What is a gala?
A gala is a swimming term for competition. This is where our swimmers get the chance to put everything, they’ve trained so hard for into practice. These vary in size dependent upon the level at which the competition set at.
All licensed meets are subject to Swim England Regulations and the Swim England Technical Rules of Racing. They are graded into four levels.
Level 1 Meets are long course (50m) only and cover National, Regional and County Championships. Their purpose is to enable athletes to achieve qualifying times for entry into National, Regional and County Championships.
Level 2 Meets are short course (25m) only and cover National, Regional and County Championships. Their purpose is to enable athletes to achieve qualifying times for entry into National, Regional and County Championships in short course.
Level 3 Meets are long and short course events. Their purpose is to enable athletes to achieve times for entry into Regional and County Championships and other Meets at Level 1 or Level 2.
Level 4 Meets are entry level events in pools 25m or greater. Borough Championships are an example. They are for inexperienced athletes and swimmers seeking to compete outside their club environment. If times are good athletes progress to Level 3 Meets.
We attend many meets over the swimming year and generally have swimmers in Levels 1 to 3.
Roles at a gala
There are many roles within a gala all of which are voluntary, if any of them take your fancy please don’t hesitate to ask as we are always on the lookout for more help. Many of our role holders have or did have swimmers at the club.
Here we will breakdown some of the more commonly referred to and explain a little about what each role involves.
These are one of our coaching team. They will lead warm-up, cool down and speak to swimmers prior and post each race. It is their job to ensure that the swimmer understands what they need to do in each race.
• Team Manager (TM)
These are a vital part of the team and are all volunteers. They are there to act on your behalf and that of the swimmers. Their primary role is the welfare of each swimmer and to ensure their safety at each event. It is their job to act in the best interests of the swimmer especially if you as a parent are not present should an issue arise.
Each of our TM’s has attended a Swim England course and has enhanced DBS checks conducted to ensure they are suitable for the role.
Their secondary role is to effectively manager each member of the swim team, ensuring that they are where they need to be on time, whether this is pre-race briefing or for their race. Without this role the club could not operate at a competition. As a club we try to have both male and female TMs in place to cover all eventualities.
The person(s) starts each of the races.
• Head Time Keeper & Time Keeper
These are responsible for the timing of each race. At some meet there is electronic timers. The Time Keepers in this case will act a supplementary/back-up to this system should it go wrong. The Head Time Keeper collates all the information from the Time Keepers and ensures everything is accurate.
The judges have various roles and will rotate throughout the course of an event. they are responsible for the enforcement of the rules. Whether this is turns, starts or stroke anything they find will be reported to the Head Judge/Referee and they will make a final decision on any disqualification or infringement.
What do the swimmers need for a gala?
There are many different things that a swimmer will need to have with at a gala. Exactly what will depend upon what they are swimming, how long the meet is and what the individual needs of each swimmer are? As a minimum we recommend the following;
• 2 x Swimming costumes – these can be one for warm-up and a race one, (should the swimmer own one).
• 2 x Pairs of goggles
• 2 x Club Swim hats
• 2 x Towels
• Club T-shirt or similar
• Water Bottle
• Snacks – Cereal bars, popcorn, fruit. No crisp, sweets or sugary drinks
• Bag to put it all in
• Lunch – Sandwiches, pasta or similar – Only needed for the full day galas.
• Mobile phone – although should only be for emergencies. Many galas don’t allow them poolside.
• Anything extra will be communicated prior to the gala.
What happens at a gala
Dependent upon the gala will dictate what time of the day it starts. But there are many similarities to each. This list will give you an idea of what is to be expected.
• Arrive at venue and report to Team Manager who will direct you to the changing rooms and tell you where the rest of the team are located.
• Warm-up – Boys and Girls have separate warm-ups and you will be told when to go by one of the Team Managers or Coaches.
• The Coach at poolside will instruct you in what to do for you warm up.
• Once the warm-up has finished towel down and change costume, (if required) and then wait for the Team Manager to call you. Many of our swimmers take books, cards and generally chat away until it is time to race.
• Once the TM has called you up for your race you will go and speak with one of the Coach who will explain what they expect and what to do in your race.
• Walk to the race control area where you will be put into your race or heat by the poolside helpers.
• Post-Race debriefs with the Coach
• Warm-down, (if the pool has a pool to facilitate it).
• Towel Down, eat and drink something and then relax and wait to do it all in your next race.
• Once you have completed all your races inform the TM you are going and leave.
• Medals and Trophies at most meets are collected by the TMs as there generally isn't time to have award ceremonies as most meets. The TMs will hand these over to each of the swimmers.
Results of Galas
Many of the Galas we attend have live results posted online. They use various websites, one of the most popular sites for our Galas is Openmeets.co.uk however each Gala can be different and be guided by what information is in the event program. As a club we endeavor to get all our results up onto the club website.