proper drinks bottle.
Swimmer code of conduct
Whilst at the gala all swimmers must abide by the codes of conduct for behaviour, be polite and courteous to the officials your coaches and team managers.
HDW – Heat Declared Winner.
In multiple age group events where there are no separate heats and finals the swimmers of all ages swim together and the heats are determined by the swimmer’s entry time, with the slowest swimmers in the first heats. This ensures that swimmers race with the same ability swimmers. Placing of swimmers in each age group is then determined by times swum in the event.
Galas should be enjoyable, so cheer on your team mates and above all
HAVE FUN !!!