As you will notice when you look at the competition calendar on our website, Kingston Royals swimmers compete at a number of galas throughout the year. There are different ‘levels’ of gala and each have their own entry criteria. You can access details of your PBs via the Hytek system on the website.
The club championship galas are organised and run by Kingston Royals Swimming Club. There are a number of Club Championship galas held throughout the year. The Club Championships are licensed by the London Swimming Association (as a Level 4 meet) and comply with Amateur Swimming Association (A.S.A.) rules. The main entry criteria for these galas is that you are a paid up member of Kingston Royals Swimming Club. All swimmers from Tadpoles to National Squad are expected to take part and there are usually no other entry criteria, the exception being the longer distance galas where only the more senior swimmers compete. The age group you swim in will be based on your age on 31st December of the year in which the Championships take place and, in each age group in each event, medals, ribbons and sometimes trophies are available to be won. Additionally, there is a Victor Ludorum competition that runs during the sprint events (50m, 100m and 200m) and a trophy is awarded to the top boy and top girl within each age group. Every swimmer who takes part (unless disqualified) gets a point for competing and the top six swimmers in each event in each age group get additional points according to their position.
These are galas organised and run by other swimming clubs and are held at various locations across the country. Generally, you must be at least 9 years of age on the date of the gala to compete and generally you will swim in the age group based on your age on the day of competition. These meets are mostly licensed as level 1,2 or 3. The level attributed to the meet is indicative of the entry criteria associated with it. Level 1 is the highest level where only the fastest swimmers are eligible to enter. The club’s competition secretaries will compile entries for these meets on behalf of the club as well as eligibility reports (based on times held by the club) to show who can enter which events. Look out on the website under “open meet entries” for details.
The focus of many Kingston Royals swimmers is to meet the entry criteria for the Surrey Age Group Championships. These are held each year, typically during February and March at venues including Crystal Palace, Guildford Spectrum and Surrey Sports Park. You must be at least 9 years of age on the end date of the Championships to compete and the age group you swim in will be based on your age on the last day of the Championships. The qualifying times do vary every year although are generally similar so the previous year’s qualifying times can be taken as a rough guide. Unlike most open meets, only times attained after a certain date in the year are able to be used and these times must have been achieved at a licensed meet. Therefore it is important that, if you wish to be eligible to compete at the Surrey Age Group Championships, you compete at Club Championships and, if necessary, selected open meets. http://www.surreyswimming.org/
Once you have reached Counties, the next level of competition is the Regional Championships and Kingston Royals falls within the London Region. The Regional Championships are held each year in May/June at Crystal Palace. You must be at least 10 years of age on the end date of the championships to compete and the age group you swim in will be based on your age on the last day of the Championships. The qualifying times do vary every year although generally the previous year’s qualifying times can be taken as a rough guide. Only times attained after a certain date in the year are able to be used and these times must have been achieved at a licensed meet at level 3 or above – this excludes Club Championships. http://www.londonswimming.org/
At the top of the swimming pyramid are the National Championships. These are held in Sheffield around July/August.. You must be at least 11 years of age on the end date of the championships to compete and the age group you swim in will be based on your age on the last day of the Championships. The qualifying times do vary every year although generally the previous year’s qualifying times can be taken as a rough guide. Only times attained after a certain date in the are able to be used and these times must have been achieved at a licensed meet at Level 2 or above which includes County and Regional Championships. http://www.swimming.org/britishswimming/
National Arena League and Junior Swimming League
As a club, Kingston Royals competes in two leagues, the Junior Speedo League for those aged 9–12yrs and the National Arena League for swimmers aged 11 and over. Both leagues involve a series of galas where KRSC swims as a team against other swimming clubs. Events include individual and relay events. These meets are not licensed. The JSL events take place in early summer and the Arena League in the autumn. The age groups for the JSL are based on age at the end of the series of galas and for the Arena League, age at the end of the year. Teams for league events are selected at the discretion of the coaches and will be based on PBs and current performance of swimmers. If swimmers are selected they will be notified by the Club’s Team Manager.
Preparing for and attending galas
- Swimsuits (as a rough guide, 1 to warm up in and 1 to compete in for each session). Racing suits are not necessary although many swimmers like to use them at important meets
- Goggles x 2
- KRSC swimming hat x 2
- One towel for each session
- Polo shirt/t-shirt and shorts / tracksuit bottoms to enable you to keep warm on poolside
- Pool shoes
- Drinks in plastic bottles (no cans or glass bottles on poolside)
- Snacks for between races
- iPods and mobiles are allowed but please ensure they are set to silent at all times. These are the responsibility of the swimmer NOT the Team Manager or Coach
- Most galas have a signing in process whereby, unless you sign-in ON THE DAY, you will not be allowed to swim. Do not assume that because you have entered and paid your race fee you are entitled to swim
- Occasionally meets will run a sign-out process whereby you will be down to swim unless you notify them otherwise
- If you decide not to swim you must let the Coach who is attending the event know. This should be done as early as possible and is very important as they will not waste time looking for you/trying to contact you on the day. Additionallly, if a sign-out system is in place, the event organisers will have you assigned to a race unless they hear otherwise
- If you decide to go home before the end of a meet it is very important to let the Coach/Team Manager know so they can withdraw you from any races you are down to swim later in the day
- Take your swimming bag with you poolside as this is where ALL of your possessions should be kept at all times
- Report to the team manager / coach when arriving on poolside and if you need to leave for any reason (eg changing/loo break) ask permission before doing so
- Be silent at the start of races and keep still if you are near the starting area
- Do not walk in front of officials during races
- Be aware of when you are meant to be swimming and listen for instructions to warm up or whip in for your events
- Before whipping in for your race, speak to Coach for instructions and ask for feedback afterwards
- Keep warm between races by drying off and covering up
- Keep the area tidy by keeping your bags neatly packed and putting any rubbish you create into bags provided
- Where a warm down pool is provided, it is to be used for swimming not playing
- Be supportive of your team mates – negative comments about other people’s swimming are not acceptable
- Eat sensibly in the run up to a gala – carbs are always important to swimmers to keep up energy levels. Too much fat, or food generally, will make you sluggish
- Keep hydrated both in the run up to a meet and during – regular small drinks of water will help
- Food on the day should be easy to eat and digest and it is a good idea to take food that can be eaten as small snacks rather than a big meal. Low fat sandwiches/bagels, simple pasta dishes, fruit/raw veg are all good options
- Jelly sweets and lucozade are also popular but should be eaten/drunk in moderation
- For more information: http://www.swimming.org/swimfit/daily-nutrition-tips-for-competitive-swimmers/
- Spectators are always welcome but it can be a very long day in a very hot atmosphere, so ensure you dress comfortably for the heat, bring food and drink, a cushion and something to keep you occupied in the long waits between races
- Parents are not allowed poolside so ensure you pack everything your child will need in their bag
- Generally you will be expected to pay an entrance fee, for which you will be provided with a programme of events
- Try to be positive for your children at galas even if they don’t swim well. You may feel you have wasted many hours but negativity will not help!