The Wey Valley Parents Guide to Swimming Events will give you
more information about the types of events, Q&As and Common Terms. This will be epecially useful for parents of
swimmers who are just starting to swim in competitions.
A summary of the information in the parents guide can be found below.
General Event Advice
Swimmers who have not yet reached their ninth birthday are only (under ASA rules) able to participate in Internal events.
However it is important to get on the first 'rung' with an officially-recorded personal best (PB) time. There are
ASA Competitive Performance Award badges for your swimmer to work towards.
To gain an ASA competitive award it doesn't matter what age you are or where you come in your race, you just have to
achieve the time and stroke criteria.
As a general rule, young swimmers start by competing over 25m and 50m distances, the 200m and 100m IM distances are then
added. At 11 (girls) or 12 (boys) can you compete over 100m distances. The club will usually try to put your swimmer in
a relay race for their first experience of a Gala competition - this helps to control the inevitable 'first race nerves'.
For most events there are no heats or finals, just races (Heat Declared Winners or HDW). Swimmers race against swimmers with
similar qualifying times but not necessarily the same age. The times are then recorded for each race and the winner is the
quickest swimmer in that age group. Disqualifications are inevitable especially for the younger swimmer and for the more
technical strokes. Your swimmer will be disappointed but should be praised for their race effort. In the long run it is better
for them to be disqualified in the early stages of their career as they will quickly learn to be competitive. They will have
plenty of other opportunities to race again!
For all events swimmers are expected to stay on poolside with the assigned Coach (or Team Manager or Whip). Swimmers
are not permitted to sit with spectators/parents and must report back to the Coach after each swim. Should a swimmer
need to go to the changing rooms for any reason they should inform the Coach and return poolside as soon as possible.
More details of the types of Galas and Events that Wey Valley Swimmers may compete in can be found below and
for information on when these events are held, see the Events Schedule
These will only have Wey Valley swimmers in the event and include Time Trials and
Club Championships. Notification will be posted on the Event Schedule
and/or on the notice board. Often the coach will decide which stroke the swimmer should do and they are encouraged to
use these events to gain times in their less favoured strokes or to achieve a qualifying time for a forthcoming event.
Parents please note that the club has a waiting list of keen and enthusiastic swimmers wishing to join the club.
Membership of the club is on a term by term basis and we cannot guarantee ongoing training places to any swimmer
who does not train regularly and who does not take part in internal events.
Open or Graded Meets
Open meets are hosted by other swimming clubs and take place over a longer period of time than other events
- often a whole day or weekend rather than a single evening. They provide great opportunities to compete in
a wide range of strokes/distances against swimmers from many other clubs and a chance to get new 'personal
Open meets are graded, with the 'B/C' or 'Level 2/3' meets designed for swimmers who are
developing and are not the fastest in their age group.
Level 2/3: These can have upper and lower qualifying times - swimmers must be faster than the lower limit but
slower than the upper limit. This is a good level of competition to start at - assuming your child is not
faster than the times published!
Level 1: These are the highest level of meets and only have lower qualification times - i.e. the swimmer must
be faster than the entry times shown. These are suitable only for the top swimmers.
Open meets are generally 'age on the day', so the age your swimmer will be on the last day of the event. Any
swimmer who is age 9 or older can enter open meets provided they meet the entry qualification or consideration
time for their age.
Wey Valley swimmers compete in various Open / Invitational Meets.
Throughout the year the club enters teams in galas and leagues at different standards of competition. Swimmers
will be selected by the club to swim in these and will be told which event they will be swimming once they have
arrived at poolside.
Each Gala and League event takes place in a single evening although there may be more than one round in a
League. The races are within age groups (although sometimes only for alternate year groups) against five
other, usually local, clubs. The exact number of teams competing depends on the league and the number of
lanes at the host pool. For younger swimmers the races are generally 50m (except 25m fly for the youngest
age groups) individuals for each stroke, a Medley relay, a Freestyle relay and a Squadron relay. Swimmers
may swim up an age group but may not swim down.
The age groups are usually determined as age on the date of the gala or age on the last round of that years League.
These include events such as County Championships (Surreys), South East Regionals (SER), Nationals.
County Championships are the first major championships a competitive swimmer will encounter. They are held
over a series of weekends and are similar in format to the fastest Open Meets in that there are only lower
consideration times. The old Surrey County Association (
SCWPSA) is still running the County Championships with the qualification times and results published on
their web site under 'Age Group Swimming' They alter a little each year, usually getting faster, but the
previous years can be used as a guide.
ASA South East Region BAGCAT Championships are the next level of Championships. Clubs from the South East
Region are eligible to enter swimmers for this event if they have achieved regional qualification times
which are published along with the results on the South East Region website
Ages for Championships are usually 'age on the last day of the meet'.
Our top swimmers take part in the Surrey County Championships.