Guide to Events

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 best' times.

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.

League Galas

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 (SER).

Ages for Championships are usually 'age on the last day of the meet'.

Our top swimmers take part in the Surrey County Championships.


2010 FINA Rules for Competition Swimwear

From 1st January 2010 all competitions in England, Scotland and Wales will be applying the FINA rules below in relation to Swimwear for swimming (excluding Masters and Open Water) competitions.

Current FINA rules "GR 5 SWIMWEAR" state:-

  • GR 5.1 The swimwear (swimsuit, cap and goggles) of all competitors shall be in good moral taste and suitable for the individual sports disciplines and not to carry any symbol which may be considered offensive.
  • GR 5.2 All swimsuits shall be non transparent.
  • GR 5.3 The referee of a competition has the authority to exclude any competitor whose swimsuit or body symbols do not comply with this Rule.
  • BL 8.2 In swimming competitions the competitor must wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces. No additional items, like arm bands or leg bands shall be regarded as parts of a swimsuit.
  • BL 8.3 From January 1, 2010 swimwear for men shall not extend above the navel nor below the knee, and for women, shall not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder, nor shall extend below knee. All swimsuits shall be made from textile materials. Note: This does not prevent the use of a zip (or other fastening) as this is not mentioned in these provisions.

The full statement will be posted on the British Swimming website.

The Wey Valley Cheer

Go Wey Valley, Go Wey Valley Go,
Wey Valley is cool,
We dominate the pool,
W-W-Wey Valley!
W-W-Wey Valley!

Created by:
Ellen & Nancy Shaw, Liz Bell, Sam Tuddenham, Francine Cheese, Chloe Edwards and Lara Davison

Upcoming Events

23 SepRother League round 2
30 SepJunior Cup
14 OctNational Arena League round 1