Which Gala for Me?

Galas are advertised at different Levels and different descriptions. When you know what each term means, it’s easy to work out what gala is right for your level, but until then it’s a mystery of letters and numbers!

LC or SC?

There are 2 pool distances that we come across on a regular basis. Short Course pools, like Holywell, Wrexham and most of the other pools we compete in are 25 metres long. Long Course pools are 50 metres long. All of the top events, National Championships, Olympics and so on, are held in Long Course pools, but the clubs at Long Course pools will also hold lower level meets. The nearest LC pool to us is Wavertree in Liverpool with other LC pools in Manchester and Stockport. In Wales, the Long Course Pools are in Swansea and Cardiff.

What Level of Event?

Level 1Meets (L1)

All L1 events are held in LC pools (see above). Level 1 meets are intended for swimmers seeking qualification at Welsh Championships, British Championships and ASA Championships. They will have at least one distance event of 400m or above. To enter all swimmers must have obtained the Qualifying Times for the meet, which are nationally set standards. As a club, we send swimmers to the Welsh National Championships and other Level 1 meets.

Level 2 Meets  (L2)

This is the highest level meet that can be held in a Short Course pool. Again, they are required to have at least one 400m or above event for girls and boys for each age group. All swimmers need to have obtained the qualifying time for the meet which are nationally set standards. Holywell run two Level 2 meets: Valentine meet in January and the Summer Sprints meet held in July.

L3 Meets

These meets have upper qualifying times, as well as lower qualifying times. So if you are faster than the cut off time, you are not allowed to enter and you also need to be faster than the qualifying times. This means that they are not intended for the very fasted swimmers.

L4 Meets

Again, these meets will have cut off times that restrict the very quickest swimmers from competing in order to allow all swimmers to have an opportunity to shine at a Gala. Holywell run one level 4 meet, the Geoff Drew meet in October. In the past, we have also run this as a graded meet – read about graded meets later.

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 years old for entry. Typically within North Wales there is a development meet in May at Llandudno with the potential for others throughout the year

Unlicensed Meets

Swimmers of any age can compete in unlicensed meets, for example club galas or club championships. The rules for these galas can be determined by the organising group for the event.

Graded Meets

Some meets will also be advertised as graded meets, for example the’ Menai AA and B Grade Level 4 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.

Entering Galas

If you are not sure about entering galas / should you or your child enter then PLEASE ASK!! Either the coaches or committee members will be happy to assist you in working out how to enter and whether you should put an entry in.

Gala Arrangements

At Holywell ASC we issue Gala letters to swimmers a few weeks before the gala. The letters will have information showing

  • what events the swimmer has entered
  •  what they need to bring
  •  information on warm up times
  • contact details of the coaches at the meet

along with any other information that is 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 are 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 for gala should consist of fruit, especially bananas, cereal bars, pasta plenty of drinks (non-fizzy)and such like. Please ensure that you do not bring chocolate, crisps or fizzy drinks. Make sure any bottle tops for drinks are not solid – they can fall in the water and present a choking hazard! The best arrangement is to use a proper drinks bottle.

Whilst at the gala all swimmers must abide by the code of conduct for behavior, be polite and courteous to the officials and listen to what the team managers and coaches tell them to do!
Above all, galas should be enjoyable, so


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