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What is an Open meet?

Open meets (or Galas) are competitions where swimmers compete against swimmers from other clubs in various parts of the country as well as each other, swimmers enter under the name of their club, i.e. Stratford Sharks A.S.C. or SSHM

At some of these meets a prize for top swimmer and top club is awarded, to win top club, accumulation of points are calculated for all swimmers. Medals are given to Top 3, or 6 or sometimes even down to 8.

If a meet has Finals, swimmers will swim in a heat, times are then put together for the age group and the fastest 6, 8 or 10 go on to the final, (dependent upon how many lanes the pool has).  There are reserves for finals.

You must swim as fast as you can in your heat to stand a chance of getting into the final.  You need to make sure that if you make the finals, you indicate that you are swimming. There are fines for not letting them know you are not swimming the finals.  

There may be several heats in each event, and you may be seeded in a low heat, you could still make the final if you swim hard. 

If it is a HDW  meet, it means it is a heat declared winners event and no final will be swum, the fastest times from all entries will be awarded the Medals/Trophies. 

Guide to the four levels of licensed meets

All licensed meets are subject to ASA laws and regulations and the ASA Technical Rules of Racing. They are graded into four levels. For a detailed description of each level download the Open Meet Licensing Criteria PDF here.


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. All Qualifying Times (QTs) will need to have been achieved and on British Rankings. These are top level meets and only have a consideration/Qualifying time – aimed at the fastest swimmers and you have to be fast enough to make the cut.

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. All Qualifying Times (QTs) will need to have been achieved and on British Rankings.

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. These meets have an upper limit so the fastest swimmers shouldn’t be entering but also have a lower limit to ensure there is entry standard to be met. These can be held in any length pool.

Level 4 Meets are entry level events in pools 25m or greater. Club 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.

Entering an Open Meet

The club puts recommended Licensed Meets into the Competition Planner along with details and entry forms.  For all of these meets an email will be sent out to all with details and deadlines for the entries. The entries will be processed and submitted by the club's Fixtures Secretary. If you have any questions on any meets you want to enter, you can talk to your coach or the Fixtures Secretary here.

A club coach will be present at all recommended meets.

You should aim to enter a range of events and not just your favourites!  As you get older you will find that you're strokes change and specialising in one event will not happen until you are much older. 

If you wish to enter a meet not on the Club Recommended List then you should contact your coach at the first instance.

Website entry instructions 

Entry Confirmation

If the organisers of the meet receive a large amount of entries, either the slowest competitors from some events by age group will be rejected or the later entries received rejected and your entry will be returned.  Normally payment will be refunded (but not always) .

All accepted meet entries will be communicated via email and published on the website. Any problems must be emailed ASAP to the Fixtures Secretary.

On the day

Ensure you know what you are swimming in each session you have entered, there may be one or more session throughout the day. Write it down or print off the running order and highlight what you are swimming. This will help you, the coach, and helpers on poolside. You can stick it to your lunch box!

What do I bring with me?
2/3 towels
Sharks T-shirt (or other)
Joggers /Shorts / Jumper
Race Suits (swimming costumes), Training Suits / Jammers, Training shorts
Flip Flops / Trainers
Sharks Silver hat & a spare just in case
Drink bottles
Rollers / Thera bands if appropriate (for certain squads)
Goggles & a spare pair just in case

Tip: If you have a little bag and put all of your spare hat and goggles in you can take this up to the blocks with you just in case you need it and can not get back to your main bag!

Make sure you bring only what you need on poolside with you. The rest of your belongings can go into a locker (lock it) or with your parents.

There will always be a Coach and Team Manager/Poolside Helper to welcome you to ‘our area’ for the meet.

Please always arrive 30 minutes prior to the warm up start time. The coaching team and poolside helpers will not be able to chase/find any swimmer who is not on poolside and ready for their event. Swimmers will only be allowed to leave poolside for toilet breaks, lunch breaks or if they have finished all their events. If any swimmer needs to leave poolside please always check with the coaches/poolside helpers.

