Gala Guide

Milford Tigers are a competitive swimming Club. We train to compete. All our young swimmers are expected to compete in accordance with their age range and ability. Competition attendance and participation is an essential indicator of how a swimmer is developing both physically and physiologically. The following is a list of galas the Club enters/hosts every year in which swimmers are expected to enter and some guidelines as to what to expect and how to behave.

Club Championships

Generally held in November – compulsory for all squad swimmers to keep their squad status – swimmers are encouraged to swim all events in their age group, and 200m events if eligible. This is not a licensed meet and times obtained at these championships will not enable entry to licensed meets, but medals are awarded at the time and trophies at the annual club presentation night.

County Championships

Usually held in October – compulsory for all squad swimmers to keep their squad status – swim as many events as you can, especially 200m events, which are the most important events for young swimmers. Times obtained at these championships will enable entry to other licensed meets.

Club Target Meets

– typically the Sub-regionals in December, Regionals in February and Swansea LC in May

Swimmers are strongly encouraged to enter these meets – under the guidance of the coach, swim as many events as you can, especially 200m events, which are the most important events for young swimmers. Times obtained at these championships will enable entry to other licensed meets.

County Target Meets

– typically the Winter Nationals in December, Dragon Meet in January, Age Groups at Easter and Summer Nationals in July/August

These meets are entered as part of a combined county team. All eligible swimmers should enter to maintain their squad status and any place in the county squads – under the guidance of the coach, swim as many events as you can, especially 200m events, which are the most important events for young swimmers. Times obtained at these championships will enable entry to other licensed meets.
A county swim hat should be worn at these meets (only).

Open competitions – various

The club competes at open meets throughout the season. Please see the competition calendar for more details. Swimmers are not permitted to compete at any meets not on the calendar.

Levels of meet

When meets are licensed they are given a level. The level of a gala indicates the standard of the qualifying times and certain standards which must be fulfilled in the organisation and running of the meet.
Full rules apply at all licensed meets.

  • A level 4 meet may not require entry times and will usually have upper cut off times so that faster swimmers may not enter
  • A level 3 meet will require qualification times from another licensed meet, but these will be fairly easy times – again there may be an upper cut off.
  • A level 2 meet will have quite difficult qualification times, our swimmers are unlikely to exceed the upper cut off.
  • A level 1 meet is the top level of open meet and it is an achievement to qualify for events
  • Beyond this there are National and International events.
  • Very occasionally galas refer to AA, A and B standards – these are a slightly different way of splitting swimmers into divisions – sometimes a meet operates with an easy B division and a harder AA division within the same races – and the winners of each section get medals – these confuse most people so don’t worry.

Inter-Club galas

Teams are selected by the fixture secretary and/or club coaches with the aim of entering a competitive team whilst including as many squad swimmers as possible.In general, it is a friendly competition against other clubs.
Swimmers should not bring electronic games or books to these generally short galas, but should rather be supporting their team mates.

Your first gala?

If it is your first gala – don’t worry or panic. The coaches and team managers will be there to guide you though the day and help you all they can. Any problems? – just ask. It is a good idea to have packed your bag the night before, with everything you might need. Here is a checklist, which should be useful to you (no glass bottles or any other breakable items).

  • Swimmers should have EVERYTHING they need for the session in a bag on poolside with them
  • At least two swimming costumes/pairs of jammers
  • Goggles (plus a spare pair)
  • Club hat – a Milford Tigers club hat must always be worn during races – (when representing Milford)
  • 2 towels
  • Deck/Pool shoes to wear at all times to prevent heat loss
  • Clothes to keep warm on the poolside – hat, extra t-shirt, tracksuit etc
  • Food of sufficient quantity to last the day
  • Money in case of emergency
  • Drink in a suitable container – at least two litres – for a whole day
  • Snack food – with lots of carbohydrates and low in fat.
  • Entertainment – Music – iPod – (to help relax or psyche you up), reading book, games console, pen and paper or other pastime ( all items are brought at your own risk – some poolsides are very wet, e.g. Llanelli, and are not suitable for electronics)
  • Your winning /swimming face!

Note: Please ensure that your name is on all items

Arrival at a swimming gala

When you arrive at a swimming pool for a gala, make sure you do so in plenty of time (at least 30 minutes before your warm-up time). Report to the coach/team manager that you have arrived. It is important that your coach sees you before the time that you have been told to attend.

Check out the pool

Check out the pool complex layout and familiarise yourself with the important places you will need to go during the day. For example toilets, marshalling area, changing rooms, cafeteria, etc.

Who’s who?

At any meet there should be a team coach and one or more team managers. The coach will brief swimmers before their race, watch the race, record splits as appropriate and give feedback afterwards. The team manager will advise swimmers when to warm up, go to marshalling, warm down and eat. The team manager will be in charge of the team and try to ensure that everyone knows what they are doing, stays warm, fed, watered and happy. The team manager is there to deal with any concerns or problems you may have.

Warm ups

Check which warm up is yours and be on time for it. When you warm up make sure you get the most out of it. Don’t stop and talk to your friends as you will have plenty of time to do this throughout the day. Your coach will have shown/told you what warm up to do. You must keep going and warm up your muscles properly to avoid injury. All swimmers should do warm ups and perform stretches as guided by the coach. The team manager will advise swimmers which lane to use – swimmers should stay in the lane allocated.

Cheering for others

Do not expect others to cheer for you if you do not cheer for them. We all like to be encouraged but recognise that individuals may do this in different ways. At busy meets swimmers may need time out to prepare for their own race mentally, but should support their friends. With a smaller team it is good for all the swimmers to support each other. There is nothing better to improve your performance than seeing others do well. Don’t just sit down and stare into space – enjoy yourself!

Where should you be?

Swimmers are expected to sit with the team and NOT with parents in the spectator area. Please don’t wander off without speaking to the team manager first – please ask before going to the toilet or changing rooms. Swimmers should not go up to talk to parents during a session unless given permission by the team manager in exceptional circumstances. When you are at a swimming gala and with an appointed coach/team manager, they are responsible for you and you must not leave the building without permission. If your parents are there, please ask the coach for permission to leave the building with them. After your last race in a session, you may be given permission to go join your parents and take a break, but it is a good thing to cheer others who are swimming from your Club.

Good behaviour

When you are representing the Club or training with the Club at your appointed session or at an invited session you are expected to behave properly. Please make sure you are familiar with the code of conduct – this applies to all representatives of the club – swimmers, volunteers and parents.

Parents

Please could parents help the coaches/team managers by taking note of the following

  • Parents are not allowed on poolside at ANY time during a competition.
  • Parents should not approach the coach during a session – but may have opportunity to speak to them at a later stage
  • Parents should not approach officials or meet organisers, or enter the meet office, at any time. All queries/issues should be directed to the team manager who is authorised to deal with these situations
  • Parents are asked to sit in the spectator area (at least half way up at open access pools such as WNP and Cardiff International)
  • Parents are asked to ensure that swimmers arrive and are ready well in advance of all warm ups
  • Parents are asked to ensure that swimmers have all the correct equipment for each session, including a club hat (club hats will be made available to swimmers at a cost of £5 each)
  • Parents are reminded that the use of inappropriate or abusive language, bullying, harassment, discrimination or physical violence by swimmers or parents will not be tolerated at any meet

Sanctions

Coaches and team managers reserve the right to withdraw swimmers from all remaining events at a meet (without refund) should either the swimmer or parents not cooperate with the guidelines above. Persistent failure to comply or serious incidents will result in disciplinary procedure.