Use of mobile phones are ideally not allowed on poolside due to welfare issues. So therefore we would like all technology to be kept to a minimum and to be used sensibly.

The Warm up (will be 10 minutes +)

Warm up information can be seen on the pre-meet information on the Club website. It is always important to attend the warm up at the open meet and is marshalled by a Coach/ Poolside Helper, so please ensure you follow the instructions, if you do not understand just ask!.

You must always jump into the water at the start of the warm up - diving is allowed only at specific time slots. You will be told when you are allowed to dive. As you get out of the water you will need to ensure you exit from the sides of the pool and not over the timing pads. You will be told when to do this so you are safe. Once you have done your warm up you will be instructed to go back to 'our club area’. This is a good time to have a small snack and get yourself sorted for your race.

Before your race
The announcer will call your event usually 2 events before you swim; the Coach will send you to a marshalling area. Do not wander off or mess about, you need to pay attention to everything that is going on.

Try your best - you will be nervous but that is normal! 

Speak to your coach before you are sent up to the marshalling area. Make sure you keep your T-shirt on during marshalling as you might get cold. 

The marshals will then call your heat and send you to your blocks, your heat and lane number, if not the Timekeeper will ask your name to confirm that they have the correct swimmer for that heat.    

Do some stretching in marshalling - you don't want to sit down for too long as your muscles will become cold.

Remember to take your small bag with you which has a spare hat and goggles in side, and any other bits that you need - such as inhaler, drinks, etc. You will be able to put all your belongings on the chair behind the block - Just remember to pick it back up again after you have swum! The time keeper will ask you your name to check they have the correct person in the lane. They will always remind you of what  event you are swimming.

ONCE YOU ARE ON YOUR BLOCKS NOBODY ELSE MATTERS, SWIM AS FAST AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN, DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO LOOK AROUND.

At the end of the race remember to look at the timing clock and see what time you got!

After the race
Once you have swum and got out of the water, collect your drink and anything else you put behind the blocks and go directly to the coach for feedback, not your parents (you can see them later).  The feedback you are given will be about the time but the coach will also explain process goals that you did. It is not always about the time. The coach will also ask you how you felt you did well and want you want to improve on next time. If there is a small pool available the coach may ask you to do a ‘swim down so you are ready for your next race. If there is not a ‘swim down’ pool then the coach will ask you to do some post race stretches.

Get some protein inside you, this will make you feel better and give you energy (bananas, or celery snacks, chocolate milkshake etc, plenty of non fix drinks). 

Sometimes your swimming does not go as well as you expect, do not worry there is often a good reason for that, do not get upset, put that swim behind you and concentrate on the next one. 

Results will be posted regularly after everyone has swam that event, ask your coach where to find them.

 And remember....................ENJOY IT!

  

For parents / guardians etc
Bring plenty of drinks and fluids it can be hot in the gallery. You will most likely need small change for the car park and to enter the viewing balcony.

If you / swimmer are having to stay over night as we are too far to drive home, make sure you book a table at a restaurant before hand. Look at the menu in plenty of time so you can order and get your swimmer and yourself to sleep quickly. These are more at Regional / National Open Meets

Withdrawing from an event

If you need to withdraw from an event, make sure you follow procedure that has been sent out. Promoters of the meet don't want empty lanes so it is important that you withdraw if you are not able to swim. At some meets, there are fines enforced if you do not withdraw. Refunds will only be issued if the reason for withdrawal is on medical grounds, a medical certificate must be shown or sent to Fixtures. You will also be refunded if you withdraw because you have been chosen to represent the county or region. 

Competition Kit

The Club has a Team kit which can be purchased online via Swimzi Club Shop, an email will be sent out when the online shop is available. We ask that all swimmers wear this team kit to feel part of the team etc. It is compulsory in competition to wear the Sharks club hat. Sharks swimming hats can be purchased by contacting Kathy on kathy@teamsharks.